There are lots of reasons why we enjoy a hot cup of tea: we love the aroma of various flavors of tea; holding onto a hot tea mug warms our hands on a cold winter morning; sipping tea in front of the fireplace is a great way to relax. And those are just the feel-good reasons. If you're not drinking tea yet, read up on these 10 ways tea does your body good and then see if you're ready to change your Starbucks order!
Like the Rust-Oleum paint that keeps your outdoor furniture from rusting, tea's antioxidants protect your body from the ravages of aging and the effects of pollution.
Tea has less caffeine than coffee
Coffee usually has two to three times the caffeine of tea (unless you're a fan of Morning Thunder, which combines caffeine with mate, an herb that acts like caffeine in our body). An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 135 mg caffeine; tea contains only 30 to 40 mg per cup. If drinking coffee gives you the jitters, causes indigestion or headaches or interferes with sleep - switch to tea.
Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
Unwanted blood clots formed from cholesterol and blood platelets cause heart attack and stroke. Drinking tea may help keep your arteries smooth and clog-free. Tea also contains antioxidants called ‘flavonoids’, which may slow down the onset and risk of heart disease. A 5.6-year study from the Netherlands found a 70 percent lower risk of fatal heart attack in people who drank at least two to three cups of black tea daily compared to non-tea drinkers.
Tea protects your bones
It's not just the milk added to tea that builds strong bones. One study that compared tea drinkers with non-drinkers, found that people who drank tea for 10 or more years had the strongest bones, even after adjusting for age, body weight, exercise, smoking and other risk factors. The authors suggest that this may be the work of tea's many beneficial phytochemicals.
Tea gives you a sweet smile
Tea is a great source of fluoride, which can bolster tooth enamel. The antioxidants contained within a cuppa have also been known to fight against bacteria and gum disease. So add unsweetened tea drinking to your daily dental routine of brushing and flossing for healthier teeth and gums.
Tea is calorie-free
Tea doesn't have any calories, unless you add sweetener or milk. Consuming even 250 fewer calories per day can result in losing one pound per week. If you're looking for a satisfying, calorie-free beverage, tea is a top choice.
Tea increases your metabolism
Lots of people complain about a slow metabolic rate and their inability to lose weight. Green tea has been shown to actually increase metabolic rate so that you can burn 70 to 80 additional calories by drinking just five cups of green tea per day. Over a year's time you could lose eight pounds just by drinking green tea. Of course, taking a 15-minute walk every day will also burn calories.
Boosting memory power with tea
Many scientists believe that certain types of tea, such as green tea, can strengthen memory cells in the brain, and offer protection from the development of dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease. No wonder old people drink so much tea!
Tea bolsters your immune defenses
Drinking tea may help your body's immune system fight off infection. When 21 volunteers drank either five cups of tea or coffee each day for four weeks, researchers saw higher immune system activity in the blood of the tea drinkers.
Tea protects against cancer
Thank the polyphenols, the antioxidants found in tea, once again for their cancer-fighting effects. Although research is still developing in this area, reports indicate that prostate, mouth and breast cancer cases are much lower amongst those who regularly drink five or more cups of tea a day.
Tea helps keep you hydrated
Caffeinated beverages, including tea, used to be on the list of beverages that didn't contribute to our daily fluid needs. Since caffeine is a diuretic and makes us pee more, the thought was that caffeinated beverages couldn't contribute to our overall fluid requirement. However, recent research has shown that the caffeine really doesn't matter - tea and other caffeinated beverages definitely contribute to our fluid needs. The only time the caffeine becomes a problem as far as fluid is concerned is when you drink more than five or six cups of a caffeinated beverage at one time.
Types of healthy tea
With so many potential health benefits, there’s never been a better time to put the kettle on. But which form of tea is the most beneficial to you? Is that large cup of creamy, sugary black tea really going to help your body feel better? Let’s find out...
Benefits of Green tea - In addition to the numerous health benefits mentioned above, green tea has also been found to boost the performance of the liver, and prevent arthritis by strengthening bones. However, to get the most benefit from your green tea drinking, try and brew it from loose leaves rather than the tea bag. It’ll add flavour, and allow more antioxidants to be released into your cup!
Benefits of Black tea - whilst green tea often grabs the headlines, black tea also possesses many of the health bonuses mentioned above. Offering a strong source of antioxidants, it is great for preventing viruses in the mouth and gums and has also been known to widen impaired arteries by as much as 50 per cent, preventing blood clots.
Benefits of Wu long (or oolong) tea - This Chinese tea is said to be the best for burning off calories, as well as boosting the body’s immune system. Unlike green tea, wu long tastes sweet instead of grassy. It therefore offers a much more welcoming taste, in addition to its myriad body benefits.
So, brew up a healthy cuppa today and you’ll be feeling tea-rrific in no time!