Improve your health with a cup of tea

By Alex Theriot
For Unwind magazine

A Chinese commodity turned British afternoon staple to American symbol of independence, tea, in all its forms, has continued to provide numerous health benefits throughout the ages.

Tea’s flavor and natural benefits are awakened after steeping in hot water, typically for anywhere between three to five minutes. The type of tea and its accompaniments, such as milk, honey or sugar, reap multiple benefits to those who drink it regularly.

There are many types of tea, but tea experts only consider green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea and a select few as “real” tea. These teas are derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub predominantly found in China and India, which contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids — in other words, the ingredients that give tea its many benefits.

This hot or cold beverage has been the subject of numerous studies that have found tea to reduce the risk of depression, cancer and other diseases, while aiding in weight loss.

The New York Times reported that an analysis of 11 studies in 2015 found that people who drank at least three cups of tea a day saw a 37 percent decrease in symptoms of depression.

“Tea is very relaxing,” junior psychology major Brittni Fine said. “I associate coffee with the constant hustle and bustle atmosphere of school and work. To me, tea is a chance to take a break and enjoy my surroundings.”

A 2008 study researched the link between tea and liver ailments and found that those who drank green tea often had a reduced risk of developing one type of liver cancer, liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to liver failure.

A cup of tea with a biscuit and jam. Photo by Amanda Eisenberg/For Unwind.

A cup of tea with a biscuit and jam. Photo by Amanda Eisenberg/For Unwind.

“Sometimes, I’ll [drink tea] in the morning before class because I never have an appetite when I wake up,” Fine said.

Although a 2012 study published by the Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Group found a small decrease in weight for overweight and obese patients due to the consumption of tea, researchers concluded that the weight loss was not significant, but switching out sugary beverages like soda, or even coffee, could have an effect on weight loss.

However, tea is not for everyone. Coffee remains a morning staple, but as some researchers at the Mayo Clinic found, tea contains 50 percent less caffeine than coffee, leaving out all the harsh side effects caffeine places on the body.

“I like the taste of coffee a lot more,” junior mathematics major Emily Camardo said. “Most teas are too bitter or watery for me. I also like the coffee culture more and I grew up in a family that drank coffee and not much tea.”

 

Tea continues to show promising signs of health benefits, so switch your sugary energy drink for a hot cup of green tea or next time you go to Starbucks ask for an Earl Grey latte. You will not be disappointed and neither will your body.

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