Nutrition

The Health Benefits of Tea

Source: http://www.care2.com

There are lots of reasons to love tea: It smells great, relaxes you as you sip, warms you up on a cold day, and nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a tall glass of iced tea. Aside from these feel-good reasons to love tea, it also has an incredible amount of health benefits.

All tea contains antioxidants, which help to fight off cancer and protect your body from the negative effects of aging. While many people rely on coffee for their caffeine fix, it may result in indigestion, heartburn, headaches, and can keep you up at night or give you the jitters. Tea has about half as much caffeine as coffee, the perfect amount for a pick-me-up that won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable.

Tea is known for preventing the clogging of arteries and for reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Another benefit of drinking tea versus coffee is you can say goodbye to bad breath and stained teeth. Tea contains fluoride and tannins, which keep plaque at bay. Drinking unsweetened tea will improve your teeth and gum health.

If you are feeling rundown, tea is the perfect solution. It helps the body fight off infections and can boost the immune system. Tea will also help to hydrate you, especially green tea.

Still not convinced you should give tea a try? Maybe this will help: it is calorie-free and can increase your metabolism. Tea, especially green tea, has been proven to burn 70-80 additional calories if you drink five cups a day.

When choosing a type of tea, there are five main varieties. The main types are green, black, white, oolong and Puerh, each with a unique flavor and different health benefits. All of these varieties are made from the Camelia Sinesis plant, which is a  shrub native to China and India. These plants contain antioxidants, which help to ward off cancer and disease.

Here are some of the characteristics and health benefits of each tea variety:

Green tea:

  • Made with steamed tealeaves
  • Highest concentration of EGCG, which is the most potent of the antioxidants
  • Combats the grown of breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic and bladder cancers
  • Burns fat

Black tea:

  • Made from fermented tealeaves
  • Highest caffeine content of the tea varieties
  • Increases brain function and aids in alertness
  • Basis for flavored teas such as Chai
  • Distinct flavors – can be sweet or spicy
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol

White Tea:

  • Uncured and unfermented
  • Potent anticancer properties
  • Reduces blood sugar
  • Prevents and alleviates symptoms of diabetes
  • Increases energy and reduces stress

Oolong Tea:

  • Aids in weight loss
  • Reduces build-up of bad LDL cholesterol
  • Reduces build up of fat in the body, especially in the midsection
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Improves strength of teeth and bones
  • De-stresses
  • Energy booster

 Puerh:

  • Broad leaf tea harvested from wild trees, predominantly in China
  • Has soothing properties
  • Aids in digestion; perfect after heavy or greasy meals
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Combats effects of excessive alcohol consumption

All teas are healthy, and all have antioxidants. So give them all a try and find the variety that you enjoy the most and makes you feel best. Black tea is delicious with a little milk and natural sweetener, while green tea tastes best with lemon. Though I prefer to steep loose tea, tea bags tend to be more readily available and are quicker and convenient for on the go. Drink up and enjoy!

By Emily Borgeest

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