Tea and health
Drinking tea has been associated with a healthy lifestyle for thousands of years. Researches have discovered many medical benefits from drinking tea. Such benefits include lower risk of cancer, slowed aging, weight loss and even enhanced performance in sports. But there are many others too.
Tea contains polyphenols (Catechin, Flavonoids, L-theanine etc.), which are very beneficial to our health (more info: Tea in general). These polyphenols are the active ingredients that help our bodies fight external threats.
Free radicals are atoms with an odd number of electrons. They can be formed where oxygen interacts with certain body cells (oxidation). They make us age, and are also the source of many chronical diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. To prevent damage from free radicals, the body has a defense system of antioxidants. Anti-oxidation means that cancer cells are suppressed and controlled. It has been a trend in health related fields over the past few decades. The polyphenols in tea contain a high level of antioxidants, making them effective in fighting against free radicals.
“A cup of tea a day, keeps the doctor away” should be the new slogan.
Vitamin E is another well-known source of antioxidants. It is used as a preservative in many kinds of products from canned food to beauty products. Studies show that Catechin is very efficient in getting rid of free radicals. It is 20 times more powerful than vitamin E. This is why tea is great for anti-aging and keeping us healthy.
Tea also prevents certain forms of body fat from transforming into a source of arteriosclerotic and cardiovascular diseases. Studies show that tea can prevent low-density lipoprotein (LDL) entering our blood vessels. This helps to decrease the rate of heart related diseases. Garlic and brassicaceous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli, are efficient in lowering the rate of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Reports from American Heart Association show that the Flavonoids from black tea are 40% stronger.
The Catechin in tea helps stabilize the glycogen levels in muscles. It reduces the burning speed to increase muscular endurance. It is beneficial to endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, to consume tea often.
Gurgling with tea is good for preventing tooth decay and bleeding gum.
University of South Florida (USF) conducted a neuroimmunology study with mice. Green tea reduced the production of beta-amyloid protein in their brains. This protein is related to memory loss and neural damage for example in Alzheimer’s disease. Japanese studies revealed that 4 cups of green tea per day for elders helps drop the chance of getting Alzheimer’s by up to 45%. It also helps elders to slow down the process of hearing loss.
L-theanine is another constituent of green tea. It has been linked with many health benefits. These benefits include for example heightened cognitive function and alleviation of psychological stress. Countries such as Japan, Taiwan and USA have approved it as an additive in all foods. Whereas, European Union and Canada have prohibited using health claims related to L-theanine. There is no conclusive evidence to either direction at this point. The effects of L-theanine on human body are still under research.
Swedish Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm has monitored ladies over 40 for 20 years. They’ve been trying to find out how tea relates to a person’s health condition. A study tested the connection with those who have ovarian cancer. Results show that drinking tea daily can help reduce the possibility of cancer up to 46%. Do bear in mind that drinking tea won’t make you cancer free, but provides an option to keep us healthier.
The above information refers to tea brewed without additives, such as sweeteners. If you for example add too much sugar to your cup of tea, you run the risk of countering the health benefits. I would recommend you to make your own tea, even if from tea bags. And if you buy tea from cafés, make sure you know that the source is safe and clean without unnecessary additives.
All in all, instead of treating tea as a remedy to possible ailments, treat is as an elixir for life – to be sipped daily.