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Why tea is good for your health

There are so many reasons why tea is good for your health, from its cancer-fighting antioxidants to the way it helps you unwind after a long day. In fact, green or white tea is part of every meal plan Shayna Komar, a licensed and registered dietitian at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, designs for her clients.

“There is something relaxing about drinking a cup of tea,” says Komar. “And if you drink green or white tea, you are getting an exceptional source of powerful anti-cancer molecules that make it a key feature of any meal plan designed for health.”

The health benefits of tea

Green tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols, including EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a unique catechin that fights the free radicals in our bodies that damage DNA and potentially cause cancer. According to some studies, catechins may also briefly raise your metabolism and help the body burn belly fat.

How to get the most benefits from tea

  • While all teas have some antioxidant properties, green and white tea are your best bets. Japanese green tea, particularly the Matcha variety, contains the most EGCG. 
  • Aim for at least three 8-ounce glasses a day – that’s the number Komar recommends to her clients who are undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Brew green or white tea for eight to 10 minutes.
  • Add fresh mint leaves for flavor.
  • Sweeten your tea with a touch of agave nectar, honey or stevia. Agave nectar and honey contain calories and sugar, so use sparingly.  
  • Cook with tea. Swap water for green tea when you prepare quinoa or rice.  
  • Feeling nauseous? Ginger tea can sooth your stomach.
  • Use green tea in a cocktail, such as Chef Nancy Waldeck’s green tequila tea.

“If the health benefits weren't enough, tea makes for a delicious, thirst quenching remedy for your body and soul,” says Komar. 

For more nutrition tips, visit Living Better’s Health & Wellness page

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