Is Tea Good for You? Here’s What Happens When You Drink It

Nutrient 1-cup serving of brewed herbal chamomile tea, USDA 1-cup serving of brewed black tea, USDA
Calories 2 2
Total Carbohydrates 1 g 1 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g 0 g
Total Sugars 0 g 0 g
Protein 0 g 0 g
Total Fat 0 g 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g 0 g
Sodium 2 mg 7 mg

Health Benefits of Tea

Ana Cadena

Pictured Recipe: Hibiscus-Pomegranate Iced Tea

Tea is an easy drink to include in a healthy diet, and it has been enjoyed in many cultures for centuries. Focusing on green, black, oolong or white tea, research shows that there are some unique health benefits for regular tea drinkers.

You May Have Better Blood Pressure

Consumption of flavan-3-ols, the plant compound found in true teas, is linked to heart-health benefits, including a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, according to the aforementioned Advances in Nutrition study. Aim for 400 to 600 mg of flavan-3-ols each day, the research suggests, or the amount in about two cups of black or green tea.

You May Have a Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers

Cancer risk can be impacted by many factors, with some being completely out of your control (like genetics). Among the factors that can play a role in cancer risk, drinking tea may be one that has a protective effect. Data published in an Advances in Nutrition study in 2020 suggests that tea consumption may have protective effects against some types of cancer, particularly oral cancer. Weaker evidence suggests a link between tea consumption and breast, endometrial and liver cancers. Tea’s polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties, may soak up the free radicals that contribute to cancer development, and they also may suppress the growth of cancer cells, the authors point out.

You May Have Better Attention

Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to impact brain health. According to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the L-theanine found in tea may play a role in improving attention, ultimately boosting working memory. L-theanine may, among other functions, help increase certain brain waves that enhance cognition.

You May Have a Supported Immune System

Varieties of tea, like black and green, are rich in polyphenols. And certain polyphenols found in some true teas, like EGCG and theaflavin, may support immune health, according to a review in Frontiers in Immunology in 2020. Additionally, tea is rich in compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, which may support immune health too.

You May Have a Longer Life

A 2022 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine evaluating half a million tea drinkers in the United Kingdom showed that higher black tea intake was associated with a 13% reduced risk of death from any cause for those who drank two or more cups per day compared to those who don’t drink tea. Tea drinking was also linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease and stroke.

You May Be More Hydrated

Tea counts as fluid, so sipping on the beverage can keep you hydrated throughout the day. Staying hydrated can keep you cognitively sharp during the day, help regulate your body temperature and keep your digestion regular, says the CDC.

Potential Side Effects

There is no doubt that drinking tea is linked to some impressive health benefits. But drinking tea every day may have some downsides too.

You May Have Stained Teeth

Black tea consumption may cause teeth to stain or become discolored. But, adding some milk to your beverage may minimize the discoloration that you see.

You May Have Difficulty Sleeping

If you are sensitive to caffeine, opting for a caffeinated tea may keep you awake at night, cutting into your sleep. Of course, you can always choose a decaffeinated tea or an herbal tea (which is naturally decaffeinated) for a soothing, sleep-friendly beverage.

You May Have Trouble Absorbing Iron

Black and green teas contain natural compounds called tannins and oxalates. These compounds may affect your body’s ability to absorb iron, a mineral that is essential for making a protein that carries oxygen in the blood, according to a 2023 article in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine.

How to Choose the Best Tea

Choosing the best tea is simple to do with a little know-how. Here is what to look for and what to limit.

When you are choosing a tea, be sure that it is fresh. Commercially available teas should have an expiration date stamped on the packaging. Using loose-leaf tea may result in a richer-tasting beverage, but tea bags are more convenient, so go for the one that fits your taste preferences and lifestyle the best. In addition, opt for teas that contain no added sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is safe to drink tea every day?

Not only is it safe to drink tea every day, but doing so may result in some amazing health benefits. Two cups of green or black tea will provide you with the recommended amount of flavan-3-ols that a person should consume every day.

Which tea is the healthiest?

Different teas offer their own unique health benefits. There is strong data suggesting that tea varieties like black and green are associated with better heart and cognitive health, immunity and more.

Is tea healthier than coffee?

Both tea and coffee contain antioxidants, are extremely low in calories and can provide caffeine. They also contain unique antioxidant compounds that support many aspects of your health, including decreasing the risk of chronic disease. Go ahead and drink tea or coffee (or both!).

The Bottom Line

Drinking tea every day is a healthy habit that may benefit your health in various ways. Not only is it a low-calorie drink, but black, green, oolong and white teas contain unique compounds like flavan-3-ols that support heart health. Getting in the habit of drinking tea every day is a simple way to support your health in an extremely low-effort way.

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