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Hot or cold, green, black, white or herbal, for more than 5000 years we consume tea for its refreshing taste, energizing boost and health benefits.
Each tea has unique benefits, yet with a humble cup of tea, our body and mind get many essential nutrients we might not be aware of. However, which tea should we be drinking? Which kind is the best? And why should we drink it?
Tea contains powerful compounds that have many health benefits. It is composed of polyphenols, alkaloids (caffeine), amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, fluoride, aluminum, and minerals. According to a research, a large group of chemicals are catechins, which are thought to be responsible for the many health benefits of tea.
Health benefits of tea are well documented, with numerous studies showing why we should enjoy a cup of tea.
The reason tea is one of the healthiest beverages in the world is due to antioxidants (polyphenols) and phytochemicals. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured many studies that explain the benefits of tea, presenting numerous reasons why tea is a mighty health booster:
- Tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack, and help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
- The antioxidants help protect against many cancers (stomach, skin, lung, breast, colon, liver)
- Tea helps destroy and fight free radicals (the damage of these free radicals is linked to heart disease and cancer).
- Tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
- Tea is a hydrating drink despite caffeine; it maintains a normal hydration.
- Tea protect from ultraviolet rays (green tea polyphenols protect from ultraviolet injury).
- Tea can counteract the negative effects of smoking.
- Green tea might improve bone mineral density and protect against fracture.
- Tea is found to be beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes (green tea helps better process of sugars)
- Antioxidants and caffeine increase metabolism and promote weight loss.
- Tea is found to be effective in the treatment of neurological diseases.
- Antioxidants increase the body’s ability to burn fat (and could improve muscle endurance).
- Tea helps with learning, memory, concentration and performance.
Thus, which tea is the healthiest?
First, you need to know the difference between tea varieties; green, black, oolong and white teas are derived from one particular plant Camellia sinensis (they undergo different processes), and herbal tea, which isn’t technically a tea, is an infusion of a different plant.
Black tea contains the most caffeine (40 milligrams per cup) and has a bitter flavor.
Black tea contains thearubigins and theaflavin, antioxidants that are helpful in lowering the cholesterol levels. Traditional cuppa is rich in manganese and fluoride, which keeps the bones strong.
To sum up, black tea contains:
● Amino acids
What about black tea health benefits?
One study at University College London found that black tea decreases the levels of stress hormone cortisol. Studies show that the amino acid L-theanine help us relax and concentrate better.
Improves cardiovascular health
If you drink three or more cups of black tea on a daily basis, you will cut the risk of stroke by 21 percent, scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found in a study that involved 75,000 men and women.
According to Boston’s School of Medicine, black tea reverses the abnormal functioning of blood vessels, and prevents strokes and cardiovascular problems.
A research paper called “ Green and black tea consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis”, shows that individuals who consume 3 or more cups of tea have a 21% lower risk of a stroke than people who consume less than 1 cup of tea per day.
Lowers the risk of diabetes
Based on a research study, people who had been consuming black tea on a long-term basis on a moderate level, 1-2 cups a day, had a 70% lower chance of having or developing type 2 diabetes.
Polyphenols in black tea kill cavity-causing bacteria. Studies suggest that black tea reduces plaque formation and restricts growth of bacteria that promotes tooth decays.
Black tea is rich in tannins that have a positive effect on the digestive system, which means that black tea can help with digestive disorders.
According to studies and research done through years, it is suggested that antioxidants like polyphenol and catechins in tea may help prevent some types of cancer. However, a lot more research is required to confirm these suggestions.
Remember: putting milk in black tea reduces the antioxidant value
Relieves an upset stomach
A cup of black tea may help you with upset stomach. The compound called tannins, which is present in black tea, have a helpful astringent effect on the intestinal lining. A study showed that black tea tablets can be effective and inexpensive way to help manage diarrhea in children with acute non bacterial diarrhea.
Black tea possesses powerful potent antibacterial and antioxidant powers. Phenolic compounds and tannins have the ability to inhibit some types of bacteria.
Black tea can also be beneficial for the following problems and concerns:
● Due to caffeine, black tea can alleviate headaches and boost mental activity. The recommended dosage is up to 250 milligrams of caffeine per day.
● A cup of black tea each day can reduce heart attack and kidney stone risk
● One to four cups of black tea, which is 125 to 500 milliliters, each day can prevent hardening of the arteries
● When black tea is consumed with honey it can prevent infections, including ulcers and specifically kill H. pylori bacteria
Note: Black tea is the most processed tea of all teas.