13 Reasons Tea Is Good for You

Tea or coffee? Consider these health benefits of tea and the next time you have to choose, you may skip the joe

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Put down those saucer cups and get chugging — tea is officially awesome for your health. But before loading up on Red Zinger, make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else (like herbal “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea.

But what real tea lacks in variety, it makes up for with some serious health benefits. Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Though most studies have focused on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table. Read on to find out why coffee’s little cousin rocks your health.

  1. Tea can boost exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
  2. Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
  3. The antioxidants in tea might help protect against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers. But don’t rely solely on tea to keep a healthy body — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. While more studies than not suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
  4. Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC” to its friends), which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals (which can damage DNA) in the body. While our bodies are designed to fight free radicals on their own, they’re not 100 percent effective — and since damage from these radical oxygen ninjas has been linked to cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration, we’ll take all the help we can get.
  5. Tea is hydrating to the body (even despite the caffeine!).
  6. Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered with other factors like smoking, physical activity, age and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
  7. Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays, and we all know what it’s like to feel the burn. The good news is that green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
  8. Tea could keep waist circumference in check. In one study, participants who regularly consumed hot tea had lower waist circumference and lower BMI than non-consuming participants. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke), although it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
  9. Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer (good news, obviously, but not a justification for cigs).
  10. Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
  11. Tea can help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped protect against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea can help skin bounce back postexposure.
  12. Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
  13. Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.

Though most research on tea is highly positive, it’s not all definitive — so keep these caveats in mind before stocking up on gallons of the stuff:

  1. Keep it cool. Repeatedly drinking hot beverages may boost the risk of esophageal cancer. Give tea several minutes to cool off before sipping.
  2. The studies seem convincing, but a rat does not a human make. Chemicals in tea may react differently in the lab than they do in the human body. Tannins (and the other good stuff in green tea) may not be bioavailable for humans, meaning tea might not always benefit human health to the same degree as in lab studies suggest.
  3. All tea drinks are not created equal. The body’s access to the good stuff in tea might be determined by the tea variety, canning and processing, and the way it was brewed.

The takeaway: at the very least, tea should be safe to consume — just not in excessive amounts. So brew up a batch of the good stuff — hot or cold — and enjoy.

Do you drink tea regularly? Have you noticed any health benefits? Let us know in the comments below!

Greatist is the fastest-growing fitness, health and happiness start-up. Check out more tips, expert opinion and fun times at Greatist.com.

56 comments
alysedes
alysedes

I have been all about my tea this winter!! I did not know about all the different kinds of benefits you get from all of the different teas! I'm going tea crazy! This is a another  good article about tea from AAA in the Bay area..

http://blog.aaasolutions.com/tea-health-benefits/

MarkDunn
MarkDunn

TeaCreature was created to bring delicious loose-leaf tea to the world.

Our plan is simple: We have a selection of over 50 different delicious loose-leaf teas and for £3 per week you choose 6 and we deliver them directly to your home or place of work. You are free to change your tea selection any time that you like and you can cancel whenever you want to - no commitments ever! http://www.teacreature.com

heathrchapin
heathrchapin

i've been drinking tea my whole life, but just recently started drinking it to almost an excessive amount. The only changes i've noticed were positive changes, (muscle endurance, less body aches, higher metabolism, I have more energy, my aura is a better colour, i feel happier, my muscle mass has increased, i'm able to pay attention more, and many others.) I took an acidic level test before I started drinking lot's of tea and my acid levels were very yellow around 5.0, now I took one again and my acid levels are very healthy and dark green. (I also regularly exercise) and my skin has become brighter, more vibrant. I heal faster and don't bruise as easily, my body fights off bacteria like a champ! I highly reccomend drinking tea, my favourite is peppermint licorice green tea from Davids tea (can also be found in the rocky mountain tea co.

lvrohde
lvrohde

I have been trying RAW erva (yerba) mate and found it to be the best infusion I ever drunk. The leaves of Ilex paraguariensis processed without being flash heated work the best for me. It took me months to find a steady supply of raw leaves of erva mate (www.chimaraw.com). Now I am set for life.

nothumanlol
nothumanlol

I've been drinking tea for over a week now and one surprising and amazing benefit that I've noticed is that it eliminates my bad breath and stinky saliva almost completely. This really makes me love drinking it more. 

AnitaHag
AnitaHag

I just started drinking this tea from Ceylon. Hill Country Tea (hillcountrytea dotcom). Amazing.  

rodlauver
rodlauver

There are many different benefits of tea. All kinds of tea contain these benefits in different amounts, black, green, and white, but the main benefits that will matter to people are scarcely heard of.

All teas contain antioxidants which are the vital chemicals that protect the body from the effects of pollution and the aging process, to a degree. What many people don't know is that these antioxidants, and other features of all kinds of tea, have been found to actually prevent cancer. In lab tests, cells which were exposed to cancer causing chemicals and conditions were able to remain benign with the use of particular properties of tea.

On top of this tea can help to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Research found that by simply switching to drinking tea the levels of bad cholesterol are lowered by ten per cent, which makes a big difference if someone is trying to lower their cholesterol levels. Source: http://www.primeblog.us/2013/09/glowing-lean-system.html

cinnamonvogue
cinnamonvogue

The best tea you can drink is Ceylon Cinnamon Black tea. Its gives you all the benefits of black tea and adds the wonderful benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon like evening out your blood sugar spikes that create fatigue.

Cinnamon improves memory,alertness and focus so you can perform better at work and play. Plus it has excellent levels of Manganese which promotes bone and cartilage development. If you are into extreme sports this is the drink to have. Better than any energy drink.

Ceylon Cinnamon Tea is also great for preventing or reducing cancer cells growth because it gets reduces the sugar rich environment in your body that cancer cells love and propagate under.

And last but not least it is a powerfulanti-bacterial that helps digestion and gets rid of any and all stomach ailments like IBS.

Of course make sure you buy real Ceylon Cinnamon Black Tea and not those with natural or artificial flavor which do not have these properties.

PhilipHawes
PhilipHawes

I wouldn't drink coffee,it doesn't taste rite in my book,I think its bad for ya

urteaweightloss
urteaweightloss

Green tea is great but there are so many other types of tea you can choose from 

I never get bored of the one type as there are so many. 

DanielMcBane
DanielMcBane

I also recently read an article that said drinking green helps reduce the risk of a stroke, especially in combination with coffee. Apparently combining 4 cups of green tea and one cup of coffee per day helps magnify the benefits of drinking each drink individually when it comes to reducing the risk of a stroke. Source: http://www.letsdrinktea.com/what-does-green-tea-do-to-prevent-strokes/

PhilipHawes
PhilipHawes

I drink tea every day I luv it,but I wouldn't drink coffee or alcohol,I feel fine but am very layed back person,when humans argue and fight i wouldn't bother,earth is full of nature humans are ruining everything until the end of humanity 


tjohn
tjohn

I like tea, but loose leaf tea is the best.  The trouble is trying to drink it at work.  So I usually stick to loose green tea at home and Celestial Seasoning  fruit teas at work.  I did find this tea infuser on kickstarter made by a company called Boco that looks pretty promising.  It allows you to make a single cup of tea at work.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/670524671/klip-ditch-that-saucer-and-sip-as-you-brew

Seems like they have a good idea being able to make it in a single cup.

John
John

I've drunk quite a variety of different teas, although lately I have stuck with just plain green tea.

When Star Trek - The Next Generation was running, the captain was always drinking "Earl Grey" tea.

I had never heard of that variety and decided to try it some time.

Fortunately, I did not buy a whole box of it and got a variety pack with 2 or 3 bags of several types.

Earl Grey is vile!  I don't think I could ever develop a taste for it.




Twi Mo
Twi Mo

I feel civilized when I drink tea.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

LOVE tea.

HATE that stuff they call "herbal" tea.

BTW, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Much better for you than sweetened cola beverages.

Kosal Chhim
Kosal Chhim

I drink green tea with ginger 2 liters per day.  I feel really good and I never get sick, so the green tea is really good for the health 

teaherb
teaherb

wow,yes,tea is really good for us.

MsTeaForLife
MsTeaForLife

I have graduated from using tea bags. I am now an avid drinker of boiled tea using shaved barks from the guyabano (soursop) tree and bignay, another local tree here in the Philippines. I buy my supply from stalls selling health and wellness products. They are soothing and relaxing; no caffeine at all. I used to boil real jasmine leaves that I bought in a grocery but they're always out of stock. The scent of newly boiled jasmine tea leaves alone will give you a different high. I find myself more resilient against cough and cold despite having to stay up late nights. I used to feel pain in my joints but I rarely have them anymore. My bowel movement has never been better. I also feel and look younger than my real age. I am constantly in search of tea leaves to boil because they're less expensive than tea bags. When I'm in Starbucks, I only order hot choco or green tea. No coffee. 

Javier Ramos
Javier Ramos

This article hits many great points about the benefits of the tea. I drink 2 cups of tea a day and I have lost10 pounds in a few weeks. Great article and comments! This is the tea I drink 

http://total-life-changes.com/...

prometheusfire
prometheusfire

I've never been one to worry about the health impacts of tea. I'm more concerned with sitting down and having a good cuppa! Sharing it with friends or family is even better. But then, I'm also inclined to think that tea is more about the things you do with it than how much it is good for you. 

Drinking tea for the health benefits is like having sex for the exercise!

Abdirahman
Abdirahman

I have never drunk tea in my life but I will start to quit smoking.

Chris Bemis
Chris Bemis

I use a green tea matcha facial recipe for my skin. The green tea mops up free radicals on the skin and repairs UV damage. I also find it helps even my skin tone. The following recipe uses honey, as straight up matcha can dry out the skin:

http://www.thewhistlingkettle....

Kimberly Everett
Kimberly Everett

I drink between two and three times per day. I suppresses my urge to eat when I'm not hungry as well as aids in digestion. I have issues with gas so it also helps to dispel that. 

Hydration and  relaxation strange properties (to me) are also perks to drinking tea consistently.

Ragnhild Brosvik
Ragnhild Brosvik

Tea is not "lacking in variety" - even if you stay within the range of unflavored tea, there is much to explore. Also keep in mind that your tastes may change over time. For years I found Darjeeling overrated, preferring mainly greens and oolongs (and favoring Chinese green tea over Japanese green tea). While I still consider some oolong teas to be the finest there are, I now have a great appreciation for Yunnan and Keemun (both Chinese black teas), and even found some Darjeeling that was absolutely delicious.

The climate and soil, elevation, amount of sunlight, part and age of the plant harvested, and the way the leaves are dried all affect the flavor. Not to mention the leaf to water ratio, temperature of water and steeping time.

The price range of tea varies from cheap to "oh my stars, am I really buying tea or are these drugs?" - in my experience, the increase in quality isn't really worth the increase in price. I treat myself to some of the pricier teas once in a while, but for everyday use, cheap and mid-range are fine.

The absolutely cheapest teas you can find are often trash, though. Lipton Yellow Label teabags are terrible.

MYusuf Advani
MYusuf Advani

I drink black tea not less 5-6 cups every day.My body is so addicted to tea that eventually,when I woke up at 2 or 3 a.m I use to prepare tea on my own, and I get vey 

sound sleep then.Tea has brought all benefits to my body metabolism.I feel healthy on the day I drank more than usually.

M.Yusuf Advani

Luiz Roberto Meier
Luiz Roberto Meier

After some time drinking tea (which has a bitter taste in general) you can feel an improvement in the mind / body and the bitter taste is no longer noticed. In many Eastern cultures, especially the Japanese, drinking tea is sacred, thanks to Zen teachings.

Thanks for the article.

Deborah McCarter
Deborah McCarter

Quality green and black teas have large quantities of the amino acid theanine.  Studies have shown that theanine boost the brain's level of alpha waves, leading to less anxiety and a relaxed feeling.  Alpha waves are also associated with improved mental sharpness and creativity.  Because I was feeling like I was walking around in a mental fog I started drinking green tea and the fog has noticeably lifted.  Also, I've learned to love the process of brewing tea.

Debra Sunshine
Debra Sunshine

I simply love tea! I actually collect teas, looseleaf and bagged tea!! I collect tea pots too!! I enjoyed your article and reading about the health benefits of tea!! You may enjoy my blog post "The Tea Spot's Steep amp; Chill And My Top Loose-Leaf Tea Picks" under "Articles" and "Product Recommendations" at http://veganamericanprincess.c... 

Noneya Bizness
Noneya Bizness

My wife and i drink tea as much as we can. It's a GREAT replacement for soda. Since Soda has HFCS that the body doesn't process well it makes you fat. So, if you switch to drinking tea more often than soda you will lose weight. Also, it relaxes your body dramatically. Chamomile is great for relaxing. I drink all types of tea as a just in case.

Alot of people may not know this but black (brown) tea has sedative and cleansing properties and if you put a black  (brown) tea on the canker sores in your mouth or on the sty in your eye it will go away very quickly. I've had canker sores maybe 3-4 times in the last 4 years and putting a black (brown) tea bag like Lipton in my mouth, as nasty as it tastes to do so, actually cures it in 1 or 2 days

From what I know, tea definitely helps your blood circulation.

FLSteve
FLSteve

I drink 3 quarts of cold green tea daily.  I also take a green tea herbal supplement.  Along with other changes in the foods I consume it has helped me to lose 50+ pounds since March of this year.  I was drinking almost a gallon of plain water everyday anyway (it is hot in FLA), and after reading about the benefits of green tea, I replaced the plain water with iced green tea.  The additional caffiene(sp?) also helps to increase activity.  I would highly recommend it.

Jim Danna
Jim Danna

I disagree with the suggestion of always "drinking cold liquids"...

Ice cold drinks can slow down the digestive process, think of it as putting ice on a muscle. The muscle stiffens and does not function as well. Warm or room temperature water, juice, or decaf tea will encourage proper digestion. (Just remember the "food traffic jam" – drink liquids prior to meals).

There are great eating tips here >>> http://www.puristat.com/bloati...

Kathleen Summers MD
Kathleen Summers MD

I drink a few cups of green tea almost every day. It's great for cleansing, is an appetite suppressant, and it helps to kick in fat burning - among many other benefits!

Sosaa
Sosaa

@tjohn if you use amazon, look up the Tevana perfect tea brewer. I guarantee you can make loose leaf or blooming tea with no issues at work! I love it!

Robert Mccall
Robert Mccall

I drink tea all day long. It helped me quit smoking and drinking. It is amazing how powerful the change has been. My moods, energy levels, cravings for sugar etc have been diminished to almost none. I highly recommend it. I simply use 1-2 tea bags in and old 32oz "Big Gulp" size plastic drink container that I used to use when I drank soda and just continue to fill it with ice and water all day. I probably drink a half gallon to a 3/4 gallon a day. The change has been amazing and it cannot be overstated. If you want to quit smoking simply and very powerfully for yourself you should drink tea all day. BTW my mid section has been reduced significantly. 

Gabe
Gabe

I wonder if you're taking in too much tannin. Also, that much of the good stuff can really mess up your iron absorption. I think a balanced approach might be better: enjoy your cup of green tea and then drink water...

Tish Gordon
Tish Gordon

How do you make your green tea FLSteve?? Do you use sugar and still lose weight?

Sean Butterfield
Sean Butterfield

What do you mean by "cleansing?"  Should I try using tea as a shampoo or soap?

FLSteve
FLSteve

Hi Tish, at first I used Splenda to sweeten the tea, but for months now I have been drinking it plain. I got tired of opening all of those little packets and don't really care for artificial sweeteners.

I have heard of a natural sweetener with no calories-stevia- but I have not tried it. Google it for more info.

JessicaShaffer
JessicaShaffer

@FLSteve use honey to sweeten. It has an amazing flavor, and if it is local, it will help you become immune to local allergens.

Alessia Zibecchi
Alessia Zibecchi

most of the artificial sweeteners are said to be dangerous and increase the possibility of cancer. Stevia is a natural one, so it doesn't have this problem, and many people told me it's the best if you don't want to use sugar. :)

Try it