The Top 7 Health Benefits of Tea You Might Be Missing Out On
Nothing beats a steaming cup of tea on a cold morning, or a warm mug in your hands by the fireside on snuggly evenings in. Beyond the coziness most of us associate with tea, however, are a raft of health benefits you might be missing out on if you don’t drink it.
It’s important to be clear upfront that we’re specifically talking about the beverage made from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. This evergreen shrub or tree is native to China, Southeast Asia and India, but is today grown all over the world in subtropical regions. Many people do not know that this single plant is responsible for the huge range of green, white, black and oolong teas available today. While other types of tea – think chai, rooibos or herbal varieties – are quite healthful, none contain the antioxidant power or immune-boosting benefits of this plant.
If you’re not drinking the right kind of tea, or not drinking it at all, you might be missing out on some of the following benefits. Keep in mind that because of significantly reduced processing, green tea contains far more of these perks than black, white or oolong, though the latter three still contain some. Now let’s talk about why you ought to be subbing this delicious, healthful drink into your daily routine right now.
- Tea Usually Contains Less Caffeine Than Coffee
Although comparisons are difficult to make, because tea and coffee are prepared differently and people prefer their caffeinated beverages at different strengths, a cup of tea always contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Whereas coffee contains anywhere from 150-200 mg of this stimulating substance in every mugful, green tea only has about 35-70 mg. Especially if you’re the type of person who likes several cups of something hot in the morning, you can substantially reduce your caffeine intake by subbing out a few cups of coffee for tea instead.
- The Green Tea “Buzz” Is Much Less Jittery
While as stated above green tea does contain a moderate amount of caffeine, it produces a buzz that is much less jittery than coffee. After several cups of coffee, you may feel like you’re vibrating slightly (an effect that occurs even with decaf). The tea buzz, on the other hand, tends to be mellow and focused, helping you wake up and meet the challenges of the day without taxing your well-being or causing anxiety.
- Tea Creates Intense Focus and Sharpens Your Mind
Green tea is known to create intense focus, improve your memory and make it easier to avoid distractions. From ancient times, tea drinkers have reported feeling a calm alertness as a result of drinking green tea. While coffee drinkers generally report alertness as well, they frequently don’t cite focus as a common symptom of drinking coffee. Ditto the Zen-like calm that many green tea drinkers say they feel.
- Tea Protects Your Heart
Drinking green tea can do a lot for your heart health, especially if you drink at least a cup a day over a period of years. Not only does it contribute to better cardiovascular health in the long run, though: It can improve your blood flow and the health of your vessels within minutes of drinking a cup. Studies have shown that people who drink green tea have improved blood vessel function within 30 minutes. Black tea may also help blood vessels work better in the short term and long term by improving endothelial (vessel lining) function.
- Tea Contains High Levels of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a powerful way to fight aging and disease. Free radicals in the body damage DNA, which has been linked to faster aging and increased chance of a multitude of disease. Tea contains high levels of catechins, which fight free radicals and reduce your chances of succumbing to old age as quickly.
- Your Immune System Benefits from Regular Tea Consumption
No one enjoys the common cold, and more serious infections, diseases and cancer are much, much less pleasant. The good news? You can seriously boost your immune system by imbibing more tea. The same catechins that are responsible for protecting your DNA and keeping you young can also help pump up your natural immunity to germs and disease. When your body’s defenses are fully mobilized, you’re less likely to get viruses and will have an easier time fighting them off.
- Tea May Help Fight Cancer
Green tea contains polyphenols (the same substance that makes red wine healthy), which may contribute to anti-tumor activity. Regularly enjoying a cup of tea can not only make you less predisposed to cancer, it can also help cancer patients live longer, fuller lives. If you have a family history of cancer, immediately integrating at least two cups of green tea into your daily routine is a smart move.
Form a Tea Habit Today
See? Not only is tea delicious, it offers a ton of health perks. Unlike forming a hardcore exercise habit or completely revamping your diet, though, this is a healthy change you can make with only one simple switch. All you have to do is buy some tea and start drinking. If you really can’t stand the taste of green tea, try black or white. Or you can experiment with matcha, a powdered green tea that contains the same health benefits as the leaf version and makes for a delicious, creamy beverage.
Whatever you do, don’t let the power of tea pass you buy. Grab your mug and start drinking to your health today.