In ancient China, tea was considered an elixir and initially consumed for its perceived medicinal properties. Today, more and more scientific evidence contributes to the belief that tea, indeed, is a healthy beverage. The following provides a summary of the health benefits associated with tea:
Cancer Prevention - All tea contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants that help protect the cells of the body against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals form naturally as a result of chemical reactions during normal cellular activity and contribute to tissue damage over time. Laboratory and animal studies have demonstrated that tea flavonoids can block the action of enzymes that cancers need for growth and can deactivate substances that promote the growth of cancers. Some, but not all, studies in people have shown a connection between drinking tea (especially green tea) and lower rates of cancer.
Heart Health - A number of recent studies suggest that tea may help to decrease the incidence of heart attack by reducing cholesterol in the blood, improving the function of blood vessels and inhibiting inflammation that can contribute to atherosclerosis.
Oral Health - Several studies have suggested that regular tea drinking may reduce the number of dental cavities, partly as a result of its high fluoride content. Tea has also been shown to increase the acid resistance of tooth enamel and to help prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to the teeth.
Bone Health - A study conducted in Taiwan showed that habitual tea consumption for more than a decade increased total bone mineral density in both men and women. Additionally, a study among older women has linked tea to greater bone density and a lower risk of hip fractures.
Gastrointestinal Health - Long-term tea drinking may flush out bacteria that aren't so good for the digestive system and could allow more helpful ones to flourish.