7 medicinal benefits of tea for older adults

Excerpt: People have enjoyed drinking tea since ancient times and modern research reveals a wide variety of health benefits. Tea consumption promotes heart health by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while protecting the brain and reducing diabetes risk. Savouring a cup of tea can also be soothing, lift your mood and help maintain bone density to prevent fractures.

Drinking tea has been regarded as a health-promoting habit since ancient times.* Modern research provides a scientific basis and offers new knowledge about the specific health benefits of drinking tea regularly.

Here are some key ways in which tea and its ingredients offer medicinal benefits:

  1. Keep your heart healthy
    Drinking green tea may significantly lower the risk of heart disease* by reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reports Harvard Medical School.

  2. Protect the brain
    Drinking green or black tea lowered the risk of cognitive decline by about 50% for older adults,* according to a study in The Journal of Nutritional Health & Aging. Tea consumption reduced risk even more for people who carry the APOE4 gene,* which increases the odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

  3. Lower diabetes risk
    Tea drinkers are less likely to develop diabetes because of chemical substances, called polyphenols,* that are enriched in tea, according to several Harvard School of Public Health studies. Research shows that polyphenols help the body’s cells to metabolize glucose and control blood sugar levels, which reduces diabetes risk, Harvard says.

  4. Boost mood
    Healthy older men and women in Japan who drank four or more cups of green tea daily were 44% less likely to suffer from depression* than those who consumed less green tea, according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. The researchers said the amino acid L-theanine in green tea seems to lift mood by reducing feelings of anxiety and stimulating dopamine, a feel-good brain chemical.

  5. Soothe stress
    People who drank black tea were more relaxed and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol* after exposure to stress than those who drank a fake tea substitute, according to a Psychopharmacology study.

  6. Maintain a healthy weight
    Women who were overweight and combined drinking green tea with resistance training lowered their weight, metabolic resting rate, body fat and waist circumference* more than women who did resistance training only, according to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

  7. Strengthen bones
    Women who drank tea regularly had higher bone mineral density measurements than women who didn’t drink, and women who added milk to their tea had higher bone density in the hips,* reported a University of Cambridge School of Medicine study.

While tea consumption has many proven health benefits, Harvard Medical School recommends avoiding green tea extracts or supplements because evidence about their effectiveness and safety is limited. Health Canada also advises that products containing green tea extracts may increase the risk of liver damage* for certain people.

Chartwell Retirement Residences invites residents to enjoy social treats such as tea parties, tea tastings and regal tea to celebrate the joys of living well as a senior.

*The following sources provided references for this blog, in order of appearance:

1. University of Wisconsin. “Tea and Health: Studies in Humans.” (2013), online: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235755294_Tea_and_Health_Studies_in_Humans
2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Green tea may lower heart disease risk.” (2012), online: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/green-tea-may-lower-heart-disease-risk
3. National University of Singapore. “Tea consumption reduces the incidence of neurocognitive disorders: findings from the Singapore Longitudinal Aging Study.” (2016), online: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12603-016-0687-0
4. Medical Daily. “4 Best Drinks To Fight Dementia: Drinking Tea Daily Reduces Risk of Cognitive Decline by 50 Percent In Old Age.” (2017), online: https://www.medicaldaily.com/4-best-drinks-fight-dementia-drinking-tea-daily-reduces-risk-cognitive-decline-415125
5. Harvard Health Publishing. “Tea: A good cup of health.” (2014), online: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/tea-a-cup-of-good-health
6. D. Tajeda. “Green Tea to fight sadness and depression.” (2013), online: https://greenteaweightlossabc.com/green-tea-to-fight-sadness-and-depression/
7. Jennifer Warner. “Drinking black tea may soothe stress.” (2006), online: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20061005/drinking-black-tea-may-soothe-stress#1
8. Jarrett Morrow. “The effects of green tea consumption and resistance training on body composition and resting metabolic rate in overweight or obese women.” (2012), online: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jmf.2012.0062
9. Jeanie Lerche Davis. “There’s something to be said for having ‘tea bones.’” (2000), online:https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/news/20000413/tea-bone-health#1
10. Harvard Health Publishing. “Flavonoids: The secret to health benefits of drinking black and green tea?” (2015), online: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/brewing-evidence-for-teas-heart-benefits
11. Global News. “Green tea extract may cause liver damage, Health Canada warns.” (2017), online: https://globalnews.ca/news/3864725/green-tea-extract-may-cause-liver-damage-health-canada-warns/