Medical Benefits of Tea
Tea is healthier than water
"Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants, so it's got two things going for it," said Dr. Carrie Ruxton, nutrition team leader.
In a recent study by The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Ruxton and her team from King's College, London, found that tea is healthier for your body than plain water. Tea not only re-hydrates the body, but it also contains disease-fighting antioxidants. Because of these antioxidants, drinking tea may offer protection against heart disease, stroke and many types of cancer including: lung, mouth, breast, pancreas, colorectal, esophageal, bladder and skin.
Tea does a body good
Dr. Ruxton’s research found that consuming four cups of tea a day allows maximum health benefits. Even three cups a day reduces risk of heart attack by 11 percent. Drinking tea helps boost the immune system and strengthen teeth and bones. It also aids in blocking LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, which improves artery function. The essential oils in tea leaves help digestion, and green tea is even thought to aid in weight loss.
Some may worry that the caffeine in tea may cause dehydration, but Dr. Ruxton assures consumers that is not the case. In fact, caffeine has many positive functions like relieving headaches, improving mood and helping concentration. It is also considered an age old remedy for asthma symptoms.
"Many people wrongly think that drinking tea will make you lose fluid and become more thirsty, but this is a myth. Studies on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate... but even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid. Tea is in fact re-hydrating, not dehydrating," said Dr. Ruxton.
Tea keeps the mind young
Another new study shows that green tea may protect an aging brain. Green tea is very popular in Asia and has long been deemed as a soothing health tonic. Japan has a lower rate of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia than the U.S. and other Western countries, and it could be attributed to the high levels of green tea consumption.
Researchers from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that seniors in Japan who drank one or more cups of green tea a day were half as likely to show cognitive and memory problems as those who drank less. The more tea the subjects drank, the lower their chances of having mental difficulties. Members of green tea-drinking cultures usually consume three cups a day.
Green tea contains the potent compound EGCG, which seems to inhibit the production of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein that clogs the brains of Alzheimer’s victims. Other studies show that EGCG may prevent heart disease, certain cancers, bacterial infections and the spread of HIV.
All teas are healthy
Although EGCG is present in all teas that come from the Camellia sinensis plant (black, oolong and green), green tea contains the highest levels of EGCG after processing. In her study Dr. Ruxton and her team found that black tea had healthy effects on the body as well.
"We found some research showing that black and green tea contained similar amounts of antioxidants, but different types. This can be expected as they come from the same plant, but go through different processing," said Dr. Ruxton.
All teas contain health-promoting substances for the heart, body and mind. Drinking tea is a great way to relax and a good natural source of antioxidants. A daily serving of tea (three cups) contains eight times the antioxidants of one apple. Enjoy a soothing and delicious drink that is good for you. A few cups a day will keep the doctor away!
"Chemical in Green Tea May Fight Alzheimer's" MSNBC.com 20 Sept. 2005.
"Plenty of Tea Beats Water for Boosting Health" TechNewsWorld.com 25 Aug. 2006.
"Do Antioxidants Make Tea Healthier than Water?" NutraIngredients.com 28 Aug. 2006.
"Green Tea" American Cancer Society 03 Oct. 2005.
"Green Tea May Help to Keep the Brain Young" The Alzheimer's Information Site 15 March 2006.
"Drinking Tea is Better for Health than Plain Water" Medical News Today 25 Aug. 2006.
"Time for Tea" Harvard Health Publications 04 Oct. 2005.