10 Reasons to Drink Tea

by Meg Favreau on 21 February 2011 7 comments
Photo: menhak

I start most mornings with a cup of coffee, but at heart, I am a tea-drinking gal. Green, black, herbal — I love it all, and I usually drink a couple mugs of the stuff a day. (See also: Is Green Tea All It's Cracked Up to Be? It's Close.)

I mostly like tea just because it's delicious, but here are a bunch of other great reasons to consume it:

1. To Wake Up

Depending on the kind of tea you drink, an 8 oz. cup of tea can have up to 120 mg of caffeine. Black tea has the most caffeine, followed by green.

2. To Calm Down

Not only can chamomile tea help you fall asleep, but researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that it can also help relieve anxiety.

3. To Soothe Your Stomach

Teas made from peppermint and ginger are both known for their stomach-calming properties. And there's no need to pay for tea bags here — dried peppermint (picked from your garden, if you have it, and hung to dry inside) or fresh chopped ginger placed in a tea ball or reusable tea bag work just as well. (Just be careful if you're prone to acid reflux; mint can actually aggravate the condition.)

4. To Lower Your Blood Sugar

As Andrea reports in her piece about inexpensive ways to lower blood sugar, green, black, and white tea can all help bring blood sugar down. She also notes that cinnamon can as well, which is often used along with black tea as an ingredient in chai.

5. To Help Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

Studies have show that green tea — widely held as the reigning champion of teas when it comes to health benefits — might help prevent both cancer and heart disease thanks to the tea's awesome antioxidants, which are called catechins.

6. To Get Warm (or Cool Down)

Drinking a big mug of tea — or any other hot drink, really — will raise your body temperature. Put it on ice, and it makes a great summertime thirst quencher.

7. To Keep a Bright Smile

Researchers have found that drinking green tea can reduce your risk of periodontal disease. Yes, it's true that tea can also stain your teeth, but if you stick to lighter teas like green, that's less likely to happen.

8. To Get Flavor Without Calories

From tropical fruits to wintry spices, from delicate jasmine to the classic black, green, white, and oolong, tea comes in a variety of flavors and has pretty much no calories to speak of. (Well, until you start adding milk and sugar. I'm not going to tell you that your Starbucks chai latte is calorie-free, buddy — and don't get me started on those big ol' cans of Arizona.)

9. To Wean Yourself Off of Coffee

If you want to kick the coffee habit but aren't looking forward to the ensuing withdrawal headaches and cranky, yawning mornings, switch your mug of java for a mug of tea (green, ideally, since it has less caffeine than black) for a while to step yourself down slowly.

10. To Socialize

Whether you plan a fancy afternoon tea party (with potluck finger foods, perhaps?) or just meet a friend for a cup of the steeped stuff at a coffee shop (nobody calls them tea shops, do they?), drinking tea is a great way to catch up with friends.

Why do you drink tea? Do you know of any awesome benefits I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Guest's picture

While I've been a tea drinking gal for years, in recent months I've become hooked on Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea (regular and decaf), because not only does it have a strong, spicy taste, you don't need to add sweetener! It advertises that it's naturally sweet, which I didn't believe until I ponied up and bought some. Now, I make sure to keep some at home (will be ordering more this week for me and a relative who had a recent birthday). It's sweet enough that I sometimes add milk to make a quick, healthy, chai. Harney & Sons' service is quite good, as they send the shipment via FedEx, and it gets to your house in a couple of days (for shipping of only about $5.50).

On the herbal side, at any local supermarket you can probably find Celestial Seasonings' Bengal Spice blend, which is also tasty and aromatic, even if you don't add sweetener.

Meg Favreau's picture

I'll have to check out that Harney & Sons' tea. My favorite spicy tea recently has been Stash's Green Tea Chai. I love the not-quite-typical taste of chai spices paired with green tea.

Andrea Karim's picture

The most important: To seduce a person who lives in the UK or a former British colony.

Guest's picture
Benjamin

A good cup of tea is most definitely a winner over here. The only thing about Brits and our tea drinking is that most don't sample the wider range of flavours available to us.

Much like the rosé wine disease that seems to be sweeping through the country at the minute, I can guarantee that everyone I know will drink either Tetley or Yorkshire tea, simply because that's all they see others drinking.

Personally I like Chai, the Japanese Green Sencha (which unfortunately I've only managed to sample once, but it was delicious), Earl Grey (of course...) and the good old common British standard of Tetley, two sugars and a dash of milk.

Guest's picture
Guest

A favourite of mine (apart from green - lovelovelove) is white tea and camomile tea together in the same pot. It's really good if your camomile is not of the best quality and tastes slightly bitter, because the white tea softens the taste.

Guest's picture
Megan

I drink two cups of coffee in the morning (one brewed at home and one from the office coffee pot) and the rest of the day I drink tea, in part becuase my office is always so darn cold. Just having a warm mug to hold onto makes my day.

I can't drink coffee or soda after 12 pm, or I'm not able to get to sleep that night, but I love green tea as an afternoon pick-me-up if I'm feeling a little tired.

The other thing I like, especially in the winter, is hot water with lemon. I have lemon juice at the office, but at home I like to squeeze fresh lemons (when I can get them). It's not as good for the teeth (due to lemon's acidity), but it's great for the body and tastes delicious.

Guest's picture
Mr. E

• Probably no surprise: tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. But here’s something that may surprise you. Your wake-up reason to drink tea is a great reason. But it’s better than coffee because the caffeine in tea increases mental alertness and focused attention (like coffee) but without the acute effects of coffee -- it won’t make you jittery. Unlike coffee, it's hard to overdose on caffeine in tea because it has a unique amino acid, L-theanine, that actually relaxes you, and it does it without causing drowsiness. (You can even buy L-theanine supplements for this purpose.) L-theanine moderates the acute effects of caffeine, and actually increases alpha brain waves. So, there you have it – unlike with coffee, you get the best of both worlds with tea. P.S. I drink my tea with stevia and lemon juice, so it also lowers my blood sugar. I used to like it with milk, but now I avoid milk ever since I found out that most milk is A1 harmful type, not to mention full of hormones – but that’s another topic.