Tea for bone health
“The main benefits to bones from tea consumption are due to its powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols, catechins and flavonoids,” says Sue Xiao Yu, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, clinical nutritionist and dietitian at Hospital for Special Surgery. “The powerful polyphenols found in tea have been shown to increase bone mineralization, delay the reduction of bone density and increase the levels of vitamin D in your body.” (And vitamin D deficiency is quite common, so the latter is very important to many of us.) “Catechins also help protect the cells that make up bones in the body, while flavonoids have estrogen-like properties that help prevention of bone loss. ” says Yu.
To reap these benefits, drink black, green or oolong tea, as these are the types of tea that most studies on tea and bone health have looked at, according to Yu. “Black, green and oolong tea are also recommended because they are the most commonly consumed in the world,” he adds. And it does not matter if you take your tea hot or cold. Yu says that while a study referred to Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that consuming tea with a temperature of 122 ° F-140 ° F is effective because it helps maintain catechins, none of the other studies reported the temperature of the tea.
Keep in mind that tea is great for maintaining many other bodily functions (besides bone health) as we age. It is good for your heart, brain, focus, and even your mood. “[Green and black tea are] “high in flavanols, which is a type of antioxidant, and these flavanols have been linked to lowering LDL cholesterol, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol,” Neva Cochran, RD told Well + Good. This, he adds, means it can reduce the risk of heart disease.
“The catechins in tea also help protect the body from free radicals. This benefits the whole body and of course the brain,” Cochran said. In addition, an article published in the magazine Phytomedicine who took into account 21 separate studies on green tea found that tea consumption is associated with better attention and memory. Researchers say they believe this is linked to caffeine and L-theanine (an amino acid associated with calmness and focus) in tea. Among the catechins, caffeine and L-theanine, there are so many ingredients unique to tea that make it a superstar drink that stimulates the brain.
As for how much tea we should consume? Yu says research studies on bone health generally reported consuming one to four cups of tea a day.
Just remember that tea consumption is only one component of healthy bones. “There are many other nutrients that are just as important for bone health. These include calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K, to name just a few,” says Yu. “It is vital to allow yourself to follow a well-balanced diet that incorporates a variety of different foods and food groups to get adequate nutrients to support bone health.”
Learn more about the health benefits of green tea and matcha according to a dietitian in this video:
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