A lot of Americans consider tea to be the weak step sister of coffee. But, in the rest of the world that is not the case.
Tea U.S.A. Inc. says, “Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80 percent of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.
“In 2012, Americans consumed well over 79 billion servings of tea, or over 3.60 billion gallons. About 84 percent of all tea consumed was Black Tea, 15 percent was Green Tea, and a small remaining amount was Oolong and White Tea.
“On any given day, over one half of the American population drinks tea. On a regional basis, the South and Northeast have the greatest concentration of tea drinkers.”
So, we drink a lot of tea. It tastes good, but how healthy is the habit?
According to some recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tea drinking is very good, indeed.
Citing these studies, Dr. Marc Siegel of the NYU Langone Medical Center said that tea drinking is very good for bone health, it improves concentration and decreases the chances of some cancers, it helps the G.I. tract and has a positive impact on prostate cancer.
To reap these benefits a person needs to drink about three cups of tea a day. The only caveat is that the person not have high blood pressure or other health issue that could be adversely affected by tea.
Dr. David Samadi of Lenox Hill Hospital also noted that tea drinking reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increases HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). A healthy one-two punch.
Tea drinking benefits both the brain and the body, he said. There are cognitive benefits that actually create new brain cells. On the other hand, tea drinking also reduces food cravings so it is a great help in weight loss and weight control.
What is it that makes tea, any kind of tea, so beneficial to our bodies? Tea has some of the best antioxidants and flavinoids. Catechins which are very plentiful in green tea help in weight loss.
These antioxidants are also found in fruits and vegetables. So, if you aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, you can catch up somewhat by drinking tea.
Dr. Samadi specified the EGCG as among the best antioxidants and they are found in tea. They actually slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s, he said. EGCG is short for epigallocatechin-3-gallate.
I am a fan of tea, in general, but mostly drink green tea. I have posted on it several times: Dr. Oz on Chia seeds and green tea, Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day and every day, Green tea helps to fight flu.