Photo by Katherine Tallmadge
Jasmine Scented Green Tea
Jasmine Scented Green Tea

A tea timeout is my favorite way to de-stress a day. It feels so civilized to relax with a warm cup of jasmine-scented green tea or perhaps the traditional English treat, black tea with milk - "white," as they say. No wonder the fathers of our country took up arms for their right to drink it. Still, with all the myths we hear about nutrition, I've always wondered, is tea as healthful as many people believe?

Although tea has been enjoyed around the world for some 5,000 years, it wasn't until relatively recently that scientists started searching for the facts.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, epidemiological studies - the kind following large populations' eating and disease patterns - found tea drinking might be associated with better health. But no clear cause-and-effect relationship between health and tea was established.

Recent studies have been promising. What did they find? Just about every cell in the body could potentially benefit from tea - with virtually no downsides. Read about the health benefits of tea and my "7 Tips for Tea Drinkers" in Thursday's Washington Post.

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