Health Benefits of Tea
Tea has been consumed throughout the globe for thousands of years. Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverages in the world, next only to water. Numerous studies have proven that tea contains substances that can lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. Tea is derived from the leaves of the plant, Camellia sinensis, and includes four varieties, namely, green, white, black, and oolong.
What Makes Tea so Special?
Tea leaves are rich in chemicals known as polyphenols. The polyphenols found in tea leaves include catechins and epicatechins. The process involved in making green tea includes fermentation and this further boosts the levels of polyphenols. The polyphenols are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play an important role in neutralizing free radicals in our body. Free radicals, or oxidants are chemicals that are produced by our cells as a by-product of their day-to-day functions. Increased levels of oxidants can cause serious harm to our body and can cause diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Benefits of Drinking Tea
The key benefits of drinking tea are listed below:
- Maintaining Healthy Body Weight: Studies have shown that polyphenols in tea, along with the caffeine content, helps in burning calories and fat. This helps in maintaining a healthy body weight. Studies have also shown that tea drinkers have lower BMIs.
- Lowering Risk of Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases: The antioxidants present in tea play an important role in lowering the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Green tea has been found to lower the risk of prostate, gastrointestinal tract, breast, lung, and skin cancers. A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association proves that consuming black tea for about six months can lower systolic blood pressure.
- Enhancing Bone Strength: Consumption of tea has shown to improve bone strength and density, particularly in people suffering from osteoporosis.
- Increasing Alertness: The caffeine and the amino acid Theanine, present in tea help in improving a person’s attentiveness. They also serve as a great mood booster. The combination of amino acid and caffeine reduces reaction time and improves focus and concentration.
- Boosting Resistance Towards Allergens: The polyphenols present in tea and a flavanol, quercetin, commonly found in tea leaves, helps in boosting resistance towards allergens. The polyphonol EGCG is found to be useful in reducing allergies caused by pollens.
- Reducing the Risk of Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease: Studies have shown that people who drink two to three cups of tea per day are less likely to exhibit signs of dementia and Parkinson’s disease. This can also be attributed to the presence of polyphenols in tea leaves.
- Reducing the Risk of Diabetes: Regular consumption of caffeinated tea helps in reducing the risk of diabetes. The compounds present in tea leaves make it easier to process sugars better thereby reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Helping You Look Younger: White tea is very rich in polyphenols which can strengthen collagen and elastin thereby inhibiting the production of wrinkles and fine lines in both men and women.
- Lowering Levels of Inflammation: Consumption of tea can also help in lowering inflammation. The antioxidants present in tea leaves have anti-inflammatory properties and are known to alleviate symptoms of atherosclerosis.
- “Effects of Tea Consumption on Nutrition and Health” by Chung S. Yang, et al. Published in October 2000 , Volume 130, of the Journal of Nutrition, accessed on 8 May 2015. Retrieved from: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/10/2409.full.pdf+html