Tea is the second-most widely consumed beverage worldwide, second only to water. There are four main types of tea—white, green, oolong, and black—all from the same plant, Camelia sinensis. White and green tea are not fermented and thought to contain the highest amount of antioxidants. Oolong tea is semi-fermented, and black tea is the most fermented of the four types.
Due to the high antioxidant content and widespread consumption of green tea, studies of its beneficial effects are numerous, and rightly so. Green tea may help prevent heart disease, helps to lower total cholesterol and raise HDL, or “good” cholesterol, has been found to help protect against an array of cancers, promotes weight loss, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and may help reduce inflammation in inflammatory bowel diseases. That’s an impressive list, if you ask me.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that tea drinkers (of any tea, although 88% of the tea drinkers preferred green) had a 27 percent lower risk of developing stomach, esophagus, or colorectal cancers when compared to people who did not drink tea. The researchers studied over 69,000 non-smoking and non–alcohol-consuming women in China for an average of 12 years.
Of the regular tea drinkers—those who consumed tea three or more times a week for at least six months—risk of all digestive system cancers was reduced 17 percent compared to non-tea drinkers. “Our results suggest that tea drinking may be a potential way to reduce risk of digestive system cancers in non-smoking women and non–alcohol-drinking women.”
Green tea is one of the best drinks you can consume. You can drink it hot or cold. Plain or with fruit or mint to give it a refreshing taste. If you tend to add sugar to your green tea, try to start weaning yourself off the unnecessary sweetness. Green tea is delicious on its own. When you give your taste buds a sugar break, you’ll begin to discover the true unmasked flavors of nutrient-rich foods are even more delicious without the sugar.