Did you know that you could be improving your health with every cup of tea? Tea is more than a delicious and comforting refreshment, but research has shown that drinking tea can actually be good for you. It has less caffeine than coffee and can help with weight loss, but there are many more health benefits in each cup.
The majority of benefits come from drinking green, black, white oolong or pu-erh tea which are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. This shrub contains a powerful mix of antioxidants, catechins, and polyphenols, all of which can have a positive impact on our bodies.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 health benefits of drinking tea.
1. Improve Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers today, but a Harvard study found that drinking more than 5 cups of green tea per day can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by up to 26%. This benefit comes from a special molecule found in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which may help reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Green tea is thought to have a number of other health benefits, including better vascular reactivity, lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure. Not bad for a cup of tea, right?
2. Supports Mental Health
Tea has been linked to a lower risk of neurological diseases and reduced stress levels. Again, it’s green tea that has shown to have the most benefits with promising signs of preventing diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
On a more simple but effective level, a cup of tea offers calming effects, helping us unwind after a busy or stressful day. It’s not just a feeling but is based in science. The antioxidants present in tea help to eliminate free radicals. Free radicals are caused partly by pollution and can lead to oxidative stress which has been directly linked to dementia and depression. The antioxidants in tea work to cleanse the body of these toxins and restore balance to our mental health problems.
3. May Regulate Blood Sugar
A 2013 study published in the Diabetes and Metabolism Journal suggested that people with Type 2 diabetes can benefit from drinking green tea. The polyphenols or antioxidants present in tea help regulate glucose in the body as it improves the cells ability to metabolize sugar. Drinking black tea after a meal has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels.
4. Aids Digestion
Tea can also aid digestion, treating a whole host of issues including nausea, stomach cramps to diarrhea. Ginger tea is great if you have an upset stomach as it soothes the stomach lining. Peppermint tea is another good choice thanks to its antioxidants and menthol. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome then tea can ease the symptoms as the tannins reduce inflammation in the intestines.
5. May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
While drinking tea is not an alternative to cancer treatment, studies have shown that drinking tea can reduce the risk of cancer developing or spreading. The polyphenols found in black and green tea regulate cancer cell growth and reduce the development of new cells.
While other studies have shown that the compounds in green tea, act in such a way which makes it more difficult for a tumor to make its own blood supply.