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Touting Tea

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A new study finds that drinking tea may reduce the risk of deadly diseases—and that’s just one of many health benefits associated with the popular beverage.

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, other than water. Over 6.6 billion pounds of tea are produced each year.

Why? More and more research is documenting that what we include in our diet is as important as what we exclude. Tea contains a variety—perhaps thousands—of powerful, protective antioxidant substances called polyphenols, especially flavonoids such as catechins, that may help reduce the risk of some of the most common chronic diseases.

For example, a study was published two weeks ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association that followed more than 40,000 Japanese men and women over a seven- to eleven-year period. They found that green tea consumption was associated with a reduced mortality due to all causes except cancer.

The more green tea they drank, the lower their risk of dying early. Researchers found that that the overall risk of premature death due to illness was 26-percent lower among those who consumed five or more cups a day compared those who drank less than one cup per day of green tea after seven years of follow-up.

Interestingly, the effects of tea on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease were not caused only by changes in traditional risk factors such as cholesterol levels or blood pressure. The polyphenols in green tea appear to have powerful antioxidant properties and are scavengers for free radicals that otherwise could damage your cells. These polyphenols may directly and beneficially affect coronary artery blockages (atherosclerosis), dilate your arteries, and also help reduce the formation of blood clots. Green tea also has significant anti-inflammatory effects. Black tea and oolong teas(Chinese Tea) were not found to be quite as protective as green tea.

(As published in The Newsweek)

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