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Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Tea?

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on November 10, 2022

Tea is a common drink across the globe. It’s a hydrating beverage with a range of different types and flavors. Tea is an important beverage in many different cultures. With no calories, tea is a great addition to a low-calorie diet.

Caffeine levels in tea vary depending on the type you drink, but in general tea has much less caffeine than coffee. One 8 ounce cup of black coffee contains 96 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. The same amount of black brewed tea contains 47 mg and green tea contains only 28 mg. Popular herbal teas such as ginger or peppermint don’t contain any caffeine.

Tea is also associated with a lower risk of many ailments, including cognitive issues, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more.

But there may be many other nutrients and minerals in tea that you may not be aware of, contributing to different aspects of your health. Here’s what you need to know.

Nutrition Information

Here are the nutrition facts for one cup of tea brewed with tap water:

Nutrients and important minerals found in many teas include the following:

However, it’s important to note that many of these minerals are only found in trace amounts. The dehydration and boiling process involved in making tea and tea leaves removes many available nutrients.

Potential Health Benefits of Tea

Not only is tea hydrating and tasty, making it a good alternative to water, but the available nutrients and minerals can contribute to your overall health.

While drinking tea on its own is not a solution or cure for any health condition, it can be easily integrated into a healthy diet. Here are a few important health benefits of tea.

Lower Cholesterol

Black tea contains theaflavins and thearubigins (antioxidants), which have health benefits for your body. One study found that they help alleviate hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) when consumed in your diet.

Reduced Risk of Hyperglycemia

The same study showed that black tea theaflavins and thearubigins also contribute to lower risk of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.

Lower Risk of Cancer

Green and black teas also contain important polyphenols, which are micronutrients that are found in plant-based foods. The polyphenols found in these types of tea have been associated with the healthy regulation of cancer cell growth and survival, leading to a lower risk of developing cancer.

Better Sleep Quality and Lower Risk of Depression

Some teas, including chamomile, are consumed to help people relax at the end of the day so they can sleep better and wind down. And chamomile tea has been found to help postpartum women get better sleep and alleviate their depression.

More Focus and Alertness

More research needs to be done to accurately understand the effects of caffeine on cognitive function. However, some studies have indicated that consuming caffeine found in some teas, in low doses and regularly, may contribute to better focus and alertness.

Potential Risks of Tea

Drinking tea doesn’t have many health risks associated with it. However, because some teas have high levels of caffeine, including black tea and green tea, there are a few points to be aware of as you drink it. 

Too Much Caffeine Intake

When you consume too much caffeine, you could experience symptoms like a faster heartbeat, tremors in your muscles, headache, nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. However, these symptoms are more commonly associated with drinking a lot of coffee, which has substantially more caffeine than even the strongest teas.

Other than overconsuming caffeine, there are few risks associated with drinking tea. Enjoy a cup to hydrate your body and gain important minerals and microminerals.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry: “Mechanisms of cancer prevention by green and black tea polyphenols.”

Consumer Reports: “The Health Benefits of Tea.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Tea.”

Journal of Advanced Nursing: “Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial.”

Lipids in Health and Disease: “Exploring the potential of black tea based flavonoids against hyperlipidemia related disorders.”

Mayo Clinic: “Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?”

Mayo Clinic: “Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda, and more.”

Nutrition Reviews: “Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine.”

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