Sipping a cup of tea evokes a calming feeling, doesn’t it? A favorite cup of tea may not only serve as a “refresh” button after a long day, but it also appears to give an extra oomph to our health.
Some popular types of tea include: green, black, oolong, white, chai and herbal. To expand on the green tea category, there also is a new favorite called matcha tea. Matcha is made from pulverized tea leaves, rather than simply whole or crushed tea leaves. Herbal teas, which do not hail from the Camellia Sinensis plant, are made from other parts of herbs, flowers and fruit plants not in the Camellia family and are inherently caffeine-free.
A typical cup of tea ranges from 10 to 80 milligrams of caffeine per cup, which is around half of the amount in brewed coffee. The caffeine naturally present in tea boosts alertness and mental clarity, could extend the duration of physical activity (it can decrease perception of effort), and may work synergistically with other compounds in tea. It has not been demonstrated that hydration needs are negatively impacted with caffeine intake up to 300 mg daily.
There are several suggested benefits of tea. Many of these effects are attributed to a compound called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which is an antioxidant polyphenol. A good amount of well- designed studies have shown that EGCG may help support cardiovascular health by supporting healthy cholesterol levels, blood vessel health and blood pressure health.* Evidence surrounding tea’s impact on cancer or weight loss is not conclusive. However, when tea is sipped alone without added sugar, it is a calorie-free beverage (which can help with weight management), that provides a desirable earthy, tannic, as well as spicy or fruity flavor.
New ways to enjoy
Tea isn’t limited to the classic hot beverage our ancestors have been consuming for centuries. Try it iced, blended into a smoothie, brewed with soy milk for use in muffins or cupcakes, ground into powder and incorporated into breads or baked goods or added to marinades or dressings.
How do you enjoy your tea? Share your favorite uses in the comments below.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.