Now is a great time to learn about the benefits of tea and why you might want to swap out your coffee for tea, add it to your day, or continue drinking it if you’re already a tea-lover.
Tea dates back to 2700 B.C. According to an article published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chinese legend says that leaves from an Camellia sinensis plant fell into Emperor Shennong's cup of boiling water – and tea was born, brewed and boosted around the world for its soothing qualities and powerful health benefits.
In the past two years, scientists have conducted more than 30 studies on the health benefits and disease-fighting properties of tea, with nearly 1 million participants. That’s a lot of research! I’ve culled the findings below into several overall benefits. So put the kettle on and discover the health benefits of tea!
Overall Health Benefits of Drinking Tea
• Cancer-prevention. Tea contains powerful antioxidants that help reduce and repair free radicals in our body. Free radicals are the molecules that cause inflammation and can lead to diseases such as cancer. Herbal and green teas are less processed, and are the best choices to get your antioxidants.
• Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease. Black tea has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, while green tea has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Green tea has the highest amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols are particularly powerful in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and osteoporosis.
• Weight loss. Some studies have found that tea may help you lose weight and reduce belly fat. The most effective weight-loss tea is green tea because it is high in catechins – antioxidants that can boost your metabolism and increase your body’s ability to burn fat. Other teas that may aid in weight loss are:
o Black tea: High in flavones, it’s associated with weight loss and lower BMI (less fat around the middle).
o Oolong tea: Some studies show it improves fat burning and speeds up metabolism.
o White tea: Early studies show it may increase fat loss.
• Multiplied benefits with Matcha. If you want to maximize the health benefits of tea, Matcha tea is the powerhouse!
o Made from baby green tea leaves ground into a powder, Matcha tea has the nutritional equivalency of 10 cups of green tea! Matcha has more antioxidants and catechins than green tea alone, so you get more of the disease-fighting and metabolism-boosting benefits.
o One study found that Matcha has more than 100 times the amount of polyphenols as regular green tea, and more than 60 times the antioxidants as spinach.
o A recent study (NIH) shows that the combo of phytochemicals, L-theanine and caffeine in Matcha (and green) tea improve mood and reduce brain fog. L-theanine is an amino acid known for its calming effects.
o Matcha also has high amounts of EGCG, a component that stimulates thermogenesis, the biochemical process our bodies use to burn fat and create energy. Studies show EGCG may speed fat burning and reduce new fat cell production.
o Matcha is still in the scientific discovery phase, so you should continue to read studies and avoid over-drinking it. (More is not necessarily better!) The recommended amount is ½ teaspoon per brewed cup, once daily.
More Tea Benefits!
• Reduces depression. Tea (three cups a day) can lower the risk of depression by 37 percent (NIH, NLM, NCBI) and the risk of a stroke by 21 percent (AHA).
• Reduces risk of liver disease. Tea reduces the risk of liver disease, including liver cancer, carcinoma, and cirrhosis. (NIH, NLM, NCBI).
• Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes. Tea (two cups) can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by nearly 5% (NIH, NLM, NCBI).
• Reduces caffeine-related symptoms. If caffeine has a negative affect on you (contributing to anxiety or insomnia, for example) note that tea typically has 50% less caffeine. Naturally decaffeinated tea is considered healthier than the chemical process used to remove caffeine from tea (and coffee). An 8-ounce cup of tea using one tea bag, brewed for three to five minutes, has 40 mg of caffeine; a cup of brewed coffee contains 100 mg. For those who still struggle with caffeine-related symptoms even with less caffeine, there are many varieties of naturally caffeine-free tea, including hibiscus, chamomile, rooibos, and most herbal teas.
And as if all these benefits weren’t enough, the ritual of simply making a cup of tea has a calming, relaxing effect for many people!