Did you know that tea is the most consumed drink in the world, after water? Last year, Americans alone consumed over 3.6 billion gallons of tea! That’s one hot beverage. (Pun intended.)
Aside from taste and tradition dating back almost 5,000 years, tea drinking has increased due to research findings that drinking a daily cup (or three or four) may impart health benefits.
Here are the 5 top healthy reasons to start drinking more tea today!
- To protect your body with antioxidants and potentially protect against many diseases: Black, green, oolong, and white teas are all derived from the Camellia sinesis plant whose leaves are loaded with antioxidant polyphenols called catechins. It’s these compounds that are responsible for many of the potential health benefits that are currently being studied on tea. Some promising studies show that these health benefits may include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, and potentially improving bone and joint health, memory, and your immune system. While there’s no solid evidence that drinking a certain amount of tea per day is going to cure or completely prevent a specific disease (researchers are still working to figure that out), we do know that the antioxidants have an active role in the body and are beneficial. Plus, there’s virtually no downside to drinking tea, so sip on!
- To help you practice mindfulness and control cravings: Tea offers an excellent way to get that hand to mouth action, without a high calorie price tag. This is especially true when drinking hot tea, since it requires a slower sipping time and more mindfulness. We often recommend pairing a cup of hot tea with a small portion of a sweet treat at night (instead of having the sweet treat alone), or as a replacement for mindless after-dinner noshing. Sipping a non-caffeinated herbal tea, like cinnamon or fennel tea, can also offer a sweet flavor without any sugar. Plus, cinnamon tea may also help control your blood sugar – a win win!
- To feel calm yet energized: Tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine that can help improve your focus and create a relaxed yet alert state. Some research has also shown that L-theanine may help reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition to this compound, black, green, oolong, and white teas all contain some caffeine. It’s about one third of the caffeine that you’ll find in a regular cup of coffee though, so it can give you a small energy boost, without the jittery effects of coffee.
- To hydrate: Although tea does contain some caffeine, the amount is small, so you can count almost 100% of the total volume of tea you drink towards your daily fluid needs (about 64 – 72 ounces per day for most people). That’s great news for those of you who need a change from plain water. Staying hydrated is important for your overall health and for feeling energized on a daily basis. Being dehydrated can slow down all of the functions in your body, including brain and muscle function, and metabolism.
- To keep your teeth and gums healthy: The catechins in tea may help protect your teeth and gums by reducing inflammation and inhibiting harmful plaque growth. Tea also contains some fluoride, a substance that dentists recommend for helping to protect your tooth enamel. One study from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry found that black and oolong teas can affect the enzyme responsible for converting sugars into the sticky material that plaque uses to adhere to teeth. Black tea also destroys, or at least suppresses the growth and acid production of cavity-causing bacteria.
Do you drink tea on a regular basis for its health benefits, flavor, or satisfaction? Let us know what you think about tea!