A Good Cup
In a world full of all kinds of nutrition misinformation and hype, here’s some news that’s easy to swallow: Drinking tea—especially green tea—is likely good for your health.
Tea is a good source of the powerful antioxidant compounds called flavonoids. By weight, tea is about one-third flavonoids. The flavonoid content of a cup of tea is comparable to that of a serving of fruit or vegetable and tea contains zero calories (of course, tea is not a substitute for the fiber, vitamin and mineral content of fruits and vegetables).
The fermentation process used in producing green teas increases the flavonoid content, so it’s not surprising that green tea consumption is more strongly associated with improved health.
As powerful antioxidants, the flavonoids in tea may help to reduce the harmful effects of oxidants, which are the byproducts of normal cellular activity. One way oxidants are believed to cause harm is by attacking artery walls, resulting in damage that can lead to heart disease.
In addition to protecting against heart disease, there is mounting evidence that tea drinking may also help prevent Type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol levels.
As for caffeine, most teas contain roughly half the amount of coffee.
Cheryl Beers, MS, RDN, is an Ojai-based dietitian.