Tea is among the most popular beverages known all over the world. In fact, it is the most commonly consumed beverage after water. The simple tea leaf has conquered the world and has become a beloved drink that billions of people enjoy. However, tea is not just an ordinary beverage. This delicately flavored drink offers numerous important health benefits.
Tea is a caffeine-containing beverage made by steeping the dried leaves and buds of the shrub Camellia Sinensis in hot water for a few minutes. The origin and history of tea and tea drinking is unclear but the use of tea as a beverage drunk on special occasions, dates from the Tang Dynasty in China . The first Europeans may have encountered tea while journeying through Asia . Soon, tea became very popular in Europe , especially among the wealthy.
There are many varieties of tea including black, green and red (oolong) tea. All of these tea variants offer many health benefits. Studies have found out that tea contains polyphenols. This gives tea its antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties. A number of studies have proven the anti-cancer properties of polyphenols. This antioxidant help protect cells from the normal, but damaging physiological process known as "oxidative stress". Oxygen, in spite of its being a very vital component of life, is also incorporated in substances called free radicals. These substances damage the cells in the body and is said to cause heart disease and cancer.
The polyphenols in tea can reduce gastric, esophageal and skin cancers. Polyphenols can also help prevent blood clotting and lower cholesterol levels. All types of tea contain polyphenols, regardless of the processing method, whether black, green or oolong. Herbal teas, on the other hand, are not derived from the Camellia Sinensis and do not have the same health-promoting properties. Most herbal teas are only infusions made with herbs, flowers, roots and spices.
Another health benefit of tea is that it has virtually no calories. Tea is a perfect beverage for people who are trying to reduce weight. It is also a preferred alternative to coffee as it has less caffeine. A cup of tea contains half the amount of caffeine in an equally-sized cup of coffee. A cup of tea contains 40mg of caffeine compared to 85mg in a cup of brewed coffee. Iced teas have the same antioxidant power. It is not known yet whether decaffeinated tea has the same polyphenols.
Tea also contains fluoride for strong teeth. Inevitably, tea ranks high in the ORAC score than other fruits and vegetables. The ORAC score measures antioxidant potential in plant-based food. Studies are still being conducted on the health benefits of tea and more discoveries are being made. Much remains to be learned of the many health benefits of tea. Green tea also seems to help protect the body from autoimmune disorders.
The Chinese proverb "Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one", speaks of the beneficial effects that the ancient Chinese have discovered in tea. For thousands of years, the culture of drinking tea has not diminished. Not only does tea offer a soothing and relaxing drink, it boosts the energy as well. You do not need a medical study to know that tea can relieve a scratchy throat or ease a headache. So, when enjoying a cup of tea, smile and think of the numerous health benefits of tea: fights heart disease, lowers cholesterol and prevents several types of cancer while protecting skin and strengthening bones and teeth.
About the Author:
Lorraine Bevere is the owner of Tea which is a premier source of information about Tea.
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