Ring in the New Year with Tea: Help to Lose Weight and Boost Immune System and Heart Health

Ring in the New Year with Tea: Help to Lose Weight and Boost Immune System and Heart Health by Tea Council of the USA

January is National Hot Tea Month

NEW YORK, Dec. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Perhaps it's no coincidence that January is National Hot Tea Month, a time when many people resolve to lose weight in the New Year. Tea, which studies suggest may be associated with decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, may also help in the battle against the bulge. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that substances in tea may promote weight loss by increasing the amount of energy spent by the body. The researchers theorize that green tea, which has thermogenic properties that promote fat oxidation as a result of the catechins contained in tea, may work together with other chemicals to increase weight loss. This is potentially good news for the more than half of Americans who are either overweight or obese and want to begin the New Year by losing weight. In the study, healthy young men (average age: 25) ate a typical Western diet for six weeks and took either two green tea extracts (the equivalent of one cup of green tea) plus 50 milligrams of caffeine; 50 milligrams of caffeine only; or a placebo, with each of three meals a day. Those men taking the green tea extracts, equivalent to a total of three cups of tea per day, experienced a significant increase in the number of calories used in a 24-hour period -- resulting in more fats being metabolized by the body for energy -- than the men taking only the caffeine or the placebo. There was no difference in overall calorie or fat burning calories in the caffeine or placebo groups; only the tea group showed the weight loss results. Another study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, suggests that tea catechins may help resist the development of obesity. Japanese researchers compared the body weight and fat mass of mice that were fed a low-fat or high-fat diet, with swimming or not and with or without tea catechins. Those mice that were fed a high-fat diet with tea catechins but without exercise showed reduced fat accumulation of 18 percent while exercise alone showed reduced fat accumulation of 14 percent. Mice that exercised and consumed the catechins showed reduced fat accumulation of 33 percent. In addition to possibly helping our bodies look better on the outside, tea may also help our bodies on the inside. That's because black and green tea may help boost the body's immune system, which provides the body's natural ability to fight viral infections such as cold and flu. Research reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people who drank 20 ounces of black tea per day (the equivalent of approximately three cups) produced five times the amount of germ-fighting cells as those who drank coffee. This suggests that tea drinkers may have a better chance of fighting off an infection than non-tea drinkers. "The evidence continues to mount associating tea consumption with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and healthy weight. Indeed, it appears that tea may offer a powerhouse of disease-fighting potential," says Jenna Bell-Wilson, Ph.D., RD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Allied Medicine, The Ohio State University Medical Center. "And knowing that the resolutions we're most likely to stick with beyond January are those that require small changes in behavior, it only makes good sense to choose a beverage like tea, which may give you this health boost, over something else." A multitude of research suggests that drinking tea should be included as part of a healthy diet and may contribute to overall health. The most recent findings, published in the December 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that women who consumed two or more cups of tea daily over a period of time lowered their risk of ovarian cancer by 46% compared with women who never or seldom consumed tea. The study found that each additional cup of tea consumed per day was associated with an 18% lower risk of ovarian cancer. Other research connecting tea with potential health benefits include studies that suggest:

* Cardiovascular health benefits, including reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and improved blood vessel function. * Reduced risk of certain cancers, including colorectal and skin cancers * Reduced levels of oxidative DNA damage and increases in antioxidant levels in blood stream * Oral health benefits, as researchers believe certain compounds in tea may inhibit bacteria that cause bad breath and plaque, and the fluoride content in tea supports healthy tooth enamel

"January's National Hot Tea Month can serve as a reminder to do something healthy for ourselves, like brew a hot cup of tea, which may provide a variety of health benefits, serve as a weight loss aid and help to ward off persistent cold and flu germs," said Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Council of the USA. "What more could you ask for in a beverage."

Contact: Barbara King / Melissa McAllister Pollock Communications, Inc. bking@pollock-pr.com / mmcallister@pollock-pr.com (646) 277-8707 / (646) 277-8711


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