Tea may surpass coffee in popularity and health benefits

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by KING 5 HealthLink

KING5.com

Posted on May 22, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Updated Thursday, May 22 at 6:07 PM

Coffee has long been one of the most popular drinks in the U.S., but experts say that change is brewing. A beverage steeped in history is now starting to steal the spotlight – tea.

Angela used to rely on java to jump start her day.

“It would take five or six cups of coffee for me to even feel any effects,” she said.

So she took a coffee break and switched to tea.

“It’s exciting to go out there and try the different kinds,” said Angela.

Tea has now become trendy. George Jage, founder of the World Tea Expo, says tea sales are expected to grow about 50% in the next three years in the United States and could end up outselling coffee.

“The big reason tea is exploding in popularity in the United States right now is the number of places that tea is accessible,” said Jage, “and not just tea, but good tea and premium tea and specialty tea.”

Tea joints are popping up nationwide and tea menus are even expanding at retailers normally known their coffee.

“We’re seeing, especially in the United States, anywhere from 25 to 65, male and female,” said one retailer.

“They’re looking for new ways to taste new flavors and really experience tea as a healthy beverage alternative,” said Jage.

Dr. Donald Hensrud says tea’s health benefits have been studied extensively.

“It does seem to be related to a decreased risk of diabetes, possibly some cancer protection, possible benefits on blood pressure, and there does seem to be some data on decreasing risk of stroke,” said Dr. Hensrud.

While most people feel the same way as Angela that tea is a little bit better for you, coffee also has similar health perks. With either choice, most adults can safely consume up to 300 mg of caffeine per day.

“Black tea contains about half the amount of caffeine as coffee, so 8 ounces, about a little less than 50 mg and green tea about 25 mg,” said Dr. Hensrud.

Making it possible to drink larger amounts of tea without feeling side effects.

“Like anything, drinking too much tea is possible, but most people probably don’t get there,” said Dr. Hensrud.

While more research needs to be done on just how much tea will reap health benefits, Dr. Hensrud says it may be as little as two cups a day.

 
 

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