February 20, 2012 by bethanjthomas
It seems to me that tea is often the unsung hero of a British diet. 40% of our national liquid intake comes in the form of tea, but we spend virtually no time thinking about the health benefits that we might be getting from our cuppas. And there are a lot…
Firstly, tea without milk does not contain any calories. It’s angelically guilt free if you can avoid giving in to your sweet tooth and heaping sugar into your cup.
If you add semi-skimmed milk to your tea, you’ll only get around 14 calories with a nice dose of useful vitamins and minerals. For example, drink 4 cups of tea with milk a day, and you’ll be getting 21% of your daily calcium requirement.
The other benefit of teas are the anti-oxidants that they contain. These are known as flavonoids and they help to prevent ‘free radicals’ in the body from damaging cells. This is the rather complicated science bit…
Free radicals are essentially atoms or groups of atoms in your body that have an uneven number of electrons. This makes them highly unstable, and they attack cells in the body in order to steal an electron and gain stability. This, however, causes a chain reaction, like dominoes, where the cells that they steal from go on to attack others in search of more electrons. If this happens to important cellular components such as DNA, or cell membranes, it can lead to serious health problems like cancer, heart disease or dementia.
Anti-oxidants are incredibly helpful chemical compounds that give up their electrons to free radicals without becoming unstable. So the more of them in your body, the less likely free radicals are to damage cells. Instead, they take what they need from anti-oxidants.
Moral of the story, get as many anti-oxidants in your body as possible.
Whilst tea is a great source of flavonoids, you can choose to drink either green or black tea for different effects. There are thousands of scientific studies but below are a few key facts.
Black tea contains complex flavonoids known as thearubigans. These have been associated with helping combat heart disease and strokes, diabetes and dementia in clinical studies.
If you drink three cups of black tea a day, your chances of having a heart attack are approximately 70% less compared to a non-tea drinker.
Clinical studies have shown that drinking 23 cups of black tea each month can help reduce the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Consumption of at least three cups of coffee and/or tea reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by approximately 42%.
Green Tea contains flavonoids with a simple structure, called catechins. These have been associated with having anti-ageing properties and preventing cancer in scientific studies.
These have been proven to help prevent age-ing in skin (only when drunk, not when placed in a cream on your face)
An increase in green tea consumption of two cups/day has been associated with an 18% decreased risk of developing lung cancer (drinking an increased amount of black tea, has no noticeable effect).
(This article was written for Eat Balanced, a team of committed and motivated people who passionately believe in the value of nutrition in health and wellness. http://www.eatbalanced.com/)