Drink Tea, Improve Health
Tea is good for your heart. As we discussed earlier this week, research suggests that 4 to 5 cups of coffee per day, particularly with added cream and sugar, may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease from 30-50%. By contrast, a recent study found that drinking 2 or more cups of tea per day reduced the risk of fatal heart attacks by 70%.
Tea is good for your bones, too. An epidemiological study, published May 13th in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2002;162:1001-6) by C-H Wu, et al, compared tea drinkers with those who don't drink tea. They found that those who drank tea for 10 or more years had the strongest bones. The habit of drinking tea regularly over a long period of time was a very strong predictor of bone mineral density, even after correcting for age, body weight, exercise, smoking, and other risk factors. Tea is a good source of fluoride, and also contains phytochemicals that may promote stronger bones.
Since tea is a natural source of fluoride, it it great for your teeth. The tannins in tea may suppress the growth of plaque bacteria. Stronger teeth and less plaque are the key to keeping your teeth into old age.
Many studies in animals have found that black and green teas contain phytochemicals that seem to help prevent a variety of cancers. More research is needed, but epidemiological studies do suggest that those phytochemicals are likely to prove beneficial.
Green Tea vs Black Tea
Many people have asked us if they should choose green or black tea. Honestly, they are about the same -- both contain about the same amount of flavonoids and caffeine. You'll likely be healthier if you replace any type of coffee with any type of tea. For people who are very sensitive to caffeine, decaffeinated tea may be a good choice. Keep in mind that most regular teas only contain 30-40 mg of caffeine per cup, far less than a cup of coffee, which has around 135 mg per 8-ounce cup.
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.