Put down those saucer cups and get chugging — real tea is officially awesome for your well being. However before loading up on Red Zinger, be sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from a specific plant (Camellia sinensis) and contains only 4 varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. The rest (like natural “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea. So make sure you are drinking real tea. Not sweat tea and ice tea like the kinds that are popular in America.
However what real tea lacks in variety, it makes up for with some serious health benefits. Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a kind of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Although most research has centered on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table. Read on to find out why real tea is amazing for your health.
- Tea can increase exercise endurance. Scientists have discovered that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract improve the body’s ability to burn fats as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
- Tea is hydrating to the body (even despite the caffeine!).
- Consuming real tea may help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea may also help defend against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
- Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity, which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals (which might damage DNA) within the body. Whereas our bodies are designed to combat free radicals on their very own, they’re not 100 % efficient — and since damage from these radical oxygen ninjas has been linked to most cancers, heart disease and neurological degeneration, we’ll take all the assistance we are able to get.
- Tea may provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays, and everyone knows what it’s like to feel the burn. The good news is that green tea might act as a back-up sunscreen.
- Drinking real tea is linked with a decrease risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered with other factors like smoking, physical activity, age and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease in each men and women.
- The antioxidants in tea might help defend against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers. However don’t rely solely on tea to maintain a healthy physique — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. Whereas more research than not suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
- Real tea might keep waist circumference in check. In one research study, participants who commonly consumed hot tea had a decrease in waist circumference and more of a decrease in BMI than non-consuming participants. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the chance of metabolic syndrome (which will increase the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke), though it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
- Tea may help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped defend against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea might help skin bounce back post exposure.
- Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Research suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
- Regular tea drinking may also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and may even reduce the risk of lung most cancers (good news, obviously, however not a justification for cigs).
- Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
- Tea may be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, particularly degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). While many factors influence mind health, polyphenols in green tea might help preserve the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
Although most research on tea is very optimistic, it’s not all definitive — so keep these caveats in mind before stocking up on gallons of the stuff:
- Keep it cool. Repeatedly drinking hot beverages may boost the risk of esophageal cancer. Give tea several minutes to cool off before sipping.
- The research seem convincing, however a rat is not a human make. Chemical substances in tea might react differently within the lab than they do in the human body. Tannins (and the other great things in green tea) may not be bioavailable for people, meaning tea may not always benefit human health to the same degree as in lab studies suggest.
- All tea drinks are not created equal. The body’s access to the good stuff in tea may be decided by the teavariety, canning and processing, and the way it was brewed.
The takeaway: at the very least, tea ought to be safe to consume — just not in extreme quantities. So brew up a batch of the good stuff — hot or cold — and enjoy.