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Tea or Water? Both!

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Is tea healthier for you than water? Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits! The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates. And the UK nutritionists found that tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers.

Tea leaves are a very rich source of flavonoids. Flavonoids are a class of naturally occurring plant compounds that function as antioxidants. They are plant pigments and even if they are not labeled as essential nutrients, they enhance the processing of vitamin C, which is itself a powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids are also needed to maintain capillary walls and protect against infections. Deficiency of flavonoids may lead to easily bruising.

water tea cupFlavonoids are extremely potent anti-oxidants. Antioxidant properties of the natural pigments fight against molecular oxidation by the free radicals; this is why they are called anti-oxidants. In our body, an infinite number of chemical reactions take place every day. A part of the chemical changes in the cells that use oxygen give birth to free radicals, which are harmful for the cells and the organism.

An excessive amount of free radicals interact with the DNA or parts of the other cells in the body and may damage them. But the antioxidants counteract and neutralize these organic "enemies." For the study, researchers have analyzed a large number of scientific works on water and tea's properties and effects upon our health. They found that tea rehydrates our body as well as water, but it also contains the "magic" ingredients, which keeps us from a wide range of various health disorders.

Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promotes health. These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage. Public health nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton, and colleagues at Kings College London, looked at published studies on the health effects of tea consumption.

Clear evidence is found, that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack. Some studies also suggested tea consumption protected against cancer, although this effect was less clear-cut. Other than that, there are even some healthy benefits included protection against tooth plaque and potentially tooth decay, plus bone strengthening.

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