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Senior Health: Drink Tea

By admin, 6:06 pm on

What do 2 Billion men and women do every morning? They drink tea. Astonishing, but true, 28.5% of the world’s population starts the day with tea.  These people are on to something, too.  Tea is very good for us.   In fact, it is so good for us it has virtually no downsides.

True tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.  The method of processing determines whether it is black, white, green, or oolong and how much of the original leaf’s flavonoids survive in the end product.  Most fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have flavonoids, a.k.a. antioxidants, which are the good-for-us compounds that help support our immune systems and rebuild damaged cells.  Jeff Blumberg, a professor of nutrition science at Tufts University said, “About 1/3 of the weight of the tea leaf is flavonoids, which is high, especially when you consider there are almost no calories.  A serving of tea is like adding a serving of fruits or vegetables to your diet.”  In addition, tea:

  • Helps your heart by keeping blood vessels healthier (University of L’Aquila, Italy)
  • Improves bone health and muscle strength by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation and preventing bone breakdown (Texas Tech University)
  • It can improve cognitive function by improving blood flow to the brain (National Institute of Health)
  • Might reduce cancer risks, although studies have been inconclusive
  • Can help you lose weight by increasing energy expenditure and fat burning (Maastricht University)
  • Can help you reduce stress, due to the amino acid, L-theanine, combined with caffeine.   (Dutch researcher for Unilever)

If you’ve heard you should only drink water for good health, read this: The National Academy of Sciences says tea and coffee are as hydrating as water.  This is excellent news for me, a confirmed and life-long tea drinker, and for most of the seniors in my life, who drink coffee, and lots of it.

Staying hydrated is a year round challenge for older adults; it is not just a warm weather concern.  Aging bodies change the way they function:

  • Older bodies are less efficient at communicating thirst, so we need to hydrate regularly.
  • Medications can cause dehydration through a diuretic effect.
  • Older kidneys are less able to regulate fluids.

Watch for signs of dehydration:

  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

If you suspect your elder may be dehydrated, the condition may be very serious.  Call their regular physician for advice or go to the emergency room.

When your aging parent or loved one needs home care in Lincoln or elsewhere in SE Nebraska, call Home Care Assistance, we can be reached at (402)261-5158.