"It is not exactly accurate to say that tea is healthier than coffee. Tea (like coffee) should be drunk in moderation as excessive caffeine consumption can cause sleeplessness, restlessness, an elevated heart rate or irritation to the digestive tract,” shares Javier Won, a Dietitian from Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH). SKCH is managed by SingHealthCommunity Hospitals (SCH), a member of the SingHealth group.

“Also found in tea are tannins (a compound found in bark, leaves and fruit), which bind with the iron present in our food, leaving less iron available for absorption by the digestive tract. Therefore, adults are generally recommended to limit their tea intake to no more than 3 cups per day,” Javier added.

Alternatively, you can enjoy herbal teas, which contain lesser or no caffeine. These are brewed from the roots, leaves, flowers and other components from a range of plants such as chamomile, mint and chrysanthemum.

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Rich in antioxidants

Tea is rich in polyphenols (also known as antioxidants) such as flavonols, theaflavins and catechins.

These polyphenols not only contribute to the distinct flavour and aroma of tea but may also have health-promoting properties such as lowering cholesterol and sugar levels and reducing blood pressure. However, more research and human studies are needed to show conclusive health benefits.

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How you drink your tea determines how healthy it is

Plain tea by itself does not contain any calories.

However, be mindful of the additional ingredients that go into your tea such as milk, sugar or tapioca pearls (in the case of bubble tea), which increases your beverage’s calorie content considerably and can cause weight gain.

Here are the calories and amount of sugar found in popular tea drinks:

Teh O Kosong (Tea with no milk, no sugar)

Calories (kcal) = 0

Sugar (g) = 0

Teh C Kosong (Tea with evaporated milk, no sugar)

Calories (kcal) = 30kcal

Sugar (g) = 1g-2g

Teh C (Tea with evaporated milk and sugar)

Calories (kcal) = 90kcal

Sugar (g) = 18g

Teh (Tea with condense milk and sugar)

Calories (Kcal) = 124kcal

Sugar (g) = 25g

Bubble tea

Calories (Kcal) = 320kcal

Sugar (g) = 56g

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