Tea & Health (natural Powers of Tea)
With a rapidly growing movement towards adopting healthier living, tea has a head start. It has been acclaimed for its medicinal properties since ancient times by the Chinese and other eastern cultures. Today, scientific research and modern medicine affirm that tea, whether Black, Oolong, Green, or White and other Herbal drinks such as Rooibos may provide an impressive list of health benefits.
WHAT MAKES TEA SO HEALTHY?
It’s all about the antioxidants!
Tea contains extremely high levels of antioxidants. These are molecules that assist eliminating the harmful effects caused by free-radicals.
1) Free Radicals
Free Radicals are produced by the body to aid in metabolic processes, such as digestion and the conversion of food into energy. They are actually quite helpful in many of the body’s natural functions. However, when too many are produced, they can turn against you and become a dangerous enemy. Each free radical is capable of destroying an enzyme, protein, molecule or even damage cell structures so badly that immunity is impaired and DNA codes are altered. When this happens, it is called oxidation (much like what happens to that rusted nail or the cut apple). An overpopulation of these “free radicals” leaves the body susceptible to viruses, cancer, heart disease, and many degenerative diseases. The amount of the free radicals in our bodies depends on our exposure to stress, carcinogens (cigarette smoke), ultra-violet light, certain food additives, and other toxic chemicals.
Our bodies try to protect us from free radical damage by using antioxidants found in out diet. Antioxidants are protective molecules, which can destroy free radicals by feeding electrons to them, thus neutralizing and rendering them harmless. Whilst antioxidants naturally inhibit the growth and formation of free radicals, they do not stop them. Antioxidants are also referred to as free radical scavengers. Increasing your daily intake of antioxidants can significantly help neutralize the damaging effects of these free radicals.
“Scientist now believe that free radicals are a causal factor in nearly every known disease from cancer, heart disease, to arthritis”
Lester Packer Ph. D. The Antioxidant Miracle
Tea also contains flavonoids which restrict the buildup of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and helps raise good cholesterol (HDL) - this helps with blood vessel functionality. It assists in controlling blood clotting, improves circulation, and reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries. Another powerful component of tea known as polyphenols, activate the enzyme that is directly responsible for dissolving and breaking down Triglycerides. Excess Triglycerides and high cholesterol are the major cause of heart disease.
Recommended Tea: Black, Oolong, and Green
The feature tea in this department is Rooibos. This South African herbal infusion contains almost no oxalic acid, making it a good beverage for people prone to kidney stones. Studies have also shown that this tea contains anti-spasmodic agents, which can relieve stomach cramping and colic in infants. However, polyphenols in tea also help with digestion of fatty foods by increasing the flow of digestive juices.
Recommended Teas: Rooibos and Green
Mood and Nervous System
Theanine, an amino acid found almost exclusively in tea, is known to reduce physical and mental stress and at the same time produce feeling of relaxation and happiness, improving mood. It is known to stimulate Alpha brain waves, known to elicit a relaxed yet alert mental state.
Herbs like mint, lavender, linden, licorice, or chamomile are all natural ingredients that aid in easing tension and soothing the nervous system.
Recommended Tea: Green, White, Rooibos and other Herbal blends
Strengthens Immune System
Vitamin C, found in Green tea and Rooibos helps to treat the flu and the common cold. Moreover, antioxidants in tea have shown to increase the number of white blood cells in our immune system. Ginger root is also a natural ingredient powerful in its immune building properties.
Recommended Tea: White, Green, Rooibos and select Herbal blends
Free radicals also speed up the process of aging, such as breakdown of collagen. In addition, because they react with oxygen, free radicals reduce the oxygen supply to your cells. A group of antioxidants found in Green and White tea known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), combined are at least 100 times more effective than Vitamin C and 25 times more effective than Vitamin E at protecting cells and DNA damage.
Anti-inflammatory and high antioxidant levels in Rooibos make this native South African tea a strong candidate to help slow down the natural aging process.
Recommended Tea: Green, White and Rooibos
Strong Teeth and Bones
Polyphenols found in tea may reduce plaque, which lowers your chance of cavity and gum disease. Tea also contains fluoride that helps protect against tooth decay. Fluoride is extracted from the soil by the tea plant. This identified mineral also strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis.
Recommended Tea: Black and Green
The type of caffeine found in Yerba Mate differs from that of coffee. Caffeine found in Yerba Mate is known as “matteine” and is absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower rate, and as a result, it is able to give the body increased energy levels for a longer time, without the sudden “crash” often associated with coffee. It has a natural ability to uplift the spirit, boost energy, and improve mood without causing nervousness or jitters.
Recommended Tea: Yerba Mate
Studies have shown that when theanine is absorbed into the body, it can help to bring about a relaxed yet alert state of mind. Theanine, an amino acid, is found almost exclusively in tea.
Allergies, Complexion, and Headaches
High in minerals like copper, iron, potassium, calcium, fluoride, zinc, manganese, alpha-hydroxy (for healthy skin) and magnesium (for the nervous system) and naturally caffeine free, Rooibos is also an excellent beverage abundant in health benefits ranging from relieving headaches, hypertension, allergies and skin conditions!
Tea is highly beneficial in assisting with weight loss. In particular, the polyphenols found in tea assist in the following areas:
1) Polyphenols found in tea activates the enzyme that is responsible for dissolving triglyceride (a by-product of processed sugars and fat). Excess triglyceride is stored in fat cells. The net result is that the polyphenols help break down fat cells.
2) Catechin (a polyphenol) found in Green and Oolong tea, inhibits the conversion of carbohydrates and glucose in fat cells. With slowed breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars, blood insulin levels are stabilized and are not as volatile. The prevention of sharp increase in blood-insulin levels causes the body to burn more fat cells.
3) Increase our metabolism and therefore energy consumption. These compounds work with other chemicals to intensify levels of fat oxidation and thermo genesis, where heat is created in the body by burning fuels such as fat.
4) Act as an appetite suppressant. Tea contains chemicals that help reduce our appetite.
Oolong teas in particular ….
1) Burn over 157% more fat than other teas – therefore becoming the most popular tea type to accelerate weight loss.
2) Raises your metabolism by 20% by increasing the expenditure of energy and boosting oxidation of body fat.
Recommended Teas: Oolong, Green, and Yerba Mate
Integrate tea into a balanced diet with a regular exercise routine and you are off to a great start!
STUDIES- TEA UNDER A MICROSCOPE
Teal Awareness Ribbon
A study in Sweden found that women in the study who drank two or more cups a day (Either Green or Black) had 46% reduced health risk of ovarian cancer compared to the non-tea drinkers.
Purple Awareness Ribbon
A recent study has been published by the European Journal of Neuroscience. According to researchers at the Douglas Hospital Research Center (DHRC), their finding suggests that regular consumption of black or green tea may help reduce the risk of degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer disease. It appears that the catechins found in the tea may help protect neurons from the hazardous proteins that destroy them.
Red Awareness Ribbon
A recent study, conducted by Dr. Howard Sesso et al. at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, examined 340 men and women who had suffered heart attacks and found that those who drank a cup or more of black tea daily had a 44 percent reduction in heart attack compared to non-tea drinkers.
Grey Awareness Ribbon
A new study by DSM Nutritional Products shows that epigallocatechin gallate, commonly known as EGCG, improves glucose in diabetic rodents and could be a positive addition to dietary prevention of type 2 diabetes, if the result can be applied to humans.
GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TEA….
1) One cup of tea is equivalent to 10 portions of vegetables.
2) Allow tea to steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins. (Note: The longer you brew Green tea you may get some bitterness. The recommending timing for a smoother cup of Green tea should be kept closer to 3 minutes).
3) The best way to get the catechins and other flavonoids in tea is to drink freshly brewed. Decaffeinated, bottle ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of the compounds.
4) Matcha Green tea has 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice and 8 times the beta carotene of Spinach- it’s known as a “Super Food”.