Stick the kettle on! As well as being the UK’s go-to hot drink, tea is officially awesome for your health.
“Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water,” explains Dr Chris Etheridge, a biochemist and herbalist, from the Tea Advisory Panel. “There are many published studies continue to suggest that Britain’s’ favourite beverage is good for our health including our bones, heart, vascular system, eyes and skin to name just a few health and wellbeing benefits, whatever your age.”
From helping your heart health to keeping the dentist at bay, shifting the pounds to boosting your immune system, we’ve rounded up some of the surprising benefits of your favourite brew.
Strong, no sugar if you’re making?
1. Protects eye health
A new study has uncovered a link between drinking tea and having a lowered risk of glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye condition where the optic nerve gets damaged by pressure of the fluid in your eye, causing partial or total sight loss.
The study, from researchers at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the University of California’s David Geffen School of Medicine were looking for a correlation between consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, iced tea, hot tea and soft drinks, and glaucoma. They found that of the participants in the study, those who drank at least one cup of caffeinated hot tea daily had a 74% lower chance of having glaucoma, compared to those who didn’t drink decaffeinated hot tea.
2. Psychological wellbeing
According to experts from www.o-teas.com in some parts of the world tea has been used for centuries to help with relaxation, improve spirituality, nourishment and healing and assist in religious ceremonies. Studies reveal that tea can increase blood flow, lower anxiety and improve sleep quality. Tea can therefore be used to aid psychological wellbeing as well as physical needs.
3. Cancer fighting
While tea is considered to have cancer preventive properties, research is still emerging and further evaluation is needed. However, some studies have indicated that the antioxidant polyphenols in tea, called catechins, have been linked with anti-cancer activity.
4. Boosts your immune system
According to research from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, green tea boosts the number of “regulatory T cells” in the body, which are important for the immune system.
5. Helps you lose weight
Christmas is coming and the chocolate, cake and Christmas pud is flowing. Meaning our waistbands are expanding. Thankfully, tea could be your weight-loss saviour.
A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that mice fed a junk food diet high in sugar and fat nevertheless lost weight when tea polyphenols were added to the mix. Polyphenols are natural plant compounds linked with weight loss, heart health and cognitive function in human studies.
Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Tea Advisory Panel, said: “While this research is a laboratory study, it echoes findings from human studies which show weight loss after adding tea polyphenols to the diet. Both green and black (regular) teas seem to offer benefit.
6. Reduces flu symptoms
Feeling under the weather? Put the kettle on. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine discovered that a compound found in foods such as red wine, blueberries and black tea could help gut bacteria to prevent severe influenza infections in mice. Scientists believe consuming the plant flavonoid compound before flu develops may reduce symptoms and flu’s impact.
7. Good for your pearly whites
Four cuppas a day keeps the dentist away! In a research review, published in Oral Health, it was revealed that just four cups of tea daily, or 1-2 cups for children, were found to contain enough natural fluoride to help protect teeth from decay. Professor Robin Seymour, a member of the Tea Advisory Panelsaid of the findings: “After brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, diet is the most important strategy to protect teeth, and tea drinking is a vital part of this”.
“Tea is one of the most important sources of fluoride in the British diet because tea plants are often grown in soils which naturally contain fluoride. Previous studies have shown that 4-5 cups of tea a day provide enough fluoride to meet European recommendations while staying within safe limits for fluoride.”
“Many of us take tea for granted and are drinking less. However, the evidence is clear; tea is one of the best available sources of natural fluoride and drinking it helps to protect teeth.”
8. Boosts heart health
Drinking as little as a cup of tea daily may be good for your heart health. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, found that people who drank a cup of tea each day were 35% less likely to have a heart attack or other major cardiovascular event, compared to non-drinkers.
Further studies have indicated that both green tea and black tea significantly reduced blood pressure, with black tea lowering LDL-cholesterol and green tea lowering total cholesterol.
9. Ageing and cognitive function
According to experts from the Tea Advisory Panel, emerging research suggests a benefit of tea in ageing and mental function. Two new laboratory studies indicate that the antioxidative impact of tea, likely due to its content of polyphenols, could have a beneficial effect on cognitive function following stroke and be beneficial in ageing.