How tea can enhance our diet
It should be no surprise to hear that tea is good for you. It has been integral to traditional medicine for centuries, especially in many Asian and Western cultures. But the benefits of drinking tea go beyond tasting good and soothing a sore throat.
There are two main categories of teas, and each provides their own set of advantages.
True tea is made using the leaves from the tea plant, “Camellia sinensis.” Common types of true tea are green, black, white, and oolong. Because green and white teas go through the least amount of processing, they retain their green color best and are considered to be the healthiest, with green being slightly healthier. Black tea is fully oxidized but oolong is only partially. The caffeine content in all of these varieties will vary on the type and the production process.
Herbal teas are created by infusion arrangements of fruits, herbs, leaves, roots, and stems of different plants, and these teas boost various health benefits that set them apart from true teas. Some popular herbal teas are chamomile, peppermint, and ginger. Unlike true teas, herbals do not contain caffeine.
Now that we understand the categories and types of teas, lets dive into six benefits of drinking tea.
- Protects heart health
Recent research has seen that drinking tea may significantly lower the risk for serious heart disease like heart attacks or blood clots. This is due, in part, to the anti-inflammatory properties in the drink that can help to soothe tissues in arteries.
According to Drs. Deka and Vita, “this helps to minimize the risk of inflammation that can restrict blood circulation and cause clotting.”
Tea may also help in lowering cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure.
- Boosts energy
True teas contain caffeine that can help increase energy. Green tea has the amino acid, L-theanine, which slows the absorption of caffeine in the body, therefore, the energy boost lasts longer. As an added bonus L-theanine increases alpha waves in the brain which increases focus.
- Less caffeine than coffee
For those looking to cut back on their caffeine intake, green tea is a great choice for smaller amounts of caffeine. Teas tend to have less than 50 percent of caffeine, which is the normal amount found in coffee. If you need help making the switch to tea, try out a chicory root tea which has a flavor similar to coffee. As a bonus, chicory root is known to be a stress reducer and is a probiotic, which is helpful for your gut health.
- Supports mental health
Regular consumption has been found to lower risk of neurological disease, like depression, and has shown decreased stress levels due to its natural calming and stress reliving qualities. Although it is still preliminary, green tea has also shown promise in preventing cognitive decline. Cognitive decline relates to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants found in tea can also cleanse out toxins in the body that could cause mental health problems.
- May regulate blood sugar
Tea can possibly help regulate your blood sugar and also control and prevent type 2 diabetes. Black tea has especially shown promise in reduced blood sugar levels.
Drs. Hyun Min Kim and Jaetaek Kim conclude that “researchers attribute these health benefits to polyphenols in tea. These polyphenols boast anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers.”
- Aids digestion
Tea can treat many digestion issues like nausea or an upset stomach. Ginger tea is known to relieve upset stomachs because of the gingerol and shogaol ingredients that soothe the stomach lining. Peppermint tea may also help due to its antioxidants and menthol. Finally, tea has tannins which can reduce intestinal inflammation.
With all these benefits in mind let’s raise a glass, or four, of tea and celebrate better health.
Deka, Apranta, and Joseph A Vita. “Tea and Cardiovascular Disease.” Pharmacological Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3123419/.
Hursel, R, et al. “The Effects of Green Tea on Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance: a Meta-Analysis.” International Journal of Obesity (2005), Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK), Sept. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19597519.
Kim, Hyun Min, and Jaetaek Kim. “The Effects of Green Tea on Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, Korean Diabetes Association, June 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689013/.
Marty, Erika. “6 Amazing Benefits of Drinking Tea (You Didn’t Know) – Cup & Leaf.” Cup and Leaf Tea, 2 Oct. 2019, www.cupandleaf.com/blog/benefits-of-drinking-tea.