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Tea and Your Health

All tea, in general, is refreshing and contains no sodium, fat, carbonation or calories. More than that, it adds to your daily hydration requirement (half your body weight in ounces of water daily). In addition, tea contains flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant powers that may provide important health benefits. Typically, caffeine levels for tea are less than half of those for coffee, ranging from 20-90 mg per eight ounces compared to 50-120 mg in coffee.

Studies have shown a decreased incidence of heart attack in those drinking black tea, whereas green tea is associated with lowering total cholesterol, LDL (the lousy cholesterol), triglycerides and increasing HDL levels (the healthy cholesterol). Benefit are due to antioxidant effects in tea.

A study published in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that the main antioxidant in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), helps kill cancer cells through the destruction of the cells’ mitochondria.

According to research presented at the 2007 Scientific Symposium on Tea and Health, theanine, an amino acid that is for the most part uniquely found in tea (green and black), may help prevent age-related memory decline.

Besides black and green teas, herbal teas are wonderful to enjoy, although the studies on these teas have not been as robust. There is a study on Hibiscus tea that showed 3 cups daily lowered blood pressure in people with slightly elevated levels. Chamomile tea acts as an anti-spasmodic and can help those with irritable bowel and ginger tea benefits those with nausea (and much healthier than ginger ale).

Consider the quality, savoring every sip, and mindfully enjoying the taste, the smell, as well as sharing the company of those you are drinking it with. Chose a high quality, loose leaf, organic tea that is brewed at just the right temperature. Boiling water can damage the delicate leaves of green and white teas. Tea in front of the fire in winter or on the porch on a summer’s night conjures up all kinds of warm memories.

Emma Stafford is an Integrative Nurse Practitioner, RN, APN-C, ACHPN, APHN at Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine. Call 732.994.7855 for more information or to make an appointment.

This article appears in the June 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings Jersey Shore


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