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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Water or Tea, Which is Healthier?

Almost everyone seems to think water is the healthiest choice for a beverage.  Yet, is it?  WebMD (Types of Tea and Their Health Benefits and Health Benefits of Green Tea)  has had a few articles on the benefits of tea drinking.  It seems drinking tea is great for our health.  Various studies have shown that tea can help prevent cancer, prevent diabetes, prevent heart disease by lowering our cholesterol, and help us be more alert.  Is there a downside to drinking tea?  The only downside would the drinking sweet tea loaded with sugar.  But the tea itself is a very healthy choice for a beverage.
What tea has these benefits?
Green, black and white tea all provide health benefits.  

What is in the tea that provides us so many health benefits? 
Flavenoids - - are a unique antioxidant.  These help prevent the build up of “free radicals” which can lead to cancer or heart disease by clogging our arteries.  Substances, like antioxidants, that prevent the build up of these free radicals are a good thing.
Caffeine, theanine – tea has less caffeine than coffee but it is a source of caffeine.  It is the caffeine and theanine in tea that can help us be mentally alert.  So one doesn’t have to drink coffee for mental alertness, a cup of tea has the same benefit.

Are there different health benefits of different types of tea?  Yes.
Green tea – Green tea is one of the less processed teas, so its antioxidants are more concentrated.   Drinking green tea is associated with preventing a number of cancers including:  bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer.  It helps prevent heart disease by preventing clogging of our arteries.  Some studies have shown it is a “fat burner” helping us burn up the fat in our bodies.  Green tea has been shown to reduce our risk of disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.  How much do you need to drink?  Drinking 2 cups a day is enough to inhibit the growth of cancer.  But the more one drinks, reducing further the risk of stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.  One study showed that drinking at least 4 cups a day reduced coronary heart disease.  It seems green tea helps our blood vessels by making them less likely to become clogged.  Weight loss – in a Dutch study those that drank green tea lost more weight.  Researchers think green tea promotes the oxidation of fat.  It lowers heart disease risk by lowering LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. 
Black Tea – not a green tea lover, then drink black tea.  It has the highest caffeine content.  Black tea helps prevent lung cancer and stroke. 
White tea – of all the teas, this one has the most anticancer properties of all the teas as it undergoes less processing.  

What about herbal teas?  Do they have health benefits?  Yes.

  • Chamomile tea – it also provides antioxidants and these help prevent some of the complications of diabetes such as the loss of vision, kidney and nerve damage, and helps prevent cancer by stunting the growth of cancer cells.
  • Hibiscus – drink 3 cups of this tea a day and lower your blood pressure.
So have a cup of tea.   Having a few cups of tea a day is good for your health.


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