For years, people have stayed away from coffee in fear that it stunts your growth, gives you ulcers, and contributes to acid reflux. However, a proliferation of new studies suggest that there are several potential benefits of coffee consumption, such as a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and a lower risk of certain cancers. As we reach more of a consensus on coffee, questions about the health benefits of tea are arising as well.
Unlike coffee, tea is generally free of negative connotations. In fact, many people feel that tea is beneficial to health for a variety of reasons. The question is, does scientific evidence back up this long-standing belief? As with coffee, a number of studies have been conducted to assess the relationship between tea and health. The results are overwhelmingly positive.
Sixteen different studies including more than 800,000 participants have looked at the link between tea and liver disease. They each found that those who drank tea were less likely to have hepatocellular carcinoma, liver steatosis, liver cirrhosis, and chronic liver disease. In addition to improving liver health, tea is found to lower the risk of depression. A 2015 meta-analysis (a study that combines the findings of several studies) of 23,000 participants found that for every three cups of tea consumed per day, the relative risk of depression decreased 37 percent. Finally, tea is associated with a reduction in the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, cardiac death, Type 2 diabetes, and total mortality.
The studies available today are mostly cohort studies, which can only identify relationships and cannot make definitive claims. Their findings call for more rigorous studies to prove causality, but in the meantime, it seems that drinking tea has few harms and a variety of potential benefits. Replace your afternoon caffeine fix with a cup of tea or incorporate some decaffeinated tea into your nighttime ritual. If anything, it’s a tasty alternative to turn to once you’ve overdosed on pumpkin spice lattes.
The accompanying slideshow is provided by Daily Meal special contributor Dr. Verma.