How Many Benefits of Tea Consumption Do You Already Know Of?
Which type you drink can make a difference. All non-herbal teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The amount of time the leaves are processed determines whether you end up with a green, black or oolong tea.
The green teas are the least processed and tend to have the highest amounts of polyphenols, and the only type that contain the polyphenol, catechin, which is why many studies have been done using only green teas. Certain herbal teas are known for their medicinal values, including soothing the digestive system.
Antioxidants in tea work to prevent the body’s version of rust and thus help to keep us young and protect us from damage from pollution. Load up on antioxidants with a white tea, which is less processed than black or green tea so it retains more beneficial antioxidants.
Herbal blends have no caffeine, while traditional teas have less than 50% of what typically is found in coffee. That means you can consume it without those pesky effects on your nervous system, says Leslie Bonci, nutritionist and owner of Active Eating Advice. If you're trying to switch from coffee to tea, try a chicory root tea like Teeccino, which has a mouth feel and flavour similar to coffee. Chicory root is also known to help reduce stress and is a prebiotic so may be helpful to your gut.
A study published in 2016 that combined data from a host of earlier reports found a nearly 20% reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35% reduced risk of stroke among those who drank one to three cups of green tea a day. Those who drank four or more cups of green tea daily had a 32% reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.
With more calcium than milk, as well as iron, vitamin A and K, morning tea is a great addition to help keep those bones strong. “Japanese researchers have found that tea can decrease tooth loss,” Ardine said. “It changes the pH in your mouth when you drink it and that may be what prevents cavities.” Beyond that, tea, unlike many other beverages does not appear to erode tooth enamel, Bonci said.
Studies have shown tea can tune up immune cells so they reach their targets quicker. Holy basil or tulsi tea has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries to help keep the immune system strong after injuries or illnesses thanks to its antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies on this are currently mixed, which means more research is needed, Bonci says. But, in the meantime, “if you’ve got a strong family history of cancer and you want to do anything you can, you might increase your tea consumption,” she added.
“Herbal teas, in particular chamomile, can be good for people with irritable bowel syndrome because it is an antispasmodic,” Bonci said. “And ginger teas can calm nausea.” Get a dose of both with a ginger chamomile tea.
“It provides so many options for flavor and versatility. You can have it hot or cold. And you don’t have to put anything in it, though you might want to add a cinnamon stick or some ginger. That means you’re able to hydrate with something other than water alone.”