It’s no secret that drinking tea is good for you. Could it possibly be the healthiest drink in the world? Tea has been an integral part of traditional medicine for thousands of years and is revered as a cure-all in many Asian countries. It also serves as a great substitute for folks who needing a morning jolt of caffeine, but don’t drink coffee.
The benefits of drinking tea go far beyond simply feeling better when you’re sick. Drinking tea can help protect brain health, improve heart health, and may even prevent certain types of cancer. It may even help you lose weight and live longer!
Here’s a brief look at five studies published on StudyFinds over the years discussing more of what drinking tea could do to boost your health.
Tea helps lower blood pressure
Tea has been going into people’s cups for around 4,000 years ago. One study shows it may also be the secret ingredient for keeping your blood pressure in check. Researchers have discovered that tea contains compounds that help blood vessels relax.
The study shows a specific protein called KCNQ5, which regulates the flow of ions, was activated by two plant compounds in tea that protect cells from free radical damage. These compounds, epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, stimulate KCNQ5 proteins to move potassium ions out of the cells. These compounds, epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, stimulate KCNQ5 proteins to move potassium ions out of the cells.
In the study, researchers found that the ion channels worked most efficiently under a direct application of pure black tea, rather than with the addition of milk. However, this doesn’t mean one needs to avoid milk when drinking tea to take advantage of the benefits for blood pressure.
Further studies suggested tea yields beneficial antihypertensive properties even with the addition of milk. Additional research also shows that green tea is more effective when warmed to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, regardless of whether tea is consumed iced or hot, this temperature is achieved after tea is drunk, as the human body temperature is about 37 degrees Celsius.
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A morning cup can add years to lifespan — when paired with an apple
An apple a day may keep the reaper away — especially when enjoyed with a cup of hot tea. Scientists say that eating foods rich in flavonoids, a compound found in high concentrations in colorful foods like apples and beverages such as tea, lowers one’s risk of death.
For the study, researchers examined diet data from more than 53,000 Danish citizens collected over 23 years. Findings show that those who regularly ate flavonoid-rich foods saw a reduced risk of developing cancer and heart disease. This protective effect was the strongest for those with a high risk of chronic diseases because of smoking cigarettes and from drinking more than two alcoholic beverages per day.
These findings are important as they highlight the potential to prevent cancer and heart disease by encouraging the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods, particularly in people at high risk of these chronic diseases. According to the study results, the recommended daily amount of flavonoids is 500mg. Prior research shows that typical cup of tea provides about 172mg of flavonoids.
Thus, it’s important to consume a variety of different flavonoid compounds found in different plant based food and drink. This is easily achievable through the diet: one cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 100g of blueberries, and 100g of broccoli would provide a wide range of flavonoid compounds and over 500mg of total flavonoids.
Drink tea to lose weight!
A dose of English breakfast in the morning could help you keep off extra weight. Research shows that black tea consumption may be an effective aid in weight loss efforts, as much as the highly-touted benefits of the beverage’s green cousin.
Researchers at UCLA conducted an experiment with mice, finding that black tea changed their metabolic markers as much as green tea, although in different ways. Namely, green tea’s polyphenols in previous studies were found to change energy metabolism in the liver, a result that was confirmed in this latest trial. The authors made the new discovery, however, that black teas promote the growth of gut bacteria and short-chain fatty acids, the latter of which have been linked to shifts in the liver’s energy metabolism.
“It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue,” explains lead author Susanne Henning. “Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans.”
Using mouse models, the authors were able to prove that both green and black tea have health benefits extending beyond improved metabolism, the researchers argue. A separate study also found that drinking oolong tea increases the breakdown of fat and continues to work even when a person is resting.
Reduces dementia and stroke risk
Good news for both coffee and tea drinkers, an extra cup of either beverage may help fight off serious health risks as you age. A study finds that drinking more coffee, more tea, or a combination of both appears to lower the risk of suffering a stroke or developing dementia later in life.
In a review of over 365,000 older adults, study authors discovered a link between participants drinking more coffee and tea and falling rates of both stroke and dementia cases among a group of 50- to 74-year-olds. Researchers followed them for four years and each person self-reported their daily coffee and tea-drinking habits. Over that time, 5,079 participants developed dementia and 10,053 had at least one stroke.
Findings reveal that people drinking two to three cups of coffee and two to three cups of tea each day lowered their risk of having a stroke by 32 percent. Their risk of developing dementia dropped by 28 percent in comparison to people who don’t drink either beverage.
Based on the data, study authors determined that people drinking two to three cups of coffee, three to five cups of tea, or a combination of four to six cups of both beverages each day had the lowest rates of both stroke and dementia in the group. In some cases, the symptoms of dementia can appear after a person suffers a stroke. Doctors call this post-stroke dementia. The study finds drinking more coffee or combining coffee drinking with tea also lowered the risk of post-stroke dementia cases.
It reduces risk of liver failure, too
Drinking coffee and tea may jumpstart your day with a jolt of energy, but drinking either will also help you avoid serious liver complications later in life, a new study finds.
For the study, researchers analyzed data on 2,424 participants from a longitudinal study that examined individuals 45 years of age or older. Included within the study were various health biomarkers from participants, including data on one’s blood, height, weight, and level of liver stiffness.
The study concludes that coffee and herbal tea consumption was linked to lower odds of one developing scarring of the liver, which is often a precursor of cirrhosis, or liver failure. These findings held consistent regardless of other variables, such as one’s lifestyle, metabolism, or environment.
Liver damage has become much more prevalent in recent years, in large part due to a sedentary lifestyle, decreased physical activity, and consumption of a ‘Happy Diet’. This might run counter to common wisdom that would seem to suggest that alcohol alone is the main culprit for liver problems. The study aims to add more research to identify the optimum amounts and the type(s) of coffee and tea leading to more favorable liver outcomes.
Going green can boost brain health, memory
Green tea has long been touted for its role in helping to prevent conditions from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. A recent study shows it carries an ingredient that helps reduce memory loss, brain insulin resistance, and one’s risk for obesity, too.
Research released by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology shows that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a biologically-active ingredient prevalent in green tea, could alleviate high-fat, high-fructose-induced insulin resistance in the brain, as well as cognitive impairment.
While previous research has identified EGCG as a way to treat many diseases in humans, this latest study shows a positive impact on insulin resistance and cognitive defects triggered in the brain by an average Western diet.
“Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, and is grown in at least 30 countries,” explains researcher Xuebo Liu. “The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combatting obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment.”
Remember that any significant changes to your diet should first be discussed with your doctor.