This article is part of the Money Crashers Natural Medicine Cabinet Series, outlining 20 of the top natural home remedies and treatment.
It’s hard for me not to get excited about tea. Strange sentence, I know, but I drink tea constantly. Green tea, white tea, herbal tea…I have an entire cabinet in my kitchen devoted to tea and tea-making supplies.
And I’m not alone. Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, next to water. Billions of people around the world drink tea on a daily basis. And aside from its wonderful variety in taste, tea offers us countless health benefits that we’re only just now starting to understand.
Green Tea Health Benefits
In the book 1,801 Home Remedies: Trustworthy Treatments for Everyday Health Problems, Reader’s Digest considers tea to be a Top Household Healer. Because of its many benefits, tea is one of the items you should always have on hand, and drink regularly. It’s not all that expensive, and based on the research below, it can help save you money on medical bills due to a healthier lifestyle.
It wasn’t too long ago that scientists began to study why Japanese women live so much longer than pretty much everyone else on earth. And not only do they live longer, but they suffer through a fraction of the health defects and cancers that most others experience as they age.
Although there are several factors that influence their longevity (such as diet, lifestyle, and genetics), many scientists believe that their high consumption of green tea plays a major role in how long, and how healthy, they’re living.
The main reason is because tea, especially the less processed green tea, is full of polyphenols, which are among the most potent antioxidants ever discovered. Antioxidants are the chemicals that block free radicals (which age and destroy our skin, as well as our DNA) and other molecules that damage our cells and increase our risk of cancer. The more antioxidants we can introduce into our diet, the healthier we’re going to be.
Green Tea Studies & Research
There are many studies that suggest green tea may play a major role in keeping us healthy and cancer-free throughout our lives.
- One study of Japanese women with Stage I and Stage II breast cancer found that increasing their consumption of green tea before surgery resulted in fewer instances of cancer later on.
- Another study, done in China, found that the more green tea people drink the less likely they are to develop stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer.
- University of Maryland reports that in a clinical study of women suffering from ovarian cancer, those who drank at least one cup of green tea daily survived longer with the disease than those who didn’t drink the tea. Those who drank the most tea, in the study, lived the longest.
- University of Maryland also reports that consumption of green tea can help prevent the growth of skin cancer tumors.
- Other studies (again, reported by University of Maryland) have proven that drinking green tea can help lower total cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
- A joint study done by NASA and the Smithsonian found that one of the major ingredients in green tea inhibits urokinase, which is an enzyme crucial for cancer growth.
- Another study, published in the December 2008 issue of BioFactors Journal, shows that green tea reduces the risk of dying from both cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Reader’s Digest reports that women who drink tea frequently have lower rates of strokes than those who drink little, if any, tea.
- One Dutch study found that people who drank green tea daily lost more weight than those who didn’t. Researchers think this is because green tea may help with fat oxidation. A similar study in Japan proved the same thing: those who drank more green tea lost more weight.
I could keep going, but you get the picture. In fact, all you have to do is head over to Google Scholar and do a search for “green tea.” Millions of medical journals, studies, and research papers will come up attesting to the same thing: green tea has amazingly positive benefits on our bodies.
What’s the Best Tea?
There are three main types of tea: green, black and oolong. The difference in these teas lies in their processing.
By far, the best tea you can drink is green tea; it’s the least processed of the three, which means it retains most of its inherent benefits. Green tea also contains the highest concentrations of antioxidants.
But this doesn’t mean black and oolong don’t offer any benefits; they do. Black and oolong are simply fermented longer, so they have lower levels of heath protective compounds.
The wonderful thing about tea is that there is an incredible variety for us to enjoy. For instance, as I write this I’m drinking Good Earth’s Green Tea with Jasmine. The subtle flavor of green tea mixes with the wonderful floral fragrance of jasmine; it’s one of my favorite teas!
How Much to Drink
Reader’s Digest suggests that two to three cups of tea daily is enough to get most of the health benefits. However, you should try to drink the tea without milk because the proteins in milk may bind to tea’s polyphenols and block the beneficial effects. So add some lemon or honey, but leave the milk for your cereal.
I try to drink at least two cups of green tea every day. I truly believe that drinking tea helps me live a healthier life, and so far, the science seems to prove this is the case.
What about you? Do you drink tea, especially green tea, on a regular basis? If so, what’s your favorite kind? I’m always looking for a new brand or blend to try so please share in the comments below.
(photo credit: Shutterstock)