Not many substances are as widely studied as tea. Now, the verdict is in. The bottom line: if you’re not drinking tea on a regular basis, it might be a habit worth starting.
That’s because when it comes to your health, tea packs a powerful punch. Combined studies examining literally hundreds of thousands of tea drinkers led a vast array of scientists to conclude that a consistent dose of tea is good for the body.
Most of the research was conducted in Asian countries, on people drinking hot, green tea. The amount mattered. Usually people only experienced health benefits if they drank at least three cups a day.
Dr. Patrick Fratellone is a cardiologist who practices integrative medicine New York City. He advises his patients to make tea a part of their daily life.
“The active component in green tea is EGCG,” he explained. “And that’s a polyphenol that helps reduce cholesterol, heart disease, and protects against cancer.”
Green Tea Guidelines
Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, as do black and white teas. Green tea contains the most EGCG. But with so many types of green tea on the market, it can be difficult to choose which is best.
Fratellone shares some guidelines.
“I like organic tea because you want to make sure it’s grown in an area free of metal in the soil, so you don’t want to have lead, cadmium, mercury, any bad, toxic elements,” he explained.
“If it’s in a bag, you don’t want a bag that has a staple on it, sometimes that can get in the tea,” he continued. “But I’d rather have loose. And sometimes I don’t even strain it. I leave it in there and eat the leaves.”
Research shows green tea lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes and liver disease. It also has been shown to improve memory, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression, as well as significantly lowering your chance of having a stroke.
“Tea is meant to be drunk plain and you get the more medicinal benefits,” Fratellone explained. “When you add milk or sugar you can deactivate some of the active medicinal components.”
“If there’s anything to add, I would add raw honey. It’s better to have hot or lukewarm,” he said. “When people have iced tea, green iced tea, you lose a lot of the benefits.”