Tea is a beverage that is prepared using leaves harvested from a tea plant known as Camellia sinensis. For many years, tea in the Middle East has been regarded as key to wisdom, happiness and good health.
Today, tea and its benefits have caught the attention of many researchers throughout the world. With extensive research being performed on a variety of teas, researchers have discovered that some teas may help with diabetes, heart disease and cancer; bring about mental alertness, lower cholesterol and encourage weight loss.
According to the American Diabetic Association, tea is a great alternative to cof- fee drinking since it has reduced caffeine and the flavonoids compounds within it can reduce the risks of cancer and heart attacks.
Although there are many unanswered questions on how tea is supposed to be processed for the most health benefits together with how much to consume in a given serving, nutritionists agree that a variety of tea products being processed
today have many health benefits as they have less additive chemicals and fillers.
The different varieties of tea produced today have their own unique charac- teristics including different health benefits and different tastes. This variation in characteristics is based on the processing method used, the time of year picked and the region in which it was grown.
General Health Benefits of Tea
According to the Tea Association of USA, over 158 million Americans drink tea ei- ther iced or hot. In the past, tea has been used as an alternative medicine where it was used to treat different body ailments ranging from constipation to cancers. Re- searchers all over the world have unanimously attributed the many health benefits of tea to high levels of phytochemicals, tannin, catechins and polyphenols. Below are some of the many health benefits of tea.
- Prevent signs of aging
Tea has high levels of polyphenol antioxidants which deliver gorgeous benefits to the body. In a recent study, high levels of polyphenols reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the skin surface by strengthening both the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. This means that tea drinkers of the same age group as coffee drinkers will have fewer wrinkles and fine lines.
2. Protect against a boatload of cancers
Recent studies have attributed the high levels of antioxidants in a variety of teas
with reduction in the progression of cancers of the skin, breast, lung and gastroin- testinal tract. This is because the antioxidants present in tea have the ability to eliminate free radicals and body toxins from different body organs. This means the risk of cancer caused by high levels of certain toxins and free radicals will be re- duced.
3. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Research has shown that drinking as little as one cup of tea can provide the body with essential nutrients such as polysaccharides, which support healthy arte- rial function and to a greater extent reduce blood pressure. In addition, the pres- ence of certain antioxidants such as EGCG in tea can reduce the level of choles- terol in blood. This will significantly protect the body from the incidence of heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke among other cardiovascular diseases.
3. Tea and weight loss
Amazingly, tea has been shown to facilitate weight loss. This is because the high levels of polyphenols along with the reduced caffeine content stimulate dif- ferent organs of the body. This increases energy expenditure by increasing the metabolism process. In addition, the polyphenols increases fat oxidation and de- activates the enzyme that is responsible for catalyzing the process of fat building. This results in a constant weight loss and helps regular tea drinkers to maintain a healthy body weight.
4. Improve alertness, problem solving and bone strength
In a study published in a medical journal, tea drinking has been associated with a 40% reduction in hip fractures in women and men who are 50 years old and above. The study attributes this finding to high levels of polyphenols in tea which improves bone strength and quality. This makes tea an important beverage, espe- cially in the wake of osteoporosis.
In a separate study, it has been shown that individuals who drink 2 to 3 cups of tea within 2 hours provide more accurate results when performing a task that re- quires great attention as compared to individuals who drink only water or any other beverage apart from tea. The feeling of being more alert and better focused has been associated with caffeine and theanine in tea. These ingredients confer psycho- logical benefits that increases performance, mood and strengthens attention.