Harvard Women's Health Watch

Tea: Drink to Your Health?

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Why daily tea time might be just the thing for your health.

Whether green, black, white, or oolong is your cup of tea, you might just improve your health by drinking it regularly. In December 2013, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured 11 studies highlighting the many ways in which tea can supposedly improve our well-being.

A few of the highlights:

  • People who drink tea appear to have a lower risk for heart disease and stroke.

  • Natural compounds called poly-phenols in green tea might protect against several cancers, including those of the prostate, GI tract, lungs, breast, and skin.

  • Caffeine and antioxidants called catechins found in green, oolong, and white teas may increase metabolism and promote weight loss.

  • Tea polyphenols are thought to strengthen bones and protect against fractures.

Is tea uniquely healthy?

No other food seems to have the exact same nutritional benefits. "Tea is uniquely plentiful in catechins, and especially epicatechins, which are believed to be the component responsible for many of its purported health effects," says Dr. Howard Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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