By: Marcus Stout
Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, after water. Asian cultures drink gallons of green, oolong and other teas, and the Brits consume large quantities of black tea. In fact, everywhere in the world, tea is a regular part of life. In many cases, we drink tea because we like it, but as it turns out, it may be extremely healthy for us, too.
Over the years there's been tons of research on the benefits of tea to our health. And, as we learn more and more, it's becoming clear that drinking tea may be one of the best things we can do to protect our health and prolong our lives. The University of Toronto Medical Journal outlines the many benefits that drinking tea can offer
Prevention of Heart Disease
Studies have shown that regular tea consumption can actually lower cholesterol levels circulating in the blood. In fact, some studies have shown tea to reduce total cholesterol by as much as 6.5% and LDL cholesterol by as much as 11%. A reduction in cholesterol prevents atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries that carry blood become narrowed due to a buildup of plaque. The plaque that builds up in our arteries is created when LDL cholesterol oxidizes.
Prevention of Cancer
Tea has been shown to reduce the risk of several forms of cancer. In fact, tea has been shown to reduce lung tumors by 80% in laboratory mice. Tea has also been effective in human studies on cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer and gastric cancer.
Tea has also been shown to be an effective weight loss supplement. Tea increases energy expenditure, promotes fat oxidation and decreases fat storage. Many studies have shown that drinking tea in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise can help you lose more weight than diet and exercise alone.
Improvement in Intestinal Tract Bacteria
Regular tea consumption can help improve the bacteria that live in your intestinal tract; eliminating harmful bacteria and helping beneficial bacteria to flourish. Tea has been shown to reduce the level of H pylori bacteria in the stomach. H pylori is associated with the development of ulcers.
Getting Your Daily Dose
The recommended dose of tea for health benefits is about 30 ounces per day – the equivalent of 2 ½ cans of soda. While this may seem like a lot, it's easy to consume this amount if you replace some of the other beverages you consume with tea. Consider this:
Replace one cup of your morning coffee with a cup of tea instead – that's 8 ounces.
Have one bottle of green tea with lunch instead of a bottled soda – that's another 12 ounces.
For an afternoon break, make a relaxing cup of tea instead of a snack. You'll save calories and get another 8 ounces of tea.
Have a cup of lavender or mint tea before bed – you're getting another eight ounces of tea, and you'll sleep better too!
Which tea is best?
There are literally thousands of varieties of tea available – so much that you may be confused about which you should be drinking. Probably the best tea for you is the one that you like, because if you like it you'll drink more of it. However, if you're choosing tea strictly for the health benefits, here are some suggestions to help you choose the tea that will give you the most benefit.
Choose green tea over black – Green tea is unfermented, which means that more of the original anti-oxidants are intact. It is believed that green tea has more health benefits than black tea because these anti-oxidants remain in their natural state. If you don't like the flavor of plain green tea, there are dozens of flavored green teas. They are just as healthy, and taste great. In addition, you can find bottled green teas that are very convenient when you're on the go.
Choose caffeinated teas over decaffeinated – Caffeinated teas have the most health benefit. It is believed that the caffeine in tea works with the anti-oxidants to create the maximum effects. Those who are caffeine sensitive might try green tea, as its caffeine content is lower than that of black tea.
Make sure it's real tea – There are many beverages that are referred to as tea that are not really tea. True tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Herbal teas, and teas like rooibos and mate are really tisanes –meaning they come from other plants. There's certainly nothing wrong with these teas, but they don't provide the health benefits that you'll find in a true tea.
Drink it the way you like it- Tea retains the same health benefits whether you drink it hot or cold and whether or not you add milk. Just remember to skip the sugar if you're drinking tea to help you lose weight.
With all the health benefits that we're discovering about tea, it's a pretty good assumption that tea may help you live longer. By putting off many of the signs and diseases of aging, you're also likely to be healthier and more active in your old age. Tea is a natural, refreshing way to improve your health and longevity.
About the Author:
Marcus Stout is President of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information about tea, green tea and black tea go to http://www.goldenmoontea.com
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