Health Benefits of Tea
Tea is an often over-looked superfood that has the ability to support the detox process, microbiome balance and burn belly fat all while providing an abundance of antioxidants to fight disease. To be clear we’re talking about tea in its real, whole food form not “detox tea” or “skinny tea” products that come with a promise of losing 10 pounds in 10 days! Read on below to learn about some of the remarkable benefits of tea and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine!
The Surprising Benefits of Tea:
Extremely Rich in Antioxidants
Tea is one of the richest sources of polyphenols or plant-based antioxidants that can aid in the prevention of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and beyond. Green tea, in particular, is about 30% polyphenols by weight and includes large amounts of EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) that aids in the protection of healthy cells from damage from free radicals.
Supports Balanced Gut Flora
Scientific evidence shows that polyphenols help to increase populations of beneficial gut bacteria while reducing pathogenic overgrowth! Lacto and bifido bacteria (your two rockstar strains of the gut!) are both positively affected by these polyphenols which have prebiotic properties. Tea also has antiviral capabilities and can inhibit the influenza virus, certain strains of strep and even serious gut infections like C diff.!
Supports Cognitive Function and Balanced Mood
Just sitting down to sip a cup of tea can be incredibly calming and restorative for the nervous system, but tea is also a rich source of the amino acid l-theanine which aids in increasing the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. It also increases dopamine for a guilt-free feel-good hit and aids in the production of alpha brain waves seen in REM cycle sleep and deep meditation. The delivery of l-theanine also helps to take out the caffeine “jitters” that some experience and the two are seen to have a synergistic effect on improving cognition and brain function. We talk tons more about l-theanine and tea in this post all about matcha, which is a ground whole leaf green tea
Increases Fat Burn
The Catechins found in tea can aid in the suppression of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, reducing cravings and the urge to snack mindlessly! Caffeine increases thermogenesis, revving up your metabolic rate for higher caloric burn. Green tea is especially effective in increasing fat burn, particularly that dangerous visceral fat, and is often found in many diet supplements for this reason.
Unfortunately, not just any run of the mill tea will do! Tea leaves themselves should ALWAYS be organic as teas are a product of the whole leaf and therefore if sprayed with pesticides will retain a ton of pesticide residue. Many teas also have high levels of heavy metals such as lead and aluminum depending on where they are grown and the age of the tea plants harvested.
What’s more is that teabags themselves can be made from plastic, GMO corn byproducts or bleached paper. When you put that teabag into a cup of piping hot water, all of those compounds are leached out and end up in your tea! Some paper tea bags are treated with epocholorohydrin, a chemical known to cause both cancer and infertility.
How to Choose a Tea
When possible, choose organic loose leaf tea and use a tea infuser made from stainless steel and glass like this one! Whenever possible, avoid tea produced in China as this tends to have higher amounts of heavy metals. Check ingredients to make sure to flavors, non-caloric sweeteners or unknown ingredients have been added to your tea–this should be a single ingredient food item and contain just tea leaves!
Numi tea, Mountain Rose Herbs and Buddha Tea are three brands that are organic, fair trade and pesticide free which you can find on our Amazon Store!
If looking to shake things up, Pique Tea is an awesome and convenient option that takes tea drinking to the next level! Pique comes in individual packets of tea crystals and is made via a cold brew crystallization process that extracts up to 2-3 times the catechins compared to standard brewing in hot water. It is triple screened for toxicity so you can rest assured you are not consuming heavy metals, pesticides or mold.
What I love about Pique is that you can add the crystals to hot or cold water, zero bags, and zero brewing for a perfect cup every time! This is a fantastic way to work more tea into your diet, both for reaping its health benefits outlined above and to up hydration status! And the best part, Pique has moved away from the use of non-caloric sweeteners in their products making this a keto friendly choice and a great tool for intermittent fasting!
Favorite Tea Recipes
Not sure what an ingredient is or which brand to choose? Check out the Ali Miller RD Amazon Store for pantry staples, favorite snacks and more!