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SCIENCE MONDAY: Is tea good for you?

Simple Science | Feb. 15, 2016

Tea has been around for almost 5,000 years and is consumed around the world on a daily basis. It is the second-most-consumed drink after water, and is found in almost 80 percent of U.S. households, according to the Tea Association of the USA.

Over the years, it has been colloquially associated with a variety of health benefits, ranging from increased vitamin levels to a cure for cancer.

Tea comes in many varieties grown around the world, but some of the most common types, such as green and oolong teas, have antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit the process of oxidation, a process known to damages living cells.

A variety of studies with a total participation of more than 800,000 subjects have all found a decreased chance of liver cancers in tea drinkers. More studies have shown that drinking more than three cups of tea daily can decrease a person's risk of depression and stroke.

More analyses, with more than 500,000 participants, have associated drinking three or more cups daily with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, brain hemorrhage and Type 2 diabetes.

Other studies have shown reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, reduced cholesterol and reduced plaque buildup in the arteries.

One cup of tea can have up to 60 milligrams of caffeine. About 300 milligrams of caffeine in a day is considered “moderate intake” by the European Food Information Council. So replacing water with tea is not the smartest decision.

In addition to added caffeine, tea is known to color teeth, decrease the ability of the body to take in iron, form kidney stones when after drinking it in excess, as well as cause problems in people with certain health issues.

While tea has been associated with many benefits and potential side effects, it is still perfectly safe to consume. It will not magically solve any health problem, but it certainly cannot hurt to drink. As with anything. drinking tea is only safe in moderation.

Harshel Patel

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