Tea Time: An Easy Way to Improve Overall Health
By Sheryl Kraft
Maybe it's the snow outside.
Maybe it's the dipping temperatures.
But right about now I am craving a cup of hot, steaming … tea.
Yes, I'm a coffee drinker. I like coffee's taste. I like its texture. And Starbucks is one of my go-to meeting/working/socializing spots (my personal fave is a soy latte). But winter is also tea time.
There's just something about tea that conjures up thoughts of healing, soothing vibes.
As the second–most consumed beverage in the world, tea touts lots of benefits. New research published in the December 2013 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that it can not only be a simple way toward improving your overall health and well-being, but it can at the same time clear your mind and improve your mood.
In short, tea is a multitasker of sorts, wouldn't you say?
According to the new research, there are a lot of benefits sitting in a cup of tea:
The polyphenols and caffeine in tea can increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, both beneficial for losing and maintaining an ideal body weight. Polyphenols act as antioxidants, protecting cells against damage caused by free radicals (which contribute to tissue damage in the body) and possibly guard against certain effects of aging.
The polyphenols in green tea may help improve your bone strength. A Mediterranean study found a 30 percent reduction in the risk of hip fractures associated with women and men over 50 who drank tea. You want to protect your hips: a hip fracture, whose likelihood increases as you age, is a serious injury with complications that can be life threatening.
Winter, with its shorter days, is enough to darken your moods. That's why tea can be so valuable: it contains the amino acid theanine and caffeine, both of which may provide psychological benefits and improve attention so you can concentrate better.
In studies, black tea was shown to reduce blood pressure. And in people with hypertension, tea can help lessen the negative effects of a high-fat meal. (But not so much that you should feel free to throw caution to the wind and dine on fat-laden spaghetti carbonara with a tea chaser!)
We're all looking for ways to have some mastery over this disease. There's no one surefire method. But due to its antioxidant effects, tea might be a good start. It has been found to have anticancer properties for certain cancers—those of the lung, prostate, breast and gastrointestinal tract. Aside from that, it may inhibit growth factor signaling and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.
While tea does contain caffeine, it has less than coffee, which has about 90 milligrams in one cup. A cup of black tea has about 60 milligrams, white tea has 50 milligrams and green tea, about 30 milligrams. Herbal teas have none.
A beverage high in antioxidants, with anticarcinogenic properties that may lower cholesterol levels, fight belly fat, speed up metabolism, stimulate your immune system, reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes and stall the activity of enzymes that wear down the elastin and collagen in your skin?
I think it's time to give tea its due.