We’re all looking for that magic bullet — that super food which will melt off pounds, make us look ten years younger and deter every cancer cell that might erupt in our body. I hate to disappoint you, but there is no such panacea.

However, tea has once again been shown to be one of the healthiest natural ingredients you can infuse into a vigorous lifestyle.

I attended my third International Tea & Health Symposium last week at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. The list of sponsors included the American Cancer Society, the Linus Pauling Institute and the American College of Nutrition with presenters from five American universities as well as research labs in Italy, Scotland, Germany and The Netherlands. The event was again chaired by Jeffrey Blumberg, director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston.

Here are a few of the newest findings on tea’s effect on your health:


Weight Loss

Consumption of tea throughout the day may lead to a 4.7% increase in energy expenditure. This translates into an average of 102 extra burned calories per day. Decaffeinated tea is not as effective because caffeine plays a role in this increased metabolic rate. 

This may not seem to be a significant benefit, but you can see that the effect would be compounded to 350 calories if you substituted unsweetened tea for that daily sugary soft drink, or second glass of wine. 

Diabetes

Type II Diabetes is on the rise across America. One recent study showed a 23% reduction in the incidence of Type II Diabetes where the participants included five cups of tea in their daily intake of liquids. 
Dr. Lenore Arab, UCLA

Strokes

The night before the symposium, I sat next to Dr. Lenore Arab during dinner at the Indian Embassy. She is a professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. “Every 45 seconds, someone in America suffers a stroke,” she reminded me over our meal of lamb curry. I suddenly lost my appetite and decided to skip dessert.
Dr. Arab has compiled results of nine international studies involving 196,000 participants in five countries which show an average 21% reduction in strokes when the participants drank three or more cups of tea each day.   

Cognitive Function

A published clinical trial found that tea drinkers showed more mental clarity and improved work performance than those given a placebo. This may be due to the caffeine and L-theanine found in tea

Tea and Junk Food

One of the most interesting studies, and the one which received the most questions from journalists, was a small study of 38 people, half with hypertension and half without. The subjects were given a cup of black tea before ingesting a high fat meal replicating “junk food.”  The addition of tea prevented the expected increase in blood pressure that would normally occur after a high fat meal.

“Drinking black tea could lead to a reduction in strokes, heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases,” said Claudio Ferri of the University L’Aquila in Italy.
Well, I certainly felt better after hearing that. You wouldn’t believe how many scones with clotted cream and jam I’ve had to eat during my research trips to tea rooms around the world.
And on second thought, maybe I should have had that dessert with Dr. Arab because I had already dosed myself with a few cups of tea before the meal!
Read more extensive coverage in Tea Maestro Bruce Richardson’s upcoming article in TeaTime magazine.

See a video recap of the FIFTH INTERNATIONAL TEA & HEALTH SYMPOSIUM.

TEA magazine’s founder Pearl Dexter and Bruce Richardson photographed at the Tea & Health Symposium dinner hosted by the Sri Lankan ambassador.

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