Make Time for Tea Time

No matter the time of year, tea is a go-to beverage for many, and there are so countless benefits of mixing in a cup (or two) of tea every day. For starters, it can be served hot or cold—so it’s versatile and easy to drink at almost any time. There are endless varieties, so there’s something out there for everyone. On top of all that, tea can give you a boost of caffeine when you need it, or help you wind down before bed. 

But did you know that drinking tea can also improve your health? According to Harvard Medical School, the secret superstar behind tea’s many benefits are plant chemicals known as flavonoids.

“Tea is a good source of compounds known as catechins and epicatechins, which are thought to be responsible for tea’s beneficial health effects,” says Dr. Howard Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. These compounds belong to a group of plant chemicals called flavonoids. Research suggests that flavonoids help quell inflammation, and that in turn may reduce plaque buildup inside arteries. Green tea has slightly higher amounts of these chemicals than black tea. Both black and green teas also contain modest amounts of caffeine, ranging from about 20 to 45 milligrams per 8-ounce cup. That’s roughly half the amount of caffeine in the same amount of coffee.

Short-term studies have shown that drinking tea may improve vascular reactivity—a measure of how well your blood vessels respond to physical or emotional stress. There’s also evidence that drinking either black or green tea may lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels. Blood pressure may also dip slightly in people who drink tea, but results from these studies have been mixed. Several large, population-based studies show that people who regularly drink black or green tea may be less likely to have heart attacks and strokes. 

A healthy diet isn’t limited to just the foods we eat. What we drink can have just as much of a benefit on our long-term health. And drinking tea on a more regular basis is a great way to take care of your body with health-positive properties.