Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tea and the Cold and Flu Bug

November is commonly referred to as the start of the dreaded “cold and flu” season, and the CDC estimates this year that there will be more than 200,000 Americans affected and most likely calling out sick from work, school and even social gatherings. So what can one do to avoid the cold and flu?

While the CDC strongly recommends an annual flu vaccine as the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu, consumption of immunity-boosting beverages such as hot and iced tea year-round may also aid the body in staying healthy during the cold and flu season.

Published research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University indicates that tea contains a component that can help the body ward off infection and disease, and that drinking tea may strengthen the immune system. The researchers identified a substance in tea, theanine, which primes the immune system.

A subsequent human clinical trial showed that participants who drank five cups of Black Tea a day for two to four weeks boosted the body’s immune defense system by four times.

According to this study, the data suggests that drinking Black Tea provides the body’s immune system with natural resistance to infection.

While drinking tea may not completely protect you from getting sick this season, the CDC states that healthy adults have a 30% chance of contracting the flu even with an annual flu vaccination, and the vaccine may be somewhat less effective for children and the elderly.

So try to stay healthy this cold and flu season and don’t forget to drink your tea every day! For more information about the role of tea in a healthy diet and lifestyle, please visit www.teausa.org.

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