First brewed over 4700 years ago, tea has true staying power. Enjoyed by millions for thousands of years this ancient beverage remains as popular today as ever, and for good reason.
Tea typically contains 20 percent to 50 percent of the caffeine of a cup of coffee, but a compound in the drink called theanine allows it to promote mental focus and clarity without leaving you feeling jittery and over-caffeinated.
This alone makes tea a good choice for a go-to beverage, but there are other great… healthy… reasons to add tea to your own daily routine.
Tea was first used medicinally over 3,500 years ago.
Many believe it may help decrease your overall risk of cancer. There are some positive signs, but the jury is still out on its cancer-fighting benefits and more research needs to be done.
But tea has another proven benefit that’s often overlooked. It turns out tea is a heart health hero.
Tea is a heart health hero
This ancient beverage helps your arteries do their job of carrying oxygen-rich blood from your heart and circulating it throughout your body to all of your tissues and organs. In fact, drinking just 3 to 4 cups of tea a day can boost your arterial health and greatly improve both your blood pressure and overall blood flow.
In other words, tea can literally lower your risk for heart attacks and stroke!
Not bad for a simple beverage you can fix in your own kitchen (more on that later.) But tea’s health benefits don’t end there. Tea is also packed full of free-radical fighting antioxidants including a powerful polyphenol called Epigallocatechin gallate or EGcG.
Antioxidants make tea a healthy beverage choice
In fact it’s tea’s high antioxidant levels that give it a number of other exciting health benefits…
- The ability to biochemically slow some aspects of aging
- Helps to maintain calorie burning
- Prevents rebound weight gain
- Promotes bone health
- Reduces gum inflammation
- Reduces your risk of a major blood clot
- Decreases arterial plaque growth
And these are just a few of tea’s proven benefits. So why not swap out your daily coffee or soda for healthy organic tea instead? Just skip the tea bags you typically find in the U.S. Tea bags tend to have the lowest quality leaves that offer the least flavor and the least health benefits.
Instead choose a high quality dried loose tea in a sealed air-tight container. Sri Lankan teas are known for their delicious refined flavor, but some people prefer the bolder flavors you get from lower altitude teas.
Both green and black teas deliver health benefits. Green teas usually have a higher amount of EGcG and black teas tend to have a bit more antioxidant activity. In the end it’s entirely a matter of personal taste.
If you’re new to brewing your own tea don’t be intimidated, it couldn’t be any easier. There are just four basic steps…
- boil one cup of pure water
- add around one teaspoon of loose tea leaves
- allow the tea to steep for around three minutes
- remove the tea leaves and enjoy
You can adjust the brewing time to make the tea stronger or lighter depending on your taste preferences. And there a variety of tea infusers, leaf screens and spoons you can use to easily add and remove the leaves from your cup.
Avoid using inflammation-promoting sugar and sweeteners to your tea, but feel free to flavor it with milk or lemon.
Dr. Masley has received the award of Fellow from three prestigious organizations: the American Heart Association, the American College of Nutrition, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida, and he teaches programs at Eckerd College and the University of Tampa. In 2010, he received the physician Health Care Hero award by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, plus he has received several awards for his lifestyle related research. Dr. Masley sees patients from across North America at the Masley Optimal Health Center in St Petersburg, FL.
Dr. Masley has published several health books, including Smart Fat, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, and Ten Years Younger, and numerous scientific articles. His work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, the Today Show, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), plus over 250 media interviews. He also completed a chef internship at the Four Seasons Restaurant in Seattle, WA, and he has performed cooking demonstrations at Canyon Ranch, the Pritikin Longevity Center, and for multiple television appearances.
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