DRINK TO HEALTH
Science says to sip (much) more tea
The world has been drinking tea for centuries, but scientific knowledge has only recently caught up with the ancient wisdom of brewing the beverage. The Washington Post just published an article on the newly proven health benefits of tea and the ways Americans are shifting their habits accordingly. It turns out tea consumption is swiftly increasing in the United States, with home consumption rising over 10% a year for the last decade and 160 million Americans pausing for a cup of tea every day. What's the reason behind the trend?
Prevent cardiovascular disease
An epidemiological study from Taiwan concluded that those who drank 4 to 20 ounces of tea a day were 46 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure, and an American study on chronic disease showed that people drinking 12 or more ounces a day had about half the risk of heart attack as people who drank no tea.
A 2004 study with lab mice discovered that several compounds in green tea helped prevent weight gain and fat accumulation. A John Hopkins School of Medicine professor also noted tea's apparent ability to help manage glucose and insulin levels, which aids digestion.
The research is a bit less clear on cancer, though there have been some promising results in recent years. One study mentioned in the Post article reported that drinking 10 cups of green tea a day helps prevent multiple cancers, and a review from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition tied green tea to a lower risk of ovarian, prostate and breast cancers.
How much tea is enough to see the benefits? “The more tea you drink, the better. It's astounding, really,” said Thomas G. Sherman, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center who was interviewed by the Post. In many of the studies, the people who drank the most tea (sometimes upwards of 5 cups a day) tended to see the most benefits.
Tea masters prescribe anywhere from two to five cups a day. Scientists have found that adding milk to your tea can reduce some of the benefits. The drink is generally just as healthy iced, but only if it's brewed hot and then cooled rather than made with powder.