Steep Perks: Why Drinking Tea Is Good for Your Health
Drink to Your Health
How much tea should you sip? One to three cups a day provide plenty of health benefits.
1 cup = 5 percent higher mean bone mineral density, and 46 percent lower risk of high blood pressure.
2 cups = 26 percent lower risk of the mental decline that accompanies aging, and 35 percent lower risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a common skin cancer.
3 cups = 11 percent lower risk of heart attack, and 37 percent lower risk of breast cancer.Crazy for Kombucha
What it is: Sometimes called mushroom tea because of the microorganisms that float in it and form a mushroomlike shape, this fermented form of sweetened tea with a funky vinegar taste is made with live bacteria and yeast and often fortified with B vitamins.
What it claims: Proponents say this ancient Chinese drink has medicinal benefits, namely that it boosts the immune system, prevents cancer, and aids digestion and liver function.
The real deal: "There is little or no research to back up these claims," says Janet Helm, a registered dietitian in Chicago. "Kombucha is not a magic cure-all, but it is a fermented product that, like yogurt, is a source of probiotics -- beneficial bacteria that help digestion and improve immunity." Helm acknowledges that the black and green teas in kombucha offer some antioxidants and polyphenols but says you could get the same from any tea bag.
Should you drink it? "Sure, if you like it," Helm says. "But don't expect it to work miracles."
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