Tea has delighted and soothed people for over four centuries. Health magazines and nutritionists jump on the numerous benefits of every tea in existence: hot or cold, green or black, white or oolong, caffeinated or decaffeinated.
If you want a straightforward summary of tea's overall health benefits, look no further. Scientists have studied tea's superpowers for years, and have highlighted every benefit from cleaning teeth to burning fat cells to preventing food poisoning. Start heating your kettle and learn how tea can cleanse and rejuvenate your body.
Tea Hydrates Better Than Water
Because of a small study, many assume that tea dehydrates due to its caffeine content. But recent research in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition argues that drinking tea carries more benefits than water.
The researchers brought up that tea provides more water than caffeine, making it overall hydrating. "Water is essentially replacing fluid," clarified lead author Dr. Carrie Ruxton. "Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants." Drinking four to six mugs of tea is as hydrating as drinking a liter of water.
Drinking Tea Can Help You Lose Weight
In the 2013 issue of the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, scientists reported that participants with type 2 diabetes who drank green tea every day achieved lower weight and blood pressure. This has to do with tea's polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which oxidizes and reduces fat cells.
Most weight-loss studies support the effects of green tea, although black tea also carries anti-diabetes compounds. Oolong tea, however, showed no change in weight or blood pressure through research.
Unadulterated Tea Is Calorie-Free
Like water, tea has zero calories. At most, unaltered tea has perhaps two calories. This makes tea a healthy, flavorful substitute for juice and other sweet drinks. You can even buy chocolate, caramel, and fruity teas (usually as white teas), and enjoy it hot or cold.
Including extras in the tea will increase its calories. One cube of sugar raises it to 24 calories, and whole milk adds ten. If you crave sugary drinks, buy naturally sweet teas such as rooibos, raspberry, orange, vanilla, cocoa, or hazelnut flavored teas.
Drinking Tea Keeps Your Teeth Clean
Research in the 2008 Academy of General Dentistry journal reported that tea's oral erosion is so low that it's similar to water (which has no erosive effect). Lead researcher Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, BDS, MSc, PhD, recommends brewing the tea without additives to keep your teeth healthy.
The study compared green and black tea and found that green tea was better. However, Bassiouny argues that any tea is better for oral health than milk, juice, or soda.
Green Tea Can Prevent Food Poisoning
Green tea contains flavonoids called catechins, which supplies much of the tea's well-known antioxidant powers. A 2012 review of green tea suggests that catechins can kill bacteria that cause food poisoning.
These catechins, which belong in green and white teas, are highly anti-inflammatory to the point where they can kill off viruses and bacteria. Research participants who took capsules of these teas experienced less flu and cold symptoms, due to the catechins.
Tea Aids Your Memory While Calming You Down
In 2017, researchers observed brain waves through an fMRI to observe the neurological effects of green tea. They noticed that both the caffeine and amino acid L-theanine increase working memory and brain function while lowering anxiety.
These benefits also encouraged calmer, more acute working sessions over extended periods in participants. As with many tea studies, scientists only tested green tea, although other caffeinated teas such as white, black, and oolong could cause similar results.
Teas Can Increase Metabolism
When the body decides to break down fat, it undergoes lipogenesis, a chemical process in which the body burns fat for energy. Three separate studies have demonstrated that green, black, oolong, and puer-eh teas activate this process. This speeds up the body's metabolism and promotes fat burning.
Another 2015 study noted that darker teas promote lipogenesis more than green or oolong teas, but all fermented or semi-fermented teas can increase metabolism. Hence, tea makes a calorie-free side dish to weight loss diets.
Tea Eases Nausea, Bloating, And Digestive Irritation
Several types of tea can promote digestion, easing nausea and bloating. Peppermint tea offers antimicrobials that assuage nerves inside intestines, which can even help IBS, according to a 2006 study. At least 18 studies have supported that ginger, in or out of tea form, eases nausea and gas.
If you eat a heavy meal, you may want to drink oolong tea, which breaks down fats easily according to The Journal of Nutrition. Or, you could drink chamomile tea. A 2011 clinical review states that chamomile soothes the gut, allowing for less bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Consistently Drinking Tea Lowers Blood Pressure
In 2017, a study in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging concluded that drinking tea continuously lowers blood pressure and reduces the likelihood of hypertension in older adults. This study contradicted earlier research that stated green and black teas heightened blood pressure, which has been continually disproven through meta-analyses in 2012 and 2014.
Researchers now proclaim that drinking tea, especially black tea, decreases blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Studies in the Diabetes & Metabolism Journal suggest that green and black tea could help people living with type 2 diabetes.
Tea Provides Caffeine, But Has Less Caffeine Than Coffee
All teas, except for herbal teas, contain at least a small amount of caffeine. Nutritionist Leslie Bonci recommends switching to tea in the morning if coffee makes you crash or feel jittery. One cup of coffee contains 105 mg of caffeine, whereas highly caffeinated black tea (such as English breakfast) hold only 40 mg.
For the most part, green and white teas have less caffeine than black tea, although less oxidation does not necessarily lower caffeine. Matcha, for instance, can provide up to 68 mg of caffeine. Yerba mate contains a chemical similar to 85 mg worth of caffeine.
Tea Is Packed With Antioxidants
A 2011 clinical review published in the HHS explored the effects of antioxidants in green tea. They concluded that these antioxidants lower oxidative stress, which prevents cell damage and mutations such as found in cancer. These effects also promote kidney health.
All tea contains antioxidants, although green tea's antioxidant count has received the most recognition in the scientific community. Oolong and white teas, which undergo less fermentation, also contain substantial antioxidants.
Tea Can Aid Your Skin, But Only If You Drink It
Green tea face products have popped up in malls everywhere, and research published in the Archives of Dermatology says that it does help. The researchers believe that this tea's antioxidant power combats free radicals, which would otherwise damage the skin. However, there is no evidence that green tea topicals provide the same effect.
In 2000, researchers at the University of Arizona noticed hot, strongly brewed black tea demonstrated a slightly lower risk of skin cancer in people over 40. This rest of the teas did not show a lowered risk, and few further studies have illustrated this property.
Drinking Tea Regularly Can Lead To A Healthy Heart
Drinking tea, especially green tea, has been correlated to increased heart health over several studies. A 2003 study found that drinking 125 mg of tea per week resulted in less risk of stroke, weight gain, and myocardial infarction in people ages 20 through 40.
In a Chinese case-controlled study, researchers noted that drinking just one cup of oolong or green tea a week resulted in a decreased risk of stroke. Black tea has also shown to lower risk of stroke up to 20% in in 2009 study.
Tea Battles Bad Breath
In 2013, researchers at the University of Illinois conducted the "bad breath" study, in which they combined black tea extracts with bacteria that cause bad breath. They observed that the tea destroys these bacteria by 30%, which prevents both bad breath and plaque.
In the same study, the scientists suggested that green tea extracts help toothpaste and mouthwash eliminate bacteria. In addition to keeping your teeth clean, tea also fights off oral disease such as cavities.
Tea Reinforces The Immune System
In 2003, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that tea drinkers had faster-working immunity cells than coffee drinkers. The researchers found that the compound L-theanine breaks down into ethylamine in the liver, which alerts immunity cells into action.
Dr. Jack F. Bukowski, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, said that "these gamma-delta T cells in the blood are the first line of defense against many types of bacteria, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections."
Tea Strengthens Bones
Baltimore researchers reviewed 13 studies in the 2017 journal Medicine and concluded that drinking tea habitually increases bone mineral density. Tea mainly impacts the neck, spine, and hip bones, and may prevent bone loss.
Since bones are made of living tissue, they need to produce new tissue to grow stronger, like muscles. Bone density decreases with age, but too low of density can lead to osteoporosis. Any tea can help, although the review discarded herbal teas.
Tea Is The Ultimate De-Stresser
Tea has been proven to reduce stress in several studies. In a 2007 study, green and black tea reduced stress-causing cortisol. Ten years later, another study in the journal Nutrients demonstrated that participants felt less stressed and fatigued after drinking tea.
Researchers writing in the Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin assert that caffeine can interrupt the destressing benefit of tea. Low-caffeine green teas and herbal teas soothed the stress response of university students.
Red Tea Reduces Inflammation
Rooibos, also called red tea, is a naturally sweet caffeine-free herbal tea native to South Africa. Pediatric researchers in 2009 noticed that rooibos assuages oxidative stress, which lowers inflammation. They added that the intake might be safe and useful children.
Although some sources claim that rooibos aids weight loss, the researchers conclude that red tea intake doesn't affect body weight. It can reduce inflammation, however, allowing it to soothe sore throats, headaches, and possibly joint inflammation.
Tea Reduces Risk Of Parkinson's Diseases
Although few studies have explored the neurological benefits of tea, several studies have pointed to a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease. 2002 research in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggested that drinking tea at least two times a day decreases the risk of Parkinson's, which was not affected by coffee, alcohol, or smoking.
Another controlled study in China noted that consistently drinking both coffee and tea over ten years lowered one's risk of Parkinson's by 28%. The type of tea wasn't specified in either study, so any kind works.
Drink Tea Before Bed--It'll Help
Tea with no caffeine can help people fall asleep, especially muscle-relaxing teas such as chamomile. A 2016 Chang & Chen randomized trial found that women who drank chamomile tea often experienced better sleep, and when they stopped, those benefits disappeared.
However, a Japanese study ten years earlier noted that participants who drank a different hot drink received the same relaxation effect as those drinking chamomile. Scientists have emphasized that hot drinks help people decompress, so any decaffeinated tea can theoretically help people sleep.