Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is Tea Really Healthy?

tidbits that tantalize Exactly How Healthy is Tea?

What's your favorite? Are you a green tea fan, relishing its cleansing and energizing properties? Or, do you prefer the earthy richness of a powerful Pu-erh or other black tea? Either way, why do you drink it? Is it for the simple pleasure and taste? Or, do you drink tea for its health benefits? Health benefits? Hmm...

Several studies have indicated tea has many health benefits. But, in the April Mayo Clinic Health Letter, tea's health claims have been questioned. At issue is the form of the previous studies. Most of the studies have been population, or epidemiological, studies rather than clinical trials. These are studies that study groups and health conditions, but gather information after the fact and present only an indirect cause and effect association. Because of this, some clinicians give less weight to the health benefits of tea, saying that true clinical trials are needed.

The Mayo Health Letter considered several health claims previously associated with drinking tea:

-Cardiovascular Health: Mayo concludes it's uncertain whether tea reduces cholesterol levels or blood pressure. Green teas may reduce the risk of heart attack, but it's unclear whether black tea also does so.

-Cancer: The jury is still out on black tea's ability to fight cancer. White tea, though, does show some potential for fighting colon cancer.

-Bone and Joint Health: Chalk one up for green tea - it may in fact reduce inflammation and slow cartilage breakdown.

-Memory: Green tea's on a roll. Studies show green tea drinkers may have better memories than non-drinkers.

So, are you still a tea drinker? Good for you! Enjoy...

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To read more about the health benefits of tea, from a British perspective, see this from the United Kingdom Tea Council.


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