Health benefits linked to drinking tea

Tea, especially green tea, is often said to be good for your health. Tea contains substances linked to a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. But keep tea’s healthy boost in perspective,

“Tea consumption, especially green tea, may not be the magic bullet, but it can be incorporated in an overall healthy diet with whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables, and less red and processed meat,” says Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The main health-promoting substances in tea are polyphenols, in particular catechins and epicatechins. Lab and animal studies say these molecules have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Harvard-led studies of large groups of people over time have found that tea or coffee drinkers are at lower risk for diabetes and possibly cardiovascular disease. Coffee also contains polyphenols.

Now here’s the key caveat: It remains unclear whether the tea itself is the cause of these benefits and, if so, how it works its magic. The studies attempt to rule out the possibility that tea drinkers simply live healthier lifestyles, but it’s difficult to be sure. That said, tea itself appears to have no harmful effects except for a case of the jitters if you drink too much caffeinated brew. It fits in perfectly well with a heart-healthy lifestyle.

One important warning: A cup of tea contains only a couple calories. Processed, sugar-sweetened tea beverages are loaded with extra calories. “If there are any health benefits to green tea consumption, it’s probably completely offset by adding sugar,” Sun says.

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Tea and your health

How a daily cup of tea may improve your health

1. Tea contains antioxidants

Antioxidants work to prevent the body’s version of rust and thus help to keep us young and protect us from damage from pollution.

2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee

Herbal blends have no caffeine, while traditional teas have less than 50 percent 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.

3. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke

“There’s a lot of literature out there on tea and heart health, “This is a health effect for which there is the strongest evidence.”

4. Tea may help with weight loss

Research on this isn’t as strong, Ardine says, adding that studies that have shown an effect have depended on consumption of large amounts of tea, often in pill form.

5. Tea may help protect your bones

Data from recent animal studies has shown that green tea may prevent bone loss.

How to brew Tea?

FOR SOOTHING HOT TEA:

The Four Golden Rules for a delicious cup of hot tea: (1) use a teapot, (2) bring fresh, cold tap water to a full boil (Note: If your water is heavily chlorinated or contains other objectionable odors, filter before boiling for best tasting tea); (3) use one teaspoon or one tea bag per cup; (4) pour boiling water over tea and brew by the clock 3 to 5 minutes and serve!

For the best flavor, preheat the teapot with a little hot water prior to use and cover your teapot with a cozy to retain heat during the brewing process.