3 Important Health Benefits Of Your Favorite Soothing Beverage

by Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Last Updated: July 2, 2020

Tea is an ancient beverage that still holds tradition in the daily lives of many. With tradition comes comfort, which so many are searching for today as we live through the unease of the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage activities that bring calmness and comfort, and for many, this may include sipping on a warm cup of tea alone or with friends (socially distanced – of course).

Tea is brewed from dry leaves and buds and comes in many forms including loose tea - the kind you scoop and steep in a tea steeper, tea bags - leaves and herbs are finely ground and contained for ease of use, and in ready-to-drink beverages. When shopping for tea, look for products with no additives, containing only tea in pure forms. Read instructions on for how long to steep and at what temperature, as teas vary by type.

Dietitian Tip: if consuming packaged tea, be sure to look for the kind with reduced sugar!

Nutrition benefits of tea
  1. Antioxidants and cancer prevention properties.
    Most teas that are available in coffee shops or on the market shelves contain black, green, white, or oolong tea. These are each packed with unique antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids are natural compounds found in plants that are considered antioxidants, meaning that they support our bodies in fighting off toxins that can damage our cells. Research has shown that some specific flavonoids can also reduce the multiplication of cancer cells in the body. Flavonoids help the body function more efficiently while warding off cellular-level damage that can contribute to illnesses. Different flavonoids contribute different benefits, including helping to lower blood pressure, and reducing the risk of a heart attack. Most abundant in green tea, a compound called EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is significantly responsible for many of the health benefits provided by tea. EGCG scavengers the body and is believed to have anti-cancer properties. Though more research is likely needed to conclude this for certain, many trials have been done that support this claim. More information is available on these studies at www.cancer.gov.
  2. Lower levels of caffeine.
    Coffee and tea, while they are two of the most common sources of caffeine, are not created equal. Coffee can contain 95 mg per cup, while teas standardly have less after brewing. Even among the teas, the content can vary from 0-90 mg in one cup. Black tea provides 50-90 mg per cup, while green tea contains less at 20-45 mg per cup. White tea contains anywhere from 6-60 mg per cup. Caffeine is naturally occurring and can be beneficial when used in moderation. Caffeine-free varieties are also available when seeking a bedtime blend or simply per preference.
  3. Sooth your mood – and your gut.
    Not only is sitting down with a warm cup of tea relaxing for the body, it is also calming to the gut. This calorie-free beverage offers soothing properties for the digestive system, as it can help combat nausea and bowel irritation. Specifically, peppermint teas are calming because they contain menthol, which is known to improve digestive upset symptoms. Check out this explanation of the benefits of peppermint tea and its effect on soothing irritable bowel issues.

Start a new tradition to combat illness! Try incorporating a daily cup of tea to add variety and flavor into your regimen. Sipping that warm cup of goodness can be done while relaxing on the couch or enjoying a nice sunrise or sunset. Now, that’s a wellness practice that we can all enjoy. In just one cup a day, you can sip your way to improved health.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany is a compassionate dietitian with experience in nutrition throughout her lifespan along with empowering those with diabetes and heart disease to use food as medicine. A believer in total body wellness, she has a decade of experience as a licensed massage therapist. With a passion for healthy living, she practices hot yoga, enjoys most any fitness activities, stays active in the community, and loves spending time with her family.