The Japanese tea ceremony summarizes the beauty and benefits of tea. There is the process of brewing, steeping, flavoring and enjoying the tea, but there is also the nourishment and healing that this earthly drink provides. While it is especially soothing and welcome during the cooler season, anytime of the year tea provides a list of health benefits that make the habit worthwhile.
Some of the best known and important benefits derived from tea consumption are:
1. It has less caffeine than coffee. Tea has 1/3 the amount of caffeine than coffee does. In addition, there are over 400 known chemical compounds found in coffee, and the effect of only 6 of these chemicals have been identified. Tea does not have this dense chemical constitution.
2. It contains antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent oxidation to our cells, which slows the effects of aging and diminishes damage to our immune system from pollution and other chemicals that find their way into our body.
3. Tea may reduce heart attacks and strokes. A six year study from the Netherlands documented a 70% lower risk of fatal heart attack in subjects who drank two to three cups of black tea. These subjects were daily tea drinkers who were compared to non-tea drinkers.
4. It can protect tooth health. Tea contains fluoride and tannins that are believed to reduce plaque. Unsweetened tea drinking can assist in strengthening teeth and help maintain tooth cleanliness in between dental visits.
5. It can protect against cancer. The antioxidants found in tea are called polyphenols. There are numerous studies that suggest that polyphenols have cancer-fighting properties and can protect against it.
6. Tea makes bones stronger. A study that compared tea drinkers with non-drinkers collected data that evidenced individuals who drank tea for more than 10 years had the strongest bones. This data adjusted for age, body weight, exercise, smoking and other risk factors. This is believed to be the benefit of the phytochemicals found in tea.
7. A calorie-free beverage. Tea has no calories in it. Only when we add sweetener or cream are there calories present. Drinking black tea with sweetener substitute rather than sugar can result in a marked weight loss in 8 weeks.
It’s nice to know this delicious, soothing beverage comes with health benefits and is a great way to fill up between meals without the calorie count of a calorie rich snack.
- Dr. Georgianna Donadio