The Many Benefits of Tea

by Michelle on March 4, 2020

Tea has been around for centuries as both a beverage as well as a medicine.  It’s said to originate in Southwest China around 2737 BC as a medicinal drink and it spread across Europe during the 16th century.  Tea was originally brewed using loose leaves but with the invention of the tea bag in about 1903 it became faster and much easier to brew a cup…thus increasing its use.  Today tea is almost as popular as coffee since more people are generally more health conscious and recognize the many benefits, both for health as well as weight loss, that a cup can provide.

Some of the many benefits of tea include its antioxidant content, it may boost the immune system, it can soothe the digestive system, it helps with weight loss, may help protect bones, can help brighten your smile, may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, might help manage diabetes, and it has a lowered caffeine content compared to coffee.  With all of these benefits it’s no wonder many more people are becoming interested in adding tea to their diet.

The beneficial element in tea is called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)…the most abundant catechin (an antioxidant) in tea, and is a polyphenol (another antioxidant) important for its potential to affect human health and disease.  Polyphenols have antioxidant properties as well as catechins but they also play an important role in preventing and reducing the progression of certain diseases like diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.  In addition, they play an important role as a prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is important for health, weight management, and disease prevention.

With so many types of teas out there here is a quick overview of some you might like to try first:

Black Tea:  Made with fermented leaves and has the highest caffeine content and is the base for many flavored teas like chai; studies have shown it may have health benefits in protecting the lungs from damage caused by cigarette smoke and may reduce the risk of stroke.  Caffeine = 60-90 mg/8 oz. cup

Oolong Tea:  Made with partially fermented leaves and has more caffeine than green tea but less than black tea; studies have shown it can help lower bad cholesterol levels and can aid in weight loss.  Caffeine = 50-75 mg/8 oz. cup

Green Tea:  Made with steamed leaves (unfermented) and has a high concentration of EGCG; it may aid in treating a whole host of various diseases as well as being beneficial for increased metabolism, weight loss, and weight management.  Caffeine = 35-70 mg/8 oz. cup

White Tea:  Made with uncured and unfermented leaves; studies have shown it has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.  Caffeine = 30-55 mg/8 oz. cup

There is also a category of teas known as “Herbal Teas” that are made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots and they can also include tea leaves as well.  They have lower concentrations of antioxidants than green, oolong, black, and white teas and varieties like ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, hibiscus, jasmine, rosehip, mint, rooibos (red tea), chamomile, and echinacea all have a variety of health benefits.

Even if you aren’t trying tea for any health reasons, it’s sure to help you relax by causing you to slow down a bit while you enjoy it…and that’s reason enough to give it a try if you haven’t already.  While tea seems relatively harmless compared to prescription medications use caution as some may not interact well with your prescriptions or any treatment you might be undergoing for a particular ailment.  Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before adding tea to your routine to make sure it’s advisable.

Michelle

Michelle

Michelle

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