The Health Benefits of Tea

The many health benefits of tea have received increasing attention in the media and health world. Indeed, knowledge of these beneficial properties in tea has immensely contributed to the beverage’s resurgent popularity. Tea is widely believed to be nature’s ‘wonder drug’. While tea is belatedly gaining a lot of adherents in places like the United States, the beverage has long been popular in countries such as Japan, China, and India precisely due to its perceived ability to promote good health.

In many places in the globe, the buzz about tea and its health benefits is getting louder and is simply becoming too difficult to ignore. Enlightened tea drinkers are rediscovering the protective and revitalizing benefits of this ancient drink.

Have you ever wondered why the Chinese and Japanese have some of the longest life expectancy rates in the world? The secret may be hidden in plain sight: they drink tea a lot.

Read on! Embark on a journey of discovery about tea benefits.

Who knows? What you read here may eventually help in putting you and your family’s health on a better path.

First of all, you need to answer these very simple questions:

Are you concerned about the lurking threat of heart attacks and strokes that might hit you, your spouse or your parents anytime due to the adverse effects of a fat-filled diet, smoking, and drinking?
Are you worried that the stress of everyday life and exposure to harmful elements in the environment could wear your family’s defenses down and expose them to the threat of cancer?
Do you see the need to calm down, relax and find ways to detoxify your system so that your vital bodily organs may perform optimally?

If your answer to all those questions is YES, then you need to act now. Take a closer look at the benefits that tea drinking may give you and your family.

Regular tea and its wonders

Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world, exceeded only by the most necessary of all liquids – water. Tea is an integral part of everyday societal life in many of the world’s most populous countries. This has made tea the most popular beverage for a huge segment of the world’s people.

The most popular tea variety is prepared from linder leaves, leaf buds and tender stalks of different varieties of the warm-weather evergreen known as camellia sinensis. These popular types of tea are:

    – Green Tea
    – Black Tea
    – Oolong Tea
    – White Tea

The degree of processing the leaves of camellia sinensis determines whether a tea will be green, black, oolong or white. White tea and green tea undergo the least processing. These are typically steamed quickly and then packed. Black and oolong tea are partially dried, crushed and fermented. The length of fermentation, which causes the leaves to blacken, determines whether the tea will be black or oolong.

Recent research shows that any tea derived from camellia sinensis has cancer-fighting properties. The leaves of this plant contain chemicals called polyphenols, which give tea its antioxidant properties.

Polyphenols are believed to impart various tea benefits such as:

  • Helping protect cells from the normal, but damaging, physiological process known as “oxidative stress.” Although oxygen is vital to life, it’s also incorporated into reactive substances called free radicals. These can damage the cells in our body and have been implicated in the slow chain reaction of damage leading to heart disease and cancer.
  • Helping prevent blood clotting.
  • Helping lower cholesterol levels.
  • Helping neutralize enzymes that aid in the growth of tumors.
  • Helping stimulate the immune system.

Tea also contains fluoride for strong teeth, has virtually no calories, and half the amount of caffeine found in an equally-sized cup of coffee.  Apart from polyphenols, tea also contains a variety of ingredients that are beneficial to one’s health.  These include theanine, a type of amino acid unique to tea, vitamins, and minerals. These are the components that are the source of the healthful properties of tea.

These components in turn are believed to convey some tea benefits that include:

  • Helping fight against mutagenic agents.
  • Helping delay aging.
  • Helping fight high blood pressure.
  • Helping fight against viral and bacterial infection.
  • Helping improve the functions of the digestive and excretory systems.

Herbal teas: a class of their own

Beverages produced from either an infusion or a decoction of different parts of plants and herbs (other than the camellia sinensis plant mentioned above) are also loosely referred to as ‘herbal teas’ even though technically, they are not really teas. They are more appropriately referred to as ‘tisanes’. However, as generations have repeatedly used the term ‘herbal tea’ to describe these drinks, discussions on these beverages have also been included in this website.

Herbal teas are derived by immersing usually dried plant parts into either hot or boiling water within a specified period of time. The respective tea benefits are then gotten from the liquid that contains the essence of the herbs.

Parts such as the leaves, flowers and fruits are usually submerged in hot water for about 3 to 5 minutes to form herbal infusions. Among these include:

    – Chamomile tea
    – Peppermint tea
    – Echinacea tea
    – Nettle tea

Meanwhile, parts made of harder material such as the bark, seeds and roots are usually immersed in boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes to form herbal decoctions. Among these include:

    – Ginseng tea
    – Milk thistle tea
    – Pau d’arco tea

Each of these herbal teas typically contain phytochemical components, antioxidants and nutrients that may be beneficial to specific organs and functions of the body. A more thorough discussion of each tisane is presented in their respective individual pages within this website.

In general, drinking at least two cups of green tea, white tea, black tea or oolong tea a day may result in receiving numerous curative and preventive tea benefits.

As for the herbal teas or tisanes, many of these can be safely taken at least once per day for long periods of time while many others are not. Many herbs may have adverse reactions with certain medications. It is therefore best to consult with qualified herbologists and/or medical practitioners before taking any of the herbal teas.

Some interesting facts, did id you know that:

  • Tea contains about 20 types of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins are needed as the body’s cells need enzymes to exist, survive and divide. And enzymes are made of proteins. L-theanine is the most abundant type of amino acid in green tea. Read more about amino acids here.
  • Tea leaves are said to be high in Vitamin K. This vitamin’s most important function is to aid in blood clotting. A deficiency of this vitamin may lead to impaired clotting and hence, more open to easy bruising and bleeding. Go here for more info on Vitamin K.
  • Antioxidants in tea help fight the ravages of free radicals that are seen as the source of many of today’s debilitating diseases. Did you know that aside from the catechins that are so abundant in tea, there are a lot of other types of antioxidants? Discover them all here.
  • Tea leaves and drink have very high mineral content. Minerals are the chemical elements that support certain structural and functional roles in the human body. Among the minerals abundant in tea are phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese. Find out more about Minerals here.
  • Herbal Teas are more properly referred to as ’tisanes’ or more loosely, infusions, to distinguish them from the true teas which are derived from the camelia sinensis plant. Tisanes are made from placing herbs in hot, near-boiling, or even boiling water, and then steeping them for a short period of time. There are thousands of herbs that can be made into tisanes. Discover some of these herbs here.
  • The quality of the water used to brew the tea is very important. It is believed that the water used must be free of contaminants and contain enough oxygen to enhance the natural flavor of the tea. Teas made with pure water yield a crisp flavor and a clear brew that is aesthetically pleasant. Learn more about the health benefits of water here.