What’s the first thing you reach for when you roll out of bed in the morning? If you’re like me, it’s tea. Both coffee and tea are fiercely defended as the best breakfast beverage, and there’s merit to both sides. Coffee is the No. 1 source of antioxidants for Americans, and it may protect against diabetes.
And the winner is…
But tea drinkers likely have the upper hand—especially when their beverage is green. For an ingredient that’s centuries old, tea sure is having a moment. Myriad varietals have taken a starring role recently in everything from anti-pollution moisturizers to sleep aids. While not a new ingredient per se, recent discoveries in its beautifying powers have led to a deluge of products and a renewed interest in the power plant.
“Many teas are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used both internally or topically to reap this benefit,” explains Dr. Frank Lipman, founder of BeWell and the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC. “Tea gets its health-enhancing power from flavonoids, the natural chemical compounds that help neutralize free-radicals, limiting their ability to inflame and damage the body.”
More than one superpower
Those free radical-fighting powers are also what help it protect the skin from damage. Desiree Pais, beauty content editor for Herbivore Botanicals, notes that: “Different teas have different benefits, but they [all] have incredible antioxidant properties.”
Not to mention that, combined with the right botanicals, tea and tea-based products can do some pretty incredible things for your skin.
Green tea has been known for many years [to aid] longevity and for anti-aging,” says Pais. “Free radicals age the body; green tea’s antioxidants
helpsthe body stay younger.” It also has some pretty promising medicinal applications. “Green tea contains EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), which researchers believe gives it much of its anti-cancer properties,” says Dr. Lipman.
More amazing tea benefits
- A Healthier Heart. Green tea is packed with powerful antioxidants that may lower blood pressure. Squeeze in a lemon for an extra boost of vitamin C, which helps your body absorb the antioxidants.
- More power. Scientists found that when mice consumed green tea, their endurance increased by up to 24%.
- A slimmer bod. Catechins, the antioxidants present in green tea, are pros at blasting belly fat. And studies suggest that caffeine frees fatty acids so you can burn calories (and fat) more easily, and aids in digestion. Ever wonder why your favorite Japanese restaurant serves this as an after-dinner drink?
- Allergy relief. Japanese researchers found that the compound EGCG, another antioxidant compound abundant in green tea, might help strengthen your immunity against allergens like pet dander, pollen, and dust.
- A better memory. A recent Canadian study found that when snails are submerged in water infused with epicatechin, an antioxidant found in foods like chocolate and green tea, their memories improved significantly. (Curious how science measures the memory of a snail? We were, too.) Happily, the study author thinks the memory benefits extend to humans, too. Perfect for that brain fog we all experience from time to time.