It's a well known fact that college and high school students drink a lot of coffee. With the stress of classes, extra-curriculars and poor sleeping habits, it's often a struggling student's drink of choice. Coffee, a beverage that can be high in sugar (if you're not drinking it black) and caffeine, may serve as an energy boost or as a treat during a difficult day. What most people don't realize though is that tea can be just as, if not more, beneficial than coffee.
I am an avid believer in the positive effects of tea. I started drinking it almost religiously during my sophomore year of high school and haven't slowed down (I currently have over five varie-TEAS in my dorm). For the most part, I choose to drink tea over coffee simply based on its taste and ease of making but there are documented health benefits to what some condescendingly refer to as "leaf water." Here are some of the reasons why.
Not everyone knows that tea has caffeine in it and can give you a boost, much like coffee but better. The caffeine in tea is less harsh than what's found in coffee and will not cause you to crash or become dependent on it. Tea also helps to energize you by cleansing your body and restoring important vitamins and other nutrients.
It's a popular belief that drinks with caffeine in them decrease hydration but this isn't necessarily true, especially for tea. Tea is brewed with water (I hope this isn't a surprise) and is therefore hydrating. This is good news for those of you out there that are opposed to water because of it's lack of flavor. Tea is a hydrating and flavorful alternative.
3. Fat burning
There are specific antioxidants found in green tea that increase the body's ability to burn fat as a source of fuel which can help to increase exercise endurance or to keep weight in check.
Free radicals are uncharged molecules that interact with the body in a negative way and damage DNA. The human body is meant to attack free radicals naturally but its system isn't 100% effective. Tea has a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity which means it helps fight free radicals and therefore aids in preventing certain cancers, heart disease and other bodily degeneration.
Studies have been done that suggest tea can help treat or decrease the chance of developing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Compounds, called polyphenols, are primarily responsible for this effect. An additional benefit of tea related to health is its calming nature. This may be a result of its warmth or other components of tea.
To reap these benefits, it's best if the tea you're drinking is organic and some form of green, white, black or oolong. It's also not advisable to load your brew up with sugar, but if you would like a hint of sweetness, try adding a dash of natural honey. Remember, tea will not make you super human nor will you feel all benefits immediately after drinking a single cup, but it is worth even the occasional substitution for coffee.
Lead Image Credit: Olu Eletu via Unsplash