The food you eat can affect your health and your risk of certain diseases. To eat healthier food, learn to change some of your daily habits.
You also may need to change some things in your environment. Your environment includes everything around you, like your home or the place you work.
Having a cup of tea is not only refreshing but also considered a healthy diet.
Many people who work increasingly long hours and take their work home with them usually enjoy having a tea break, giving them the space to think and relax.
In our previous article titled “10 Facts every Taraban should know about Tea – Part 1”, it was mentioned that ‘True tea’ is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else (like herbal “tea”) is an infusion of different plants and isn’t technically tea.
However, some of the beneficial health properties contained in this plant were not mentioned. So, before we look at the health benefits of tea and why it should be included in our daily meals for healthy living, we need to understanding one of the basic medical property that tea contains. This may help us to appreciate and value it more.
Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (an antioxidant) and phytochemicals.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are human-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage.
Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions.
We are exposed to free radicals:
- Through by-products of normal processes that take place in your body (such as the burning of sugars for energy and the release of digestive enzymes to break down food).
- When the body breaks down certain medicines.
- Through pollutants.
Antioxidants include some vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), some minerals (such as selenium), and flavonoids, which are found in plants.
The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. You can find flavonoids in fruits, red wine, and teas.
You can also buy antioxidant supplements, but it is best to obtain antioxidants from a healthy diet.
Having known what antioxidants are and its importance to our health, tea also have other potentialities which include;
- Bioactive chemicals
- Amino acids
It is on this note that we have to look at some of the many health benefits of tea.
Health Benefits of Tea
- Tea can boost exercise endurance.
- Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack.
- Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
- The antioxidants in tea might help protect against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers.
- Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC” to its friends), which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals (which can damage DNA) in the body.
- Tea is hydrating to the body (even despite the caffeine!).
- Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.
- Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays.
- Tea could keep waist circumference in check.
- Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the adverse effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer (good news, of course, but not a justification for cigs).
- Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
- Tea can assist the body recover from radiation. Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
- Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (Alzheimer). While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
Though most research on tea is highly positive, it’s not all definitive which is why you should keep these conditions in mind before stocking up on gallons of tea:
- Keep it cool. Repeatedly drinking hot beverages may boost the risk of esophageal cancer. Give tea several minutes to cool off before sipping.
- Chemicals in tea may react differently in the lab than they do in the human body. Tannins (and the other good stuff in green tea) may not be bio-available for humans, meaning tea might not always benefit human health to the same degree as lab studies suggest.
- All tea drinks are not created equal. The body’s access to the good stuff in tea might be determined by the tea variety, canning and processing, and the way it was brewed.
Tea should be safe to consume — just not in excessive amounts. So brew up a batch of the good stuff — hot or cold — and enjoy the benefits of its great components on your health.