health benefits of tea

Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

There are many general health benefits of tea. Traditional teas are derived from the same “true” tea leaves (camellia sinensis). One of the main health benefits of tea is attributed to polyphenols (catechins and epicatechins) – a substance found in tea (and coffee). Studies suggest that these substances have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to some Harvard studies, it has been observed that tea and/or coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease. So, let’s briefly look at how these two substances provide their health benefits.

Antioxidants are naturally produced in the body. Their role is to reduce cell damage caused by aging and external environmental factors. However, as we age, the body can use more help to get rid of these harmful free radicals produced in the body. This is because excess free radicals lead to inflammation and ultimately the diseases that occur in the body. Free radicals cause cell damage that leads to inflammation and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Therefore, since tea contains both (1) antioxidant and (2) anti-inflammatory properties, it is fighting against the naturally occurring disease and aging process in two ways. The antioxidants help to prevent inflammation while the anti-inflammatory properties of tea helps reduce inflammation that can lead to disease.

Excess sugars in the diet can lead to inflammation. Harvard Medical School reports that “any health benefits to tea consumption are probably completely offset by adding sugar.” Therefore, let us consider the overall health benefits of drinking low carb tea.

health benefits of tea

1. Improve Cardiovascular Health

Many research studies have consistently proven that there are significant cardiovascular health benefits of drinking 3 cups of tea per day. Many cardiovascular diseases are the result of inflammation that has lead to diseased narrow veins and/or arteries.

Inflammation in the veins and arteries can be likened to an irritant causing a callus to form on your hand or foot. The increasing size of the “callus” in your veins or arteries can slowly reduce the flow of blood. Unfortunately, unlike a callus on your hand or foot, the inflammation in the veins/arteries are cause by intrinsic factors that are often not discovered until a cardiovascular event. A person may discover that they have high blood pressure or experience a heart attack or stroke.

The “callus” in the veins or arteries are typically referred to as plaque. As the plaque builds up, it also causes the sticky bad cholesterol that is circulating in the blood to attach itself to the “callus”. With no intervention the entire vein or artery can be blocked which often results in a stroke or heart attack depending on the location of the blockage. Therefore, preventing or minimizing cardiovascular disease is one of the significant health benefits of drinking tea.

2. Stabilize Mood

Traditional teas will naturally have some relaxing properties (L-theanine) and energizing properties (caffeine). Therefore, they are known to calm and reduce stress all the while energizing the body and increasing endurance. Research shows that drinking 3 cups of tea per day lowers the risk of depression. Therefore, drinking low carb tea can be an excellent additions to any low carb diet or keto diet.

3. Weight Loss

Many teas claim to aid weight loss. However, this is not scientifically proven. The true weight loss properties come from a combination of (1) adding more water to your diet, (2) increasing your level of activity, and (3) reducing the number of carbohydrates that you may have consumed when drinking other high carb drinks.

Difference Between Teas

Let’s briefly look at the difference between the different kinds of teas. With the relatively new popularity of drinking tea, keeping the different kinds of tea straight can become confusing. So, I will clarify the difference between (1) herbal teas and (2) traditional teas (camellia sinensis).

1. Herbal Teas:

There are herbal teas that are derived from an infusion of fruits, roots, seeds, and different herbs. Popular herbal teas include: ginger, jasmine, rosehip, rooibos red tea, hibiscus, mint, lavender, chamomile, echinacea, ginseng, and gingko biloba.

  • Ginger – one of the most notable health benefits of ginger is the amazing relief it can provide to a troublesome digestive system.
  • Mint – is a mood enhancing and uplifting tea that can also aid digestion.
  • Lavender – is a calming tea, but also claims to have properties that aid digestion.
  • Chamomile – is a sedative. An anesthesiologist once stated that steeping and drinking multiple bags of chamomile tea is equivalent to taking a popular prescription sleeping aid.
  • Echinacea – claims to have properties that benefit the immune system.
  • Ginseng – provides energy, stamina, and mental clarity.
  • Gingko Biloba – also increases energy, mental capabilities, clarity, and focus.

Like traditional teas, herbal teas are steeped in hot water to provide their own unique low carb health benefits. While some herbal teas are extremely beneficial in their own unique ways, traditional teas have a higher concentration of antioxidants.

2. Traditional Teas

The difference in taste and quality of traditional teas have to do with the added flavors and how the leaves are processed. Traditional tea include four main varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. And they are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant – a shrub that is native to India and China. So, everything else is “technically” not a tea.

  • Green Tea – According to TIME, studies indicate that there are components in green tea that could help diabetics better process sugars. Green tea is an unprocessed or unfermented tea leaf. And therefore, seems to have the best overall health benefits of tea. WebMD reports that green tea has the highest concentration of a potent antioxidant called EGCG. This antioxidant is believed to interfere with the growth of various cancers, improve cholesterol levels, burn fat, and prevent clogged arteries thereby reducing your chance of stroke.
  • White Tea – Like green tea, white teas are minimally processed. Therefore, they have some of the highest antioxidant properties.
  • Oolong Tea – This  tea is similar to black tea. However, it is oxidized or fermented less than black tea. And as a result, it contains more of the health benefits of tea than black tea.
  • Black Tea – Black tea is a highly oxidized fermented tea that maintains its flavor really well. It is commonly used as the basis for popular Chai, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and Ceylon teas. Interestingly, black teas have the highest level of caffeine.
  • Pu-erh Tea – This tea undergoes gradual fermentation and matures with time. It is therefore a fermented dark tea. It is often rolled and dried into different shapes providing an exotic low carb tea drink experience. The best quality comes from the Yunnan Province.
health benefits of tea
Photo Credit: Xiaguan Te Ji Tuo Cha

Conclusion

Drinking low carb tea drinks can be a win-win when it comes to eating healthy, losing weight, and feeling good. You can learn more about the different types of tea. This concludes the health benefits of tea.

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