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Ten Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

Tea has been around for centuries and is enjoyed as a comforting and warming drink.

However, what most of us do not realise is  how healthy tea is.

In Chinese culture tea drinking has been revered for millenniums for its health giving properties.

Something the West is just waking up to !

Here are 10 tea facts:

  1. Tea is loaded with polyphenol anti oxidants. Anti-oxidants are molecules that slow down, prevent and fight off bad things, (free radicals), that are going on in our bodies. These bad things are acquired through such things as pollution, genetics and lifestyle.
  2. Tea is a natural source of amino acids and in particular one called L-theanine which makes up 60% of the amino acids in tea. What is very special about L-theanine is it reaches the brain via the blood stream rather quickly and has psychoactive properties which means it reduces stress, allowing the body and mind to relax. This is attributed to the amino acids ability to increase the bodys level of serotonin and dopamine, giving an overall sense of well being and helping us to distress in a busy world.
  3. Tea is a totally natural drink, free from additives or preservatives, it is calorie free in its unadulterated state and hydrates the body as effectively as water but with the added benefits of anti-oxidants.
  4. Yes, tea does contain caffeine ! However the caffeine content is far less than coffee, (typically 30g per cup of tea to 150g per cup of coffee), and due to L-theanine and 2 other organic compounds, (theophylline and theobromine, found in tea and not coffee), which act as muscle relaxants and help counterbalance the negative effects of caffeine – like yin and yang. So tea does give a gently lift, an alert relaxation, an ability to concentrate but in a calm, sustained way unlike the caffeine in coffee which is like a massive, short lived jolt.
  1. Both flavonoids, and to a lesser degree caffeine, have been found to help in the prevention of cancer – both of these compounds are found in tea.
  2. Research has proven that drinking black tea has a very positive effect on both blood pressure and healthy arterial flow. Recent scientific research has also found tea polyphenols help reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of thrombosis.
  3. Tea contains significant amounts of fluoride and therefore helps reduce tooth decay. Indeed, traditionally the Chinese would clean their teeth by gargling tea.
  4. The studies on tea and osteoporosis are few but the results are encouraging. Combining some sort of weight bearing exercise, which is normal Western advice, but with drinking tea has   been shown to help decrease inflammation and increase bone density and muscle strength thereby helping to protect against  osteoporosis. Think of all the images of older Chinese people we see practising Tai Chi, (a weight bearing exercise), and how    supple and strong they appear.
  5. Science is only just waking up to the pro-biotic effect of tea drinking. It is being found that the polyphenols in tea help reduce the harmful bacteria in our digestive tract and increases the good lactobacilli and bifidobacteria thereby creating an environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive.
  6. Some plant extracts can mimic the action of insulin and help with managing Type 2 diabetes. The flavanol, myricetin, found in tea is able to copy insulin activity and could contribute to reducing blood glucose levels. Again research is young in this area but the results are very promising indicating tea drinking is able to influence the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

But maybe one of the most important things about brewing a cup of tea is it is comforting and makes us take a moment to ourselves in an otherwise busy and hurried world.

What could be better – healthy, guilt free and enjoyable ?