02/17/2016 01:33 EST | Updated 02/17/2017 05:12 EST

Rediscover Tea, The World's Favourite Antioxidant

Jake Curtis via Getty Images
cup, tea, teapot, jam, bread, sourdough, woman, butter, wooden board, cafe, hands, glasses, afternoon tea, knife, kilner jar, conserve

Are you interested in an alternative to coffee that's not as strong but is still an effective pick-me-up drink? If so, then it's time to rediscover tea.

Tea's time-honoured appeal -- dating back to circa 2,700 BC Imperial China -- doesn't just stem from its light and pleasant taste. It also contains enough caffeine to get most of the world's population going each morning, especially in places like China, India and Great Britain.

But it's unlikely to give you or anyone else the jitters because it has about one-third to one-half the caffeine in coffee (about 40 to 80 milligrams per eight-ounce cup).

Besides being a mildly energizing drink, tea comes with other important benefits. The world over, it's quite possibly the most affordable and accessible preventative medicine known to mankind. In fact, because it's full of antioxidants, it may be one of the best ways to help fend off numerous health threats.

Tea's high antioxidant content is mostly made up of polyphenols. These natural biochemicals are especially effective at combating any build-up of free radical molecules (microscopic, pro-aging internal irritants) in your body.

This is highly beneficial because harmful free radicals are notorious for inducing internal inflammation at a cellular level, which has been linked to all sorts of degenerative health conditions. They include a weakened heart, cancer, autoimmunity ailments, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, depression, dyslexia and even hyperactivity.

You'll be happy to learn that a cup of tea provides up to 10 times as many antioxidants as a serving of fruit or vegetables, according to studies.

The polyphenols in tea also stimulate your circulatory system, thereby strengthening blood vessels and decreasing cholesterol in your bloodstream.

And as little as one cup of tea a day can lower your blood pressure, according to research.

All of which translates into a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Studies show that tea also offers some protection against many forms of cancer.

Throughout the ages, tea has also aided the advancement of civilization in another crucial way: Its germicidal and antibacterial properties have helped prevent the spread of cholera and dysentery, according to medical researchers.

Even in modern-day times, its many qualities are still coming to light. For instance, dentists have recently begun recommending tea because its polyphenol content is known to break down bacteria in our mouths. In turn, this reduces plaque formation and gives us healthier teeth and gums.

All of tea's natural antioxidant benefits can be enjoyed by drinking virtually any type of inexpensive black or green tea. This can be found at your nearest supermarket or corner store.

Interestingly, recent studies have demonstrated that black tea and green tea both contain similar amounts of antioxidants, contrary to the commonly-held notion that green tea is far healthier.

Nonetheless, green tea does stand out from its darker cousin in one notable respect: It helps control blood sugar levels, and it has a high catechin content (a powerful antioxidant). Both of which make your body burn fat more efficiently.

As a side note, people who are relatively new to drinking black tea often make it rather weak, which causes it to taste bland and insipid. Instead, drink it strong -- with or without milk -- to best appreciate its full flavour, as well as its health-promoting properties.

A strong cuppa each morning may prove to be a great new, refreshing, jitters-free way to kick-start each new day.

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook


5 Health Benefits Of Tea