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Wouldn’t it be great to find a great tasting beverage that has the potential to improve your health? There is such a beverage – tea. Research has indicated that tea is healthier than water. This definitely a positive point since tea has more flavor. So, what are the potential health benefits?
Research has found that tea is healthier for your body than water. Surprising, since popular consensus states water is the healthiest beverage for your body. Findings have been reported that tea rehydrates the body as well as provides disease-fighting antioxidants. Tea may offer protection against stroke, heart disease, and several types of cancers.
Do you want more reasons to drink tea? Drinking tea has potential benefits such as boost the immune system as well as strengthen teeth and bones. Tea may also improve artery function by aiding in blocking LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol).
How about drinking green tea? Research has found that senior citizens in Japan who consumed one or more cups of green tea per day were less likely to present cognitive and memory problems. Green tea contains EGCG, which appears to reduce the production of a toxic protein that clogs the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.
All these healthy reasons make me want to get my infuser and brew a cup of tea. Health benefits and delicious taste make this an excellent beverage of choice. If only everything that tasted good proved to be healthy for us.
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A classic OLS/ETS blog entry originally published 01.23.2009
It’s probably a bit of an overstatement to say that yerba mate is taking North America by storm. But this popular herbal beverage has been making inroads in this part of the world in recent years and its popularity shows no sign of abating.
In some parts of South America, however, yerba mate is as ingrained in the culture – or perhaps even more so – than coffee drinking is in North America. Yerba mate, in its traditional form, is prepared in a gourd known as a mate and consumed through a metal straw called a bombilla that serves to filter the liquid from the steeped solids. Check out this brief overview of some of the possible health benefits to be derived from yerba mate.
As noted briefly in the article mentioned above, yerba mate may have a beneficial impact on cholesterol levels. In this respect, it’s not unlike one of its better-known liquid cousins – tea. For more on the possible links between tea and cholesterol, refer to this overview on the topic.
According to results that appeared in 2009 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a clinical study was carried out that supports the notion that yerba mate has the ability to reduce LDL cholesterol. Researchers found that drinking several cups of yerba mate a day helped to decrease the undesirable LDL cholesterol, while increasing the so-called “good” HDL cholesterol.
The single-blind control trial, which was carried out by Brazilian researchers, looked at a total of 102 individuals, each of whom ingested 330 milliliters, three times a day, of green or roasted yerba mate infusions. This was the equivalent of three to four cups of yerba mate, which research subjects consumed for a period of 40 days.
For more in-depth information on the results of this study, refer to this abstract and full-text version ($$).
There’s certainly no shortage of assorted and sundry wondrous claims for the potential health benefits of tea. Among these, the possibility that drinking tea might help lower your cholesterol level.
One study suggested that drinking black tea might result in lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, a “bad” cholesterol, in a test group. The study was conducted by the Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.
Researchers looked at the effects of black tea consumption on blood lipid concentrations in adults with mildly high cholesterol. Test subjects consumed five servings of black tea daily for a period of three weeks. The results in this short period of time were impressive. Blood lipids were lowered anywhere between six and ten percent, with no change to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.
Using tea extracts might not be as appealing as drinking a cup of tea, but the benefits obtained from these concentrated dosages are worthy of note. Another study, results of which were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, discovered that supplements containing green and black tea extracts helped subjects with moderately high cholesterol to reduce their LDL levels by up to sixteen percent.
The study looked at 240 men and women in China who maintained low-fat diets. For 12 weeks they were given tea extracts in capsules. Each capsule contained theaflavin and catechin in amounts equal to 35 cups of black tea or seven cups of green tea.
In a study conducted at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on hamsters with high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, various groups of hamsters were fed epicatechins from jasmine green tea, green tea and water. Groups given epicatechins and green tea showed the same result – lowered blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Hamsters who consumed the equivalent of 15 cups of tea a day saw triglyceride and cholesterol levels lowered by up to one third.
Additional research, noted in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, found that flavonoids in tea – and those in blueberries, grapes, oranges, and hibiscus flowers – helped lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
Learn more about tea on William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!
By William I. Lengeman III
In the last decade or so a great deal of ink has been spilled to let the general public know about the potential health benefits of tea. Some of these claims are rather lofty, some may even be deceptive, but there seems to be little doubt that tea does actually confer some benefits to those who consume it.
What we don’t hear as much about are the health benefits of tisanes and other beverages that are usually lumped into the category of herbal teas. Read on for more on this topic.
But first a word about “real” tea. Is it possible that you can drink too much of it? Serious tea drinkers would surely insist that there’s no way. A British newspaper examined this issue and concluded that tea, even in quantities of as much as eight cups a day, is not likely to be harmful, but the caffeine content might be of some concern to certain people.
Rooibos, otherwise known as redbush, is not technically a tea but is an herbal beverage that’s grown in one particular region of South Africa and nowhere else. Its increasing popularity in recent years may have spurred a study that discovered that it might confer some benefits on cardiovascular health. This was the first-ever human clinical trial conducted on rooibos.
Yerba mate is another herbal beverage that tends to be lumped in with tea. Over the past few years it has become increasingly popular outside South America, where it’s long been a staple beverage that rivals or exceeds coffee in popularity. The results of a study by University of Illinois researchers were published in 2007. They indicate that yerba mate might aid in increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Chamomile is another tisane that is much loved for its delicate flavor and the feeling of relaxation it’s thought to impart to drinkers. A study conducted by researchers in Japan and the United Kingdom found that chamomile helps prevent complications due to diabetes, including loss of vision, nerve damage, and kidney damage.
William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks, is a great place to learn more about tea!