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The health benefits of drinking tea

An old-fashioned brew could be just the tonic this Winter. Thanks to its health-boosting properties, two cups a day could even save your life

Tea really is the best drink of the day – not just because of its refreshing taste, but because of its powerful ability to improve our general wellbeing.

Scientists are finding a growing body of evidence which proves how the powerful components in tea are in helping to ease common health complaints and keep our minds and bodies in good working order.  

Research published in the American Journal of Nutrition has revealed that the health-enhancing flavonoids delivered by just two cups of tea a day reduces the risk of death from all causes by 40%.

Other studies have found that drinking tea could reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic inflammation.

An exciting new report, entitled BREW KNEW THAT? For Good Health, It’s Always Tea Time, compiled by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) delves even deeper into the latest scientific studies surrounding the health benefits of tea.

“Tea is the ultimate superfood as it provides around 80% of the flavonoids in the UK diet and 70% of our dietary fluoride,” says TAP member and dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton.

Flavonoids are natural plant components which are linked to health benefits associated with their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.

According to TAP, lab studies show that just one cup of tea delivers the same flavonoid activity as two apples, 3.5 glasses of orange juice or 10 glasses of long-life apple juice.

“Tea and other herbal tea infusions are such familiar friends, we often overlook the number and range of health benefits they bring to the table,” says Professor Philip Calder of the University of Southampton.

“Two of the biggest drivers for illness and age-related physical and cognitive decline are oxidation and inflammation, and tea helps combat both.”

TAP says dementia, heart disease, diabetes and cancers are all on the increase as a result of our ageing population, sedentary lifestyles and burgeoning levels of obesity.

“Sustained lifestyle changes are required to reverse these trends, but this often begins with baby-steps,” says health and wellbeing specialist Dr Catherine Hood.

“One very simple and effective way to reduce your risk is to drink tea on a daily basis.”

The health benefits of tea

Following a range of studies, tea has been shown to:

  1. Potentially cut the risks of dementia or delay its onset. 
  2. Enhance cognition and memory. 
  3. Reduce depression and anxiety. 
  4. Cut the risk of heart and circulation problems by up to 20%.
  5. Cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by between 16% and a third.
  6. Help with weight control – thought to be because of the catechin content and positive changes in the gut bacteria.
  7. Help tackle high blood pressure – one study found drinking black tea could have a 10% effect at reducing blood pressure, while another found drinking green tea could reduce the risk by 46%.
  8. Improve oral health – one study found tea helped with 40% reduction in dental decay risk and could combat bad breath, reduce inflammation, bone reabsorption and the growth of bacteria association with gum disease.
  9. Help protect eyesight – research shows tea can reduce the risk of glaucoma and could reduce the risk of cataracts.
  10. Give bones better protection and may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Did you know?

Black tea vs green tea

Black tea is the one we drink most often in the UK, while green tea is more common in Asian countries. But did you know they’re both produced from the same plant? Black, green and Oolong tea are all produced from Camellia sinensis, with their distinctive flavours coming from different processing methods. This may also explain why the health benefits of tea can depend on the brew.

lyndahamiltonparker
Lynda Hamilton Parker is a Scottish PR expert and independent publisher

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