Tea is the second most consumed beverage worldwide (after water) largely due to its great taste, accessibility, and because it is believed to be very good for one’s health. While this is an ancient and profound belief, various scientific investigations have been undertaken to elaborate this particular point (Blumberg, 2002). When consuming tea, especially green tea regularly, the research suggests there is a reduced occurrence of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease (Butt and Sultan 2009). This particular fact is attributed to the presence of bioactive ingredients that exist in tea in high density. These ingredients are the source of the numerous health benefits attributed to tea.
But first, a bit…
It is believed that tea originated from China where, so the story goes, when Emperor Shen Nong was enjoying his cup of hot water, a leaf from the plant which came to be known as Camellia sinensis blew into his cup. The resulting taste was so great and the alert, yet calming affects immediately noticeable that this particular beverage started to get recognized.
Thousands of years hence, we still drink tea. There are various types of teas produced today: black, pu-erh, oolong, green and white.
How these types of teas differ depends when the leaves are picked and how they’re prepared. The maturity of the leaves is also important in influencing the type of tea that is produced (Babu and Liu 2008). To come up with a black tea, the leaves are required to be wilted and then they are exposed to the air so as to oxidize them. When it comes to green tea, the leaves are wilted but they aren’t oxidized for very long. Oolong tea is made by gently wilting the leaves before allowing them to partially oxidize. As for white tea, these leaves are picked at their youngest, most tender and are very quickly prevented from further oxidation.
All the five types are good when it comes to imbibing their health benefits. None of these are claims or implied claims for tea and its ability (or not) to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent disease. This only a summary of the research available online. It is for informational purposes only.
Once you decide you’re ready for a cup, use the following process for making tea: (1) Boil the water, turn off heat and wait until the water temperature reduces below a simmer. (2) Steep the tea bags for three minutes (depending on the strength you like your tea). (3) Optional. To accentuate the properties of the tea, add a slice of lemon into the beverage. Lemon in tea may enhance the body’s ability to utilize the antioxidants present in the beverage.
One good example of the bioactive ingredients available in tea is polyphenols. Polyphenols have been associated with activities like those of antioxidants, and having anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Tea has been shown to modulate detoxification enzymes, such that the immune function of the body is greatly stimulated (Lampe 2003) and there is a significant decrease of aggregation of platelets. Epigallocatechin gallate, which is also known as EGCG, is a specific great tea polyphenol that has a crucial health-promoting ability.
Health Factors Influenced
One of the greatest benefits of tea is in addressing heart disease. In some of the latest research, it has been found that tea, especially green tea, measurably improves heart function. Blood pressure situations can be significantly impacted, potentially alleviating cardiovascular problems.
Green tea is also associated with inhibiting absorption of cholesterol, the LDL particles of which can be very dangerous to the heart and blood vessels. Green tea is thought to potentially inhibit cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood stream (Fernandez-Panchon et al. 2008).
The research has recommended intake of four to five cups of green tea every day to maintain a healthy heart. More research continues to be undertaken so as to better understand the relation between green tea and cardiovascular health.
Preliminary research suggests the properties of black tea may be associated with preventing stroke. This may be in part due to its ability to help balance cholesterol as well as maintain good cardiovascular health.
Everyone knows that cancer is the leading killer-disease today. Tea research offers hope and very exciting results for those who want to prevent cancer. Green tea is known to reduce the occurrence of many types of cancers because it is composed of anti-tumor properties.
It has been found that, according to current findings in Japan, those who regularly take green tea have lower occurrence of cancer (eHow 2012). The researchers determined that the polyphenols in green tea impact the growth of cells associated with tumors or cancer. This means that the tumor’s growth process may slow down or even stop before the growth of the cancerous cells. It has also been established that even those people who have cancer and regularly drink green tea tend to live longer than those suffering who don’t drink this beverage. Investments in research are intensifying so as to find out the distinct properties of tea that may offer the ultimate solution when it comes to curbing the killer disease. However, it must be noted, green tea, or any tea, is not an absolute prophylactic or treatment able to cure cancer. Please seek medical advice regarding your specific condition.
Another benefit of tea that is of interest to many people is using tea for weight loss. According an increasing body of research, tea consumption has aided many people in losing extra fat. If a person takes in a moderately-portioned, healthy diet and engages in reasonable exercise then the tea boost makes those efforts that much more effective. Obesity has become a major problem worldwide partly due to the availability of many junk foods high in sugar and processed crap that cause intense desire and cravings. Tea, especially pu-erh tea can help manage those cravings.
When looking at studies of tea and health, we notice that tea is, not only a causative factor, but also a correlative factor in a healthy lifestyle. To achieve ones’ weight goals, it is fundamental to make the habit changes necessary to sustain weight loss, and embrace a healthier lifestyle, of which tea should be a key element. Besides the correlation tea has with a healthier lifestyle, it can offer additional weight loss benefits when tea replaces soda or any other fizzy or sugary drinks in daily consumption. Choosing tea as replacement for soda or any other beverage that is high in calories may work simply for the calorie drop: tea has 0 calories, compared to the average of 150 calories per can of soda.
Stress, and more
Drinking tea is also associated with relaxation because of an amino acid it contains known as L-Theanine (eHow 2012). While all Camellia sinensis tea contains L-Theanine, the content may vary depending on the type of tea.
L-Theanine, along with other polyphenols in tea may support the immune system, offer anti-bacterial properties, and also slow aging.
None of these are claims or implied claims for tea and its ability (or not) to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent disease. This only a summary of the research available online. It is for informational purposes only.