Tea is the second most popular beverage consumed in the US, after water. 154 million Americans drink tea daily – that’s half the US population. Tea is consumed for its taste as well as its countless health benefits. The aromatic beverage is recognized as a soothing, refreshing, and even a healing drink.
There are many brews out on the market today that label themselves tea, but traditionally only white, green black and oolong teas are considered the real thing. They all contain unique antioxidants called flavanoids, which help our bodies prevent disease and contribute to our overall health. Registered Dietitian Margaux Harari from New York City’s Nutrition Energy gives us even more potential benefits of tea.
Heart Health: Drinking tea may help lower LDL, a.k.a. bad cholesterol, reduce blood clotting, and keep our arteries smooth and clog-free. Studies have shown that regular consumption of black tea decreases the frequency of heart attack by 11 percent, significantly lowers blood pressure for individuals with high levels and can lower LDL by 11 percent.
Dental Health: Since tea contains fluoride, it has been shown to have an anti-cavity effect on those who drink it regularly. In addition, research has shown that a daily cup of green tea significantly reduces the risk of tooth loss. So drink up and improve your smile.
Positive Mood: Believe it or not, drinking tea is associated with a more positive mood throughout the day. Some researchers say people who drink anywhere from one to eight cups of tea daily, report feeling more alert, less fatigued and possess an overall better mood than non-tea drinkers.
Anti-Aging Properties: A 2012 study done with 14,000 Japanese seniors found that frequent tea drinkers were less likely to have stroke, heart attack, liver disease or psychological distress. In addition, those who drank green tea regularly were shown to have a better diet, better cognitive activity and were more involved in community events. These results may be due to green tea’s high polyphenol content, which contributes to reduced DNA damage.
Hydration: It was previously believed that caffeinated beverages cause dehydration, however, recent research has proven that theory wrong. Studies show that as much as 400mg of caffeine, or the equivalent of 8 cups of tea, daily can be consumed with no effect on one’s hydration status. As a matter of fact, tea can be included as part of your daily total water intake.
Caffeine: Black and green teas have, on average, half the amount of caffeine as coffee, ranging anywhere from 20 to 60 mg in each 8oz cup. Coffee, on the other hand has anywhere from 50 to 800 mg per cup. So tea can be the perfect wake-me-up without putting you over the top.
All Natural and Calorie-Free: Fresh brewed, unsweetened tea is 100 percent natural and contains no calories, fat, or sugar. By swapping just one can of soda with a cup of unsweetened tea every day, for one year, you save yourself over 51,000 calories- the equivalent of almost 15 lbs of body fat.
Written by: Margaux Harari, MS, RD, CDN