Black tea comes from the leaves of the tree (or shrub) Camellia sinensis. It’s teeming with antioxidant polyphenols, compounds that help you fight off illness and stay healthy. Black tea’s polyphenols have even been shown to help brain injury and hearing loss – and it also looks promising for treating Parkinson’s disease.
In 2001, researchers at Boston University found that black tea reverses the coronary disease known as endothelial vasomotor dysfunction. This condition is a precursor to more serious cardiovascular problems. By preventing the onset and worsening of endothelial vasomotor dysfunction, your chances of developing more severe problems is reduced. That means that you can help keep your heart healthy just by drinking black tea! This claim is supported by a 2006 online edition of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The edition featured a meta-analysis conducted from 1990 to 2004, and concluded that “a daily cup of black tea can reduce the risk of heart disease.” READ MORE
Black tea hasn’t only been shown to have great effects on humans! In an animal study conducted in New Zealand, thirteen rabbits were all fed a hypercholesterolemic diet. The rabbits were then separated into two groups after 2 weeks. One group had green tea added to their diet whereas the other group received only water. After 17 weeks, researchers found about 30% less atherosclerotic plaque buildup in the group that consumed green tea as opposed to water. Another animal study, this time with hamsters, found that both green and black tea were equally effective at inhibiting atherosclerosis by as much as 26% to 63%, depending upon the amount consumed.
Black tea is not the only beneficial beverage available. Researchers have found that individuals who drink green tea have better blood vessel function just 30 minutes after their initial consumption. These are the types of improvements that reduce one’s risk of atherosclerosis. It is believed that at least some of the benefits of green tea have to due to the catechins it contains, particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin-3gallate (EGCG).
Green tea has also been found to reduce cholesterol. A meta-analysis conducted in the November 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that “consumption of green tea catechins is associated with a statistically significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels.”
Another tea to keep in mind when thinking about healthy and beneficial beverages is hibiscus tea. An herbal tea created from the Roselle flower, hibiscus tea is a delicious, slightly tart drink full of vitamin C and minerals. While some people like to add sugar to sweeten the taste, it is recommended to avoid doing so as much as possible in order to absorb its health benefits without also overdosing on sugar.
A 2010 study showed that drinking hibiscus tea over the course of six weeks lowered blood pressure in pre and mildly hypertensive adults – but that’s definitely not the only reason you should drink it! Hibiscus tea has also been shown to have the highest antioxidant levels of all teas. Another study showed that, among people with type 2 diabetes, hibiscus tea lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. Hibiscus tea is rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and is known to have antibacterial properties.
As you can see, tea is a fantastic beverage to consider drinking regularly! Not only does it taste quite delicious, but it’s also loaded with great stuff that really benefits your health – and that’s true regardless of which kind you’re drinking! Whether you’re a green tea aficionado or prefer the more pungent taste of black tea, you can rest assured that your choice will actively help keep your body in good shape. I can’t think of a better reason to make something a regular part of my life! Tea is truly the super drink that works overtime to keep you healthy and happy.