Steep Perks: Why Drinking Tea Is Good for Your Health
The New Sports Drink
After plain old H2O, tea is the most popular drink on the planet. And some researchers say it's even healthier. "Tea packs more of a punch than water," says Carrie Ruxton, PhD, a dietitian and tea expert in the United Kingdom. "In addition to providing hydration, it's rich in health-promoting substances." The science is staggering: Studies suggest that one cup of tea may contain up to five times more antioxidants than any fruit or vegetable. These disease-fighting compounds may help prevent certain cancers, keep your heart healthy, burn fat and ward off weight gain, sharpen your mind, and help your body beat the effects of aging and stress. The facts are in: It's teatime!Gimme a Tea!
Tea does a body good. "It's also calorie-free if you don't add milk or a sweetener like sugar or honey," says Diane L. McKay, PhD, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston. Check out the myriad benefits of that mug:
Your brain: A cuppa doesn't just make you more productive at the office (one study showed that tea drinkers have improved accuracy and attention when switching between tasks). It may also ward off Parkinson's disease and slow the progression of Alzheimer's.
Your bones: Studies indicate that phytochemicals in tea, such as flavonoids, may protect against bone loss: Regular tea drinkers have higher bone density than non-tea drinkers.
Your heart: A study of more than 40,000 adults found that women who drank five or more cups of green tea a day had a 31 percent lower risk of death from heart disease than those who downed less than one. Other research linked black tea to lower LDL cholesterol.
Your skin: EGCG, the main polyphenol in green tea, has anticancer properties that may prevent the development of skin tumors. In an animal study, green-tea extracts reduced the severity of exposure to UV radiation.
Did you know? Green tea contains metabolism-revving caffeine plus the potent antioxidant EGCG, which activates the sympathetic nervous system to encourage fat burning. In one study, exercisers blasted more fat during a half-hour workout when they consumed tea beforehand. In addition, there is evidence that tea may decrease fat absorption and contribute to weight loss. "Tea is a safe, effective way to increase calorie burn and the release of fat from your fat stores," says Paul Arciero, PhD, the director of the Human Nutrition and Metabolism Laboratory at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Try one or two cups of green, black, or oolong tea -- iced, if you prefer -- 30 minutes before you sweat.
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