Tea is a universal drink, but many people are unaware of the amazing health benefits of tea. Originating in China, during the Shang dynasty, Portuguese priests brought tea to Europe in the 16th century. From there it spread further afield, but what are the benefits of drinking tea?
The Top 7 Health Benefits of Tea
Tea is a drink that contains a lot of antioxidants; this is great for you for a number of reasons. The most famous antioxidant is probably vitamin C which is needed for the growth, repair, and development of all body tissues. It’s especially good for healing wounds.
In general, antioxidants fight against free radicals - uncharged molecules that damage cells. For this reason, anti-aging has been heavily associated with antioxidants. Basically, drink more tea to look younger! However, antioxidants also help support a weakened immune system, keep skin clear, and fight against skin issues such as acne.
A lot of people assume that green tea is the best tea for your health. It’s rich in antioxidants, but there’s also the lesser known of the three main teas - white tea. Is white tea good for you, too, you ask? White tea and green tea are made from the same Camellia sinensis plant, however, due to different processing methods, white tea retains more of the antioxidants than green tea. This makes it the supreme choice for reducing the signs of age and keeping a fresh, youthful look for longer.
Despite British people being typecast as tea lovers with awful teeth, tea actually helps keep the teeth, gums, and inner mouth healthy. It ensures your smile remains bright and it’s known to “contain compounds that suppress bacteria, slowing down the processes responsible for tooth decay and gum disease.” (Source link: https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/healthyfoods.html)
Tea usually contains fluoride, a mineral helpful in preventing tooth decay. It’s often found in toothpaste, so its positive effects are well known.
Another benefit of tea is that it contains polyphenols which help protect against bacteria in the mouth, keeping your breath fresh. It stops bad breath from becoming an issue by digging up the problem at the root, rather than temporarily avoiding it like chewing gum, for example.
One of the most underrated health benefits of tea is its ability to increase metabolism. Green tea increases the burning of calories by up to 100 extra calories per day. While that may not seem like a lot, 100 calories every day can create a big difference long term.
Tea, surprisingly, doesn’t contain any calories itself either. This makes it a tasty alternative to water. There are countless varieties of tea to try, all with their own unique flavor. Some people prefer to have their tea cold, too, so it doesn’t have to just be a hot drink. If you want to keep it calorie-free then avoid adding sugar or sweetener to you tea. The same effect can be produced from natural fruits.
Tea has been used to aid digestion after meals for thousands of years in China. This is down to the high level of tannins which help settle a stomach and ease digestion. Herbal tea in particular soothes the digestive system, especially chamomile. As an antispasmodic, it relaxes the muscles responsible for digesting food, allowing you to settle your stomach after eating.
Bolsters Immune System
When you’re feeling under the weather - your nose is blocked, your eyes are running, you can’t seem to keep warm - there’s nothing quite like a hot cup of tea. There’s a reason for that. Not only does it warm you up when you’re cold, but it also helps rid the body of unwanted bacteria which can cause colds and the flu.
What is tea good for if it isn’t to help you feel better when you’re ill? If you have nasal congestion, then you can’t go wrong with black tea and lemon. Another strong contender would be eucalyptus tea, famed for its ability to clear airways in a quick and refreshing way.
If you’re also feeling a little sick, a wise choice would be ginger tea. It prevents nausea or an upset stomach because it contains gingerols and shogaols. They soothe inflammation and digestive discomforts within the body.
One of the many health benefits of hot tea is that it enables you to relax your mind, yet keep it active at the same time. Enjoying a cup of tea during your work break is actually more productive than you might think. Returning to work, you’ll find yourself reenergized and more able to focus on specific details and tasks.
It’s proven to have a positive effect on brainwave activity. This is because of a unique amino acid, L-theanine, that “relaxes the mind without causing drowsiness.” (Source link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328)
The benefits of drinking tea are almost endless. Not only does it enhance concentration and sharpen focus, it reduces irritability, soothes headaches, breaks down the build up of nervous tension, and helps get a good night’s sleep - even for those suffering from insomnia.
Red tea in particular has a series of calming effects that reduce irritation and inflammation.
Healthier Alternative to Coffee
Tea shares many similarities with coffee. It’s a hot beverage that improves focus and enhances productivity. However, what does tea do for you that coffee doesn’t?
Well, for starters, tea hydrates the body. If you drink 5-6 cups a day then its effects are more powerful than water as it provides all those antioxidants at the same time. Coffee, full of caffeine, actually dehydrates the body, which can lead to all kinds of problems, including dry skin, dizziness, sleepiness, headaches, increased thirst, and dry mouth.
That brings us onto the second most important benefit. The vast majority of teas don’t contain caffeine, and the ones that do still contain much less than coffee. This is great news as caffeine is highly addictive, and despite its short term benefits, the long term effects aren’t so positive. Tea is over 5x more beneficial to the immune system than coffee!
A chicory root tea is a brilliant tea to drink when trying to convert from coffee to tea as the taste is quite similar. It greatly helps stress-related issues, supports the gut, and provides a natural energy boost without the need for caffeine.
Tea is verifiably good for your bones. Like milk (which also accompanies tea in some parts of the world), tea contains calcium. Calcium is required for the development of bones and ensures they remain strong and healthy.
A great tea to try for its bone-strengthening benefits is moringa. Not only does it contain more calcium than milk, it has a variety of other nutritious minerals such as iron, and vitamins A and K.
It’s theorized that the phytochemicals in tea are beneficial in protecting bone structure. Tests are ongoing to try and discover exactly which element of tea it is that helps keep bones healthy.
Do you agree with our list? Let us know your favorite tea benefits in the comments!