Tea and Your Health

“If you are cold, tea will warm you, if you are depressed, it will cheer you, if you are excited, it will calm you.” – William Gladstone

If the British statesman were alive today, he might add the phrase, ‘If you are ill, it will heal you.’

Tea offers a number of potential health benefits, including:

  • Heart health: Research suggests that drinking 3 to 5 cups of tea per day can be beneficial in helping to reduce risk of heart attack and lowering Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • Colon Cancer: A study found tea drinkers to have an approximately 42 percent reduced risk of colon cancer, compared to non-tea drinkers
  • Healthy Teeth and Gums: The flavonoids in tea may inhibit the plaque-forming ability of oral bacteria, and the fluoride in tea may support healthy tooth enamel.
  • Tea and Obesity: Preliminary research suggests that drinking tea may have effects on body weight, fat accumulation and insulin activity. Green tea extract was found to significantly increase 24-hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation in healthy men
  • Cholestorol: Researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) studied the effect of tea on mildly hypercholesterolemic adult participants. After three weeks, researchers found that five servings of black tea per day reduced LDL ("bad") cholesterol by 11.1 percent and total cholesterol (TC) by 6.5 percent compared to placebo beverages.

Nutrition isn’t just about what you eat – it’s also about what you drink. In the March 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a panel of leading nutrition, obesity and hydration experts, released the first-ever guidelines on what and how much consumers should drink as part of a healthy diet. This advice may help curb the excess calories that are consumed from liquid beverages in the U.S. diet.

Source: The Tea Association of the USA


Tea and Heart Disease

Research continues to stream which shows that antioxidant polyphenols in tea fight heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers. If your still among those that have not converted to drinking tea, these new studies might convince you to reconsider.

• In Taiwan, a study of 1,000 people found that those who averaged just 2 cups of tea-black, green, or oolong-once a week for 10 years had 20% lower body fat and 2% lower waist-to-hip ratios compared with those who didn't drink tea.

• Tea is rich in polyphenols, which have activities consistent with blood pressure–lowering potential. Australian researchers report that tea intake is inversely related to blood pressure. In a study of 218 women, the researchers report that for each one cup increase of tea drunk daily, up to four cups, systolic pressure dropped two points, and diastolic pressure dropped 1 point.

• USDA scientists recently reported that 15 people cut their mildly elevated cholesterol by 7% and their "bad" LDL cholesterol by 11% after just 3 weeks of drinking 5 daily cups of black tea. "A cup or two a day for a longer period should also work," says Joseph Judd, PhD.


Tea and Weight Loss

Tea is the most-consumed beverage worldwide next to water. For over five thousand years, people have been getting a lift from the elixir made from tea leaves. But it's only been in the last three decades that researchers have delved into the science behind the health benefits of tea.

In a recent article published by the USDA, the metabolic effects of tea (oolong tea in particular) receives closer scrutiny.

William Rumpler is a physiologist investigating the ancient Chinese belief that oolong tea is effective in controlling body weight. On the average, volunteers burned 67 more calories per day drinking tea, then those that drank the water placebo. Perhaps most interesting was that fat oxidation was a significant 12 percent higher after the full-strength tea treatment than after the water treatment.

The data suggests that a compound in oolong promotes preferential burning of fat as an energy source.

It is universally accepted that caffeinated tea raises metabolic rate because caffeine is a stimulant. The interesting part of the study, which agrees with findings from a similar study in England, was that when you drink tea you raise fat burning higher then you would drinking a caffeinated drink other then tea.

Source: USDA


Tea and Caffeine

According to the USDA, an 8-oz cup of brewed tea contains 25-50 mg of caffeine. Generally speaking, an 8-oz cup of green tea has about 30 milligrams of caffeine, and black tea has around 40 milligrams.

Coffee beans contain less caffeine than tea leaves when measured in their dry form. However, the caffeine content of a prepared cup of coffee is about three times that of a prepared cup of tea. Still, many tea enthusiasts claim that tea gives an equivalent caffeine boost without the jitters. Even decaffeinated tea is not 100% caffeine free. In the US, as long as the caffeine content is not more than 2.5% the product can be labeled "decaffeinated." Moreover, the decaffeination process may remove some of the potentially salubrious compounds found in the leaf.

Source: USDA 

Many people make the mistake of reading such information and then running straight to the nearest supermarket and buying low-grade green tea. Upon returning home, they waste little time in boiling water and tossing in a tea bag. The result is far from a satisfying elixir. Salubrious or not, their first foray into the world of tea is over before it really ever began.

Select a high quality tea, invest in an appropriate teaware, and spend a few moments to learn moments on proper brewing technique. A little effort goes a long way in cultivating a love of tea, and in improving your health.