Tea offers health benefits to those who drink it because it is high in antioxidants, especially white and green teas. Antioxidants help protect your body from reactive oxygen agents in your body such as free radicals. These agents can lead to chemical reactions in your body that can cause harm.
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 in tea have been known to:
Help 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.
– Help prevent blood clotting
– Help lower cholesterol levels
– Help neutralize enzymes that aid in the growth of tumors
– Help deactivate cancer promoters
– Help stimulate the immune system
Tea also has fluoride for strong teeth, virtually no calories, and half the amount of caffeine found in an equally-sized cup of coffee. Whether decaffeinated tea has the same level of polyphenols, and thus the same health benefits, as regular tea has not yet been studied. Caffeine is a natural component of tea leaves. It is not yet known if removing caffeine also removes polyphenols.
Apart from polyphenols, tea also contains a variety of ingredients that are beneficial to one’s health. These include theanine (an amino acid unique to tea), vitamins, minerals, and methylxanthines. These are the components that are the source of the healthful properties of tea. These are known to:
– Help fight against mutagenic agents
– Help fight high blood pressure
– Help fight against viral and bacterial infection
– Help improve the functions of the digestive and excretory systems
If you are the type to fret over the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and other signs of growing old, oolong tea may be the answer to your worries. In a recent experiment carried out jointly by researchers from the US, Taiwan and Japan, mice which were fed tea displayed fewer signs of aging than mice that were fed water.
The wonder cup just got even more wonderful. Green tea, rich in antioxidant treasures that protect against heart disease and cancer, now shows promise as an allergy fighter. In laboratory tests, Japanese researchers have found that the antioxidants in green tea, block the biochemical process involved in producing an allergic response. Green tea may be useful against a wide range of sneeze-starting allergens, including pollen, pet dander, and dust.
Green tea catechins are chondroprotective and consumption of green tea may be prophylactic for arthritis and may benefit the arthritis patient by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown.
– Bone Strength
Tea flavonoids may be bone builders. A report in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine looked at about 500 Chinese men and women who regularly drank black, green, or oolong tea for more than 10 years. Compared with nonhabitual tea drinkers, tea regulars had higher bone mineral densities, even after exercise and calcium-which strengthen bones-were taken into account.
“Tea is one of the single best cancer fighters you can put in your body,” according to Mitchell Gaynor, MD, director of medical oncology at the world-renowned Strong Cancer Prevention Center in New York City and co-author of Dr. Gaynor’s Cancer Prevention Program. The latest tea discovery? Strong evidence that both green and black tea can fight cancer-at least in the test tube-though green tea holds a slight edge. In a new study, both teas kept healthy cells from turning malignant after exposure to cancer-causing compounds.
People who drink about 4 cups of green tea a day seem to get less cancer. Now we may know why. In recent test-tube studies, a compound called EGCG, a powerful antioxidant in tea, inhibited an enzyme that cancer cells need in order to grow. The cancer cells that couldn’t grow big enough to divide self-destructed. It would take about 4 cups of green tea a day to get the blood levels of EGCG that inhibited cancer in the study. Black tea also contains EGCG, but at much lower concentrations.
Tea can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Researchers at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, asked test subjects to eat low-fat, low-calorie prepared meals and drink five cups of caffeinated tea or caffeinated and non-caffeinated placebos that mimicked the look of tea. Levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol dropped 10 percent among the test subjects who drank tea.
– Heart Disease
Drinking black tea may lower the risk of heart disease because it prevents blood from clumping and forming clots. In a recent study, researchers found that while drinking black tea, the participants had lower levels of the blood protein associated with coagulation.
Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one,Ã“ says a Chinese proverb. Research is showing it may just be true. Dr. Kenneth Mukamal of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported that out of 1,900 heart-attack patients, those who drank two or more cups a day reduced their risks of dying over the next 3.8 years by 44 percent.
– Weight Loss
Trying to lose weight? Reach for a cup of green tea instead of a diet beverage. Compared to the placebo and caffeine, green tea extract consumption produced a significant 4% increase in 24-hour energy expenditure. If you consume 2,000 calories per day and don’t gain or lose weight (you’re in energy balance), an increase of 4% would translate roughly into an 80-calorie daily difference. Over a year, this could result in 89 pounds of weight loss.
Recent evidence shows that in the battle of fat loss, green tea may be superior to plain caffeine. According to a new study, green tea appears to accelerate calorie burning – including fat calories. Researchers suggest compounds in green tea called flavonoids may change how the body uses a hormone called norepinephrine, which then speeds the rate calories are burned.
To sum it up – by drinking 2-4 cups a day of tea, you can reap in the numerous curative and preventive tea benefits.
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