When the hot summer winds start to blow don’t hesitate to cool off with a glass of (unsweetened) iced tea. Currently, research is pouring in about the health benefits of drinking tea. Although tea has been consumed for centuries it has only been recently studied for its health promoting benefits that may act to prevent a number of chronic diseases and cancers. The latest medical research is describing the potential healing powers in this ancient beverage.
Drinking tea is an ancient custom with origins in China. There are basically three types of tea manufactured green tea, black tea and oolong tea. Green tea, black tea and oolong tea are all infusions of dried leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. Today approximately 3,000 varities of tea are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The difference between the teas is how the tea leaves are processed. Black tea has the leaves fermented before they are dried, oolong tea has partial fermentation and green tea the leaves are not fermented. Black tea has the highest consumption. In the west the highest consumers of tea are Great Britain and the United States.
One cup of tea depending on its strength will contain approximately 50 milligrams of caffeine. Tea is loaded with tannins, trace elements, vitamins, polyphenols (catechins, anthocyanins and phenolic acids). Since tea contains caffeine that is a stimulant but also acts as a diuretic increasing the flow of urine. Tea is aromatic in nature and there are many other good reasons to enjoy a tea. The catechins in the tea leaves act as powerful antioxidants that can be useful in improving health and preventing disease. Here are some reasons to drink tea:
- Antioxidants- The antioxidants in the tea protect your body from the effects of aging and pollution.
- Caffeine- Tea contains less caffeine than coffee thus causing less low blood sugars and insomnia.
- Bone health- Recently evidence shows that tea may protect and promotes stronger bones which many be related to the vitamins and polyphenols in the tea.
- Oral health- Tea contains fluoride that helps to prevent the plaque in your mouth, cavities and gum disease.
- Cardiovascular health- Green tea consumption has been associated with lowering plasma concentrations of cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
- Cancer- Cancer-preventive effects of tea especially green tea are widely supported by clinical studies.
- Weight loss- Tea increases your metabolism and has no calories.
- Arthritis- Research suggests that tea drinkers are less likely to develop some arthritic conditions.
- Immune system- You may be able to boost your immune system through drinking tea which is a key in preventing disease.
- Minerals- tea does contain some zinc and folic acid.
With all these wonderful benefits of drinking tea isn’t it about time for everyone to brew up a cup?