Dust off those old China cups and get sipping. Tea is officially awesome for your health! But before loading up the good stuff, make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else (herbal “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea.
What real tea lacks in variety, it makes up for with some serious health benefits. Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Here are some of the benefits:
- Tea can boost exercise endurance. The catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
- Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. I may also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
- The antioxidants in tea may help protect against some cancers: breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers.
- Tea is hydrating to the body.
- Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.
- Tea may provide protection from ultraviolet rays. Green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
- Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
- Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
- Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). Polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
Now that you know tea the benefits of tea, why not give a cup a try…and don’t forget that scone!