Monday, January 26, 2009

The Health Benefits of Black, Green, White, and Oolong Tea

The following post is my contribution to The Inspired Room's Beautiful Life series. I believe that a healthy body contributes to a happy life. Thanks, Melissa.

As I placed a new calendar on the bulletin board at the beginning of this month, I decided to take at least one healthy step into the new year. I wanted to build a new habit that would be beneficial to my health.

My time is not my own, and there can be demands that are immediate at any given time of the day. My new habit had to be something easy, something I actually thought I could still be doing on December 31, 2009.

I wanted my goal to be small, specific, and so simple that failure would be an impossibility. Most importantly, I wanted it to be something that would have the potential to offer health benefits if I stuck with it.

I decided that drinking green tea would be my new habit. What could be easier? I would - at the very least - take a few minutes every afternoon to sip a cup of green tea with lemon. Who knew it would turn into a few minutes of solitude, a time when I stop and take a deep breath to unwind? It helps me get in touch with what's going on inside. I can feel my body and mind as it relaxes and gives in to the slowness of the moment.

The best part is the added health benefit of drinking green tea. Studies are indicating some interesting results as you'll read in the following article. I always add a slice of lemon to the cup because I've read that it significantly contributes to the increase of the antioxidant effect. Drinking tea - an easy way to add a healthy habit to your day.

I hope you find the following article interesting and helpful.
Topping the list of surprising superfoods is tea—any type that comes from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, including black, green, white, and oolong.
Many studies have looked at the health benefits of tea. While the jury is still out on some of these potential benefits, there appears to be compelling evidence for tea's ability to reduce the risk of heart disease.

"There are some intriguing studies that tea may prevent cancer, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and impact halitosis [bad breath], and while these studies are more speculative, the strongest evidence is on the reduction of coronary heart disease risk," says Tufts University researcher Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD.

Tea's secret ingredient is catechins, a type of flavonoid from the family of disease-fighting antioxidant phytochemicals that is also found in fruits, vegetables, and red wine.

Not just any cup of tea will provide you with a healthy dose of flavonoids. Strong, steeped tea is richest in these phytochemicals. And the longer you steep your tea, the more of these healthy extracts your beverage will contain.

Because iced tea is typically diluted, it's not as good a source as hot tea. Bottled teas start off with low levels of flavonoids, and tend to lose potency over time. Decaffeinated tea is a good option, though it has about 10 percent fewer phytochemicals than tea with caffeine.

So how much tea should you drink? Some studies have suggested that drinking three cups each day can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Blumberg suggests choosing tea whenever you can. He points out that it can contribute as much antioxidants as a serving of fruit or vegetable without the calories, and is far preferable to soft drinks.

If you add sugar or full-fat milk to your tea, do so sparingly. These additions can turn naturally noncaloric tea into a high-calorie beverage.

For more surprisingly healthy foods continue...


Pam said...

I have a cup of green tea every morning when I get to work (I get there a little early). I love it!

Becky K. said...

That was my silent determination this year, as well. I am so shocked to see that you made the same decision. I have never been a tea drinker but decided to give it a try. There is something about it that just soothes and like you said the green tea is good for us.

Have a great tea time today.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Good for you!!! A little step, but one that can make a difference! Those are the best kinds of steps.

Enjoy your tea!!