Many people use a cup of tea as a caffeinated alternative to coffee or as a means of relaxing after a long day. Regardless of whether it's hot or cold, tea can do more than wind you up and calm you down. It can also keep your teeth healthy via its fluoride content, as well as help you lose weight. In addition, although more research is needed, tea may even ward off illness and keep you heart-healthy.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
Tea can help you lose weight in a variety of ways. For instance, the taste of some flavored teas, and even bitter teas for those who enjoy them, are appealing to the taste buds and, therefore, don't make dieters feel as though they are sacrificing taste for weight loss. Also, according to TeaUSA.com, tea accelerates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats as the tea itself is being metabolized. This helps your body lose weight.
It May Help Boost Your Immune System
According to TeaUSA.com, as a healthy adult, you have a 30-percent chance of contracting the flu even with a vaccination. While it might not prevent illness, drinking tea may help ward off the cold and flu. One cup of tea provides you with 20 mg of theanine, the amino acid responsible for the immune system benefits, which, according to Drugs.com, may have immunologic attributes. However, the clinical support to substantiate this claim is weak, notes the site.
It Prevents Cell Damage
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with one or more unpaired electrons. They are necessary elements in biochemical reactions in the body. However, when in excess or not controlled, they damage cells in your body via their high chemical reactivity. Tea contains flavonoids, natural compounds known for their antioxidant attributes. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals so that they aren't stable. In doing so, they help slow cell damage.
It May Keep Your Heart Healthy
Though the evidence is not strong and more studies need to be done, tea can possibly help keep your heart healthy. According to TeaUSA.com, a study published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" in 2006 stated that drinking green tea reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 26 percent. Another study suggested that tea could also reduce inflammation that increases this risk. The site also states that tea can improve blood vessel function and control blood clotting, thereby supporting healthy blood circulation.
While the temperature of the drink doesn't affect tea's health benefits, tea that is too hot can actually increase your risk for throat cancer. According to Fox News.com, drinking tea at a temperature greater than 158 degrees was associated with an eight-fold increased risk of throat cancer, as opposed to drinking tea at or less than 149 degrees. To avoid this, wait four to five minutes after pouring the tea to take a sip.
Also, tea can impair the body's iron absorption, notes Fox News.com. This means that people at risk for anemia should try to drink non-tea fluids at mealtime.
- Help Guide: How to Sleep Better
- BBC: Tea “Healthier” Drink Than Water; 24 Aug. 2006
- Tea USA: Hot Tea Can Help Millions of Americans Who Resolve to Lose Weight and Eat Healthier this New Year; Dec. 2006
- Tea USA: Flue Season is Tea Time; Jan 2009
- Colorado State University: Free Radicals and Reactive Oxygen; R. Bowen; Aug. 2003
- Fox News.com: Study: Drinking Very Hot Tea Linked to Throat Cancer; Reuters; March 2009