Here at EBL, we’ve covered the health benefits of coffee pretty extensively. (Surprise: It’s really good for you!) But — although it’s hard for this coffee-drinker to believe — there are some people who prefer tea. And in some parts of the world, tea is the primary beverage. But is tea as healthy for you?
Aaron Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine who edits a research and policy blog, recently summarized the health effects of tea in a New York Times article.
The news is good. Carroll examined a systematic review of tea consumption and found a long list of health benefits. Among them:
- Tea drinkers are less likely to suffer from liver disease.
- Drinking tea is associated with a decreased risk of depression.
- Tea reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Carroll does point out some flaws in the research on tea that might not transfer to our modern -day society. For starters, most of the studies on tea were observational, not randomized-controlled trials that are the gold standard of health research. Second, many of the studies were conducted in Asian countries where tea drinking is much more common than in the United States. There could be other factors at play in Asian culture that lead to similar positive results.
At the end of the day, Carroll asserts there is moderate evidence for the health benefits of tea, and there seems to be few harms. “Drink it if you like it,” he writes. “It, too, seems to be a completely reasonable addition to a healthful diet.”