Why is tea, as opposed to coffee or other beverages, more beneficial for fighting off cold symptoms?
Tea catechins, which are a type of phenolic compound found in plant foods, are natural antioxidants. Antioxidants work in the body to protect cells from free radical damage. Drinking tea regularly may help boost your immune system and ease cold symptoms if you happen to get sick.
How do the flavonoids in tea help combat congestion, coughs, inflammation, etc?
Some research has been done looking into the effect of tea consumption on flu and cold viruses and there is some evidence that the catechins in tea may inhibit the viruses from attaching to host cells and from replicating. Additionally, drinking a hot beverage like tea can help loosen secretions in the chest and sinuses, which helps to clear congestion. Warm beverages can also soothe a sore throat and cough.
What is the best way to sip tea for a cold and what are the benefits of adding lemon and honey?
Adding honey to your cup of tea can help improve your cold symptoms thanks to it’s antimicrobial properties. Let the tea steep for several minutes before adding the honey – water that is too hot can destroy the health benefits. Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice is another way to add even more antioxidants and vitamin C to your cup of tea! If you enjoy your tea with a splash of milk, keep in mind that the fat and protein in milk may deactivate the antioxidant compounds in tea and reduce the cold-fighting benefits.
So what is my tea of choice for cold and flu season?
Green tea! It contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is one of the most powerful compounds in tea. This powerful antioxidant makes green tea an excellent choice to sip on throughout cold and flu season. Bottled teas often have sweeteners added, so brew your own green tea at home, letting it steep in 180 degree water for 4-15 minutes before enjoying!