Studies Suggest Health Benefits of Tea

Green, black and oolong teas contain antioxidants called polyphenols. Research studies indicate that drinking tea may protect against cancer, heart disease and stroke. Tea drinkers in the studies consumed between 1 and 8 cups of tea a day.

Does it make a difference if a person chooses black versus green tea? Although most of the studies have looked at green tea, black tea has also been studied. Both contain polyphenols but with different chemical structures. It is felt that both types of tea have the same benefits.

Does decaffeinated tea have the same health benefits? Decaffeinated tea contains fewer polyphenols, so it might not have the same health benefits. Also, instant powdered tea loses polyphenols in processing, I recommend brewed tea.

Can I take a supplement with green tea extract instead of drinking tea? Research has been completed on tea, but not on tea extracts. There is no evidence that extracts or pills will have the same health benefits as drinking tea.

I like herbal tea. Can it be substituted for green or black tea? Most herbal teas are a blend of leaves, flowers and roots from plants, so they are not real tea; however, some herbal teas may have other health benefits.

Will drinking tea interfere with iron absorption? The flavonoids in tea partially reduce the absorption of non-heme iron (iron from plant sources). The negative effect on iron absorption can be partially counteracted by using lemon, which is rich in vitamin C, in your tea. There is no loss of iron absorption from heme iron (iron from animal sources).

Benefits of Tea: possible prevention of some cancers

possible reduction of heart attack and stroke;

half the amount of caffeine in coffee;

a good source of fluoride.

Bottom Line: Consider including 1-2 cups of tea as a healthy part of your daily diet.