7 Surprising Benefits of Tea
The health benefits of tea include relief from cancer, early aging, gum disorders, fatigue, fever, depression, and dental issues. It is undoubtedly the most popular beverage in the world and the results of innumerable research studies on tea has left very little doubt about its great medicinal value.
It is believed that Chinese were the first to discover the medicinal values of tea and used it as a beverage. They considered it as a tonic that could stop aging, promote youth and vitality, and ensured a long life, which is why only the noble descendants were allowed to drink it and the beverage was kept secret for a long time. After it was introduced, it literally changed the world in a number of ways.
Tea is scientifically known as Camellia Sinensis and is graded on the basis of its flavor and taste, which mainly comes from an alkaloid called tannin. It is also graded on the size of the leaves, cut, grains, and a few other factors that determine its price on the market. That’s enough commerce for now. Let’s get to the health benefits!
Health Benefits of Tea
Let us explore which ailments tea can be beneficial for. The health benefits of tea include the following:
Cancer: Many studies have proved that tea is rich in polyphenols such as catechins and some variants of catechins that are present in its flavonoids and contribute to its rich aroma, have high antioxidant properties and are effective in preventing the growth of tumors and cancer, particularly of the liver, intestines, prostate, kidneys, breasts, and lungs.
The alkaloids, like tannin and caffeine, which are present in it, also help in inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells.
Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Properties: As believed in China long, long ago, and as proved in recent decades, antioxidants in tea can significantly slow down the aging process by preventing the free radicals (oxidants) from damaging the metabolic, circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems through oxidation. These antioxidants effectively neutralize the free radicals. Green or white Tea, when suplemented with lemon/lime juice is supposed to be more beneficial in this regard. It can also help delay the loss of vision, macular degeneration, loosening of muscles, and other conditions induced by aging.
Depression and Fatigue: Tea is a great antidepressant and energizer. Actually, the alkaloids, tannin, and caffeine present in it are very quick and efficient natural stimulants. Drinking tea gives immediate relief for fatigue, stimulates the brain, and elevates mood. It also lessens the feeling of cold during cold seasons. It is very effective in driving away sleepiness. The best part of it is that its effects are almost immediate. An amino acid called L-Theanine, present in tea, increases alertness of the brain.
Fever, Infections and Immune System: Alkaloids like tannin and caffeine, present in tea, are powerful disinfectants and have high antimicrobial, antiviral, and germicidal properties. This is due to the fact that all alkaloids (tannin, caffeine, nicotine, strictine, etc.) are actually poisons, either mild or harsh, for living cells. If consumed in a concentrated form or in high doses, they can be fatal for humans. However, when consumed in very low dosages, they kill only the germs. That is why tea helps in relieving fever and preventing infections. The antioxidants in tea also strengthen the immune system. Oxalates and polyphenols like catechin and epigallocatechin gallate, present in tea, are also found to be effective in checking the growth of the HIV virus.
Gums and Teeth: Tannin in tea is an alkaloid and has strong astringent properties. If taken without sugar, it neutralizes excess acids in the mouth and also destroys germs. The astringent part of it fastens the gums firmly onto the teeth, preventing them from loosening and falling out. Tannin also prevents hair loss and strengthens hair roots if applied externally. Therefore, many people wash their hair with black tea.
Diabetes and Metabolism: Tea stimulates the metabolism, which results in faster consumption (breaking down) of sugar and lowering of its level in the blood. This way, it releases energy and also helps diabetic people manage their blood sugar levels.
Skin and Muscles: The astringent properties of tea can tone up the skin and muscles to give you a younger look.
Other Benefits: Tea is a stress reliever and it also gives temporary relief from nervous disorders and induces a good, healthy feeling in the body.
A Few Words of Caution
Tea is addictive and makes you habituated to this external stimulant. Therefore, in absence of it, you may feel weak and worn out as your own energy level drops down below normal and you will eventually want more. The alkaloids tannin and caffeine in tea can have harmful effects in the long run and can even damage the liver and lungs if excessively consumed. This harmful effect can be minimized by adding lemon/lime juice or milk in your tea. Tea also kills the appetite. If taken in excess or before sleep, it can cause severe sleeplessness and resultant headaches.