Bethany Biron
March 27, 2016 10:34 am
Disney

Better start steeping — research shows that lifelong tea drinkers experience major health benefits.

How, you ask? Turns out large-scale observational studies uncovered that tea drinkers are less likely to face early cognitive decline, and fend off certain types of cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, according to The Huffington Post.

The health benefits for tea drinkers don’t stop there. Tea has also been associated with a lower risk of depression, and a 2015 study found that for every three cups of tea consumed a day, the likelihood of developing depression decreased by 37 percent, The New York Times reported.

However, take note that this specifically pertains to tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant that are processed to make variations of black, green, white, oolong and pu’er teas, excluding herbal blends and infusions. So if you’re a peppermint tea enthusiast, may want to give green tea a try.

Active ingredients in tea, including flavonoids, fluoride and theanine, are suspected to be the catalyst for health benefits, but even so, the research is difficult to identify as conclusive. Tea researcher Lenore Arab, a medical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, noted that scientists would need to conduct a randomized, controlled trial where subjects would either be required to consume or avoid tea for upwards of 30 years.

This would not be an easy feat. As Arab told The Huffington Post, the only randomized control trials have been conducted on animals or were short-term studies of humans. These studies, she said, showed that tea helped reduce brain damage from stroke in rodents, and also helped lower blood pressure in humans.

While Arab said she couldn’t necessarily recommend a tea regimen for health, she does advocate for it as a good alternative to soda and artificially sweetened drinks, as well as a supplement to water for hydration. Though she notes to avoid adding milk, as it can destroy the antioxidants and overturn the health effects of tea.

“If you drink tea, it has the advantage over water of providing fluoride and other active ingredients that we know affect blood supply,” Arab told The Huffington Post. “And the cost is pretty low if you make your own tea and you don’t buy tea in a bottled water container. You don’t even know how much tea is in there.”

ITV/PBS

Alright, I’m convinced. I have my tea bag and cat mug ready.

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