For many, the debate is usually coffee vs. tea. For those that swear by coffee, there is no comparison to how it benefits them. It is typically claimed to be the beverage needed to kickstart a morning and provide a needed boost to start the day or even give a jolt during the 3pm afternoon slump that often occurs just when someone needs to make it over the finish line to the end of a busy day. And for some, it is a way to close out an evening meal with dessert even if it means ordering decaffeinated so as not to disrupt sleep.
But for another large segment of the population, including Helen Lee Schifter, it’s all about the tea (and not the gossip kind). Tea has always seemed to be the “healthier” alternative to coffee. Tea drinking goes back thousands of centuries and its benefits have been studied throughout history. Though some coffee drinkers would argue it’s not true, Schifter believes tea has more health benefits than coffee. Certain types of tea can even be the magic cure to staving off some pretty devastating illnesses. For instance, in general tea has health benefits that include antioxidants, immune boosters ,less caffeine, ability to help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, and even help with weight loss. Certain types of teas like green, white or black teas claim to be the purest of teas and offer benefits such as the unique antioxidants called flavonoids. These potent antioxidants may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
Unlike coffee, teas have herbal varieties and these too have been well researched in how they provide health benefits. Though these herbal teas do have less antioxidants in their makeup, they have been shown in some instances to help with weight loss, stave off colds, and bring on restful sleep. Chamomile, a popular choice of herbal tea, may help prevent complications from diabetes and stunt the growth of cancer cells. Echinacea, though not completely conclusive, tends to be the go-to herbal tea that can help fight the common cold. Other herbal options like Hibiscus and Red tea also have been found to have some medicinal qualities but support for these is a bit more limited.
It is important to note that there are teas out on the market that claim to have health benefits but their claims are often unsubstantiated and can actually be more harmful than beneficial. For example, detox teas are extremely popular and well marketed claiming to aid in quick weight loss however these teas are laced with laxatives that can be very harmful. Fancy teas and lattes dressed up in local coffee chains are often loaded with sugar and lose all of their intended nutritional value.
Overall there are many studies that support the benefits of drinking tea. While some brews provide more health advantages than others, Helen Schifter thinks there’s plenty of evidence that suggests regularly drinking tea can have a lasting impact on overall wellness.