Sunday, January 29, 2017

Drink Tea for Good Health

Who doesn’t enjoy a cup of hot tea, especially in winter?  Does tea have any health benefits?  Do different kinds of tea have different health benefits?  Yes.  An interesting article, in Environmental Nutrition discussed teas for various health reasons such as weight, insomnia and improving your immunity.
Many people make health claims for herbal teas, but what health claims are true and reliable?  

Weight – are there herbal teas that promote weight loss? 
  • Green, white and oolong teas:  These 3 teas have chemicals in them called catechins.  In the lab at least, these chemicals do affect fat metabolism.  Green tea is especially rich in catechins. 
  • Roobios tea:  This is a different tea, a red tea with a different chemical.  This one has the chemical, aspalathin.   One study showed it helped improve fat metabolism.
  • Peppermint tea:  a real treat on a cold winter day.  The smell of peppermint in this tea seems to help suppress one’s appetite. 

Insomnia and Anxiety
  • Chamomile tea: have trouble sleeping?  Then a cup of chamomile tea may be helpful.  One study indicated it helped those with anxiety – so if you feel stressed, enjoy a cup of chamomile tea.
  • Kava tea:  studies have shown it may help relieve anxiety – but CAUTION.  Stay clear of kava supplements which have been linked to liver damage.
  • Valerian tea:  Some studies have found a cup of valerian tea can help you sleep better.

Immunity – are there teas that can help boost your immunity?
  • Echinacea tea:  Studies have provided mixed results on the link between this tea and immunity.  Some studies have shown it may help prevent the common cold.
  • Ginseng tea:  Some studies have found this tea helpful in preventing colds and the flu or at least help improve symptoms. 

CAUTION – drinking herbal teas may indeed have some health benefits but more research is needed.  But stay clear of buying the herbal and dietary supplements that contain green tea extract.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) acknowledges the benefits of drinking green tea and notes, “Green tea has long been believed to have health restoring properties and its ingredients have antioxidant activity. “   But NIH also notes that dietary supplements, like Hydoxycut, which contains high concentrations of green tea extract, has been linked to liver injury. 

Enjoy a brewed cup of herbal tea.  Just stay clear of herbal and dietary supplements containing extracts, like the green tea extract which can be found in some weight loss pills.

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