Be Healthy- Drink Tea!

Written by: Elsie Velazquez, cert. Personal Trainer at Prescription Fitness (Cleveland, Ohio)

Regardless of whether it is winter, spring, summer, or fall, tea can be a tasty (and low calorie) drink of choice because it can be served hot or over ice.  In addition to the hydration benefits, there is research that shows tea has many health benefits.  Tea provides a flavorful alternative to plain water and can help protect your teeth, your heart, and a possible bonus boost against cancer.

There are many types of teas and it the type you choose DOES make a difference.  In my research, I found out that all non-herbal teas are made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.  Whether you end up with green, black or oolong tea is determined by how long the leaves are processed.

The green teas are the least processed and tend to have the highest amounts of polyphenols, and the only type of tea that contains the catechin. There are some herbal teas that are known for their medicinal values such as soothing the digestive system.

Here are the top 10 health benefits of tea:

  1. Tea contains antioxidants.

Antioxidants work to prevent the body’s breakdown and therefore help to keep us young and protect us from damage from pollution. Load up on antioxidants with a white tea or green tea which are both less processed than black tea.

  1. Tea has less caffeine than coffee.

Herbal blends have no caffeine, while traditional teas have less than 50 percent of what typically is found in coffee.

  1. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

A study published earlier this year found a nearly 20 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35 percent reduced risk of stroke among those who drank one to three cups of green tea a day.  Benefits were shown to increase with four or more cups.

  1. Tea may help with weight loss.

Although research on this is not concrete, there is still evidence that shows it can aid with weight loss and that is good enough for me.  It certainly won’t hurt to try.

  1. Tea may help protect your bones.

With more calcium than milk, as well as iron, vitamin A and K, certain teas (Moringa) are a great addition to help keep those bones strong.

  1. Tea may keep your smile bright.

Research has shown that because tea changes the pH in your mouth when you drink it, drinking tea may prevent cavities.  In addition, tea, unlike many other beverages does not appear to erode tooth enamel.

  1. Tea may boost the immune system.

Because of its antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, tea can help keep the immune system strong after injuries or illnesses.

  1. Tea may help battle cancer.

I found that studies on this are mixed – more research is needed. But if you have a strong family history of cancer, increasing your tea consumption may be a good idea.

  1. Herbal tea may soothe the digestive system.

Herbal teas such as chamomile, can be good for people with irritable bowel syndrome because it is an antispasmodic.  Ginger teas can calm nausea.

  1. Tea is calorie free.

Unless you are adding sugar or other additives, tea is a great no-calorie alternative to water year-round.  There are fun flavors of tea such as pineapple, acai berry, strawberry and litchi that you can experiment with.

Bottom line is that although most research on tea is highly positive, it’s not all definitive.  Keep that in mind when deciding on whether or not to add it to your daily regimen.

If you have any questions or concerns contact one of our fitness professionals at info@prescription-fitness.com.