There’s nothing more soothing than a hot cup of tea on a rainy day. Similarly, nothing provides comfort during sickness like a hot cup of tea does. The love for tea has been passed down generations, but what might have been kept a secret is the health benefits of tea.
Is Tea Beneficial for the Health?
The health benefits of tea come as a surprise to some as it’s nothing but a mere drink meant to relax after a long tiring day. However, the perspective does not rip off the wonders associated with the drink.
Herbal experts in the previous centuries found themselves experimenting with herbs, making various concoctions, and putting different leaves under various processes such as infusion, decoction, etc. This led to the discovery of tea. Almost every culture possesses a unique story for the origin of tea, each amusing and precious to the people. Amongst all this, the only thing common was the effects the concoction had on the health of human beings.
Following the initial days after the discovery, tea was mainly used by herbalists for detoxification of the body. Later, the research concluded a long list of benefits such as management of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and weight. Therefore, the people collectively inferred that tea indeed is beneficial for health and must be incorporated into the lifestyle for terrific results.
Components of Tea:
- AMINO ACIDS: Research studies have concluded that tea leaves contain various amino acids that play a role in flavor, aroma, quality, and health benefits. Theanine is an amino acid particular to tea leaves and is rarely found anywhere else. As far as its function is concerned, L-theanine produces a relaxing effect on the brain, which helps anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, significant improvement in brain activity was noticed in combination with caffeine.
- POLYPHENOLS: The polyphenols present in tea leaves have various health benefits for the human body. They are known for their antioxidant activity against free radicals, which helps prevent cancer considerably. Furthermore, extensive studies have reported anti-microbial, anti-viral activity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes management.
- CAFFEINE: The levels of caffeine vary from plant to plant and the method of preparation. However, caffeine is known to be a powerful mood simulator, boosts energy levels, and helps achieve undisturbed focus and alertness. Consuming excessive caffeine can have detrimental effects on an individual’s health.
- MINERALS: The variety and quantity of minerals are different in every tea. However, the most common minerals are calcium, potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, etc.
- VITAMINS: Tea leaves are rich in vitamins such as Vitamin and Vitamin E that exert antioxidant properties, whereas Vitamin B2 helps maintain healthy skin. Each vitamin fulfills its purpose and aids in the process of keeping the body healthy and functional.
What Are the Benefits Associated with Different Types of Teas
The variety of tea across the globe is impressive. From the lands of Asia to Europe, each country specializes in a particular type of tea known for its rich taste, aroma, and benefits.
- Black Tea: It is made from the leaves of the plant Camellia Sinesis commonly found in India, China, Nepal, Kenya, etc. The infusion is made by submerging the leaves in a boiling pot of water and simmering for 5–10 minutes, depending upon preference. Consequently, a rich copper-colored brew is prepared, often taken alone or mixed with milk.
As far as the health benefits are concerned, Black tea is rich in antioxidants that fight the free radicals within the body. Furthermore, it is rich in flavonoids, a secondary plant metabolite that aids in improving overall heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Lastly, reports suggest assistance in maintaining gut health and regulating blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
- Green Tea: The leaves for green tea are harvested from the same plant as black tea, except that they are less oxidized. As a result, the tea gives a light yellowish color with a slightly bitter taste. It is recommended to put a little lemon juice or honey to amplify the taste. As far as the health benefits are concerned, it contains the same components as black tea and exerts the same effects.
- Matcha Tea: It is part of the green tea family, which originated in China and has now spread to Japan. Matcha tea has recently acquired popularity due to its unique flavor and health advantages. The preparation of the tea leaves is an extensive process where the leaves must be kept in a dark, shaded place three weeks before harvest day. It contains phenolic acids, chlorophyll, caffeine, and theanine, all beneficial to one’s overall health. Furthermore, matcha has been shown to improve brain and liver function.
- Oolong Tea: Surprisingly, oolong tea comes from the same plant as black and green tea; however, it possesses very little similarity. But isn’t anything coming from the same plant supposed to belong to the same category? Precisely yes, but the state of oxidation sets apart oolong tea from the other two teas. When it comes to the health benefits of the particular tea, the antioxidant activity helps protect against cancer and improve bones and teeth, whereas the caffeine component allows an individual to be alert and focused.
- Turkish Tea: A variety of different tea prepared from various plants fit under the tag of Turkish tea, each uniquely flavored and beneficial on its own. People have started incorporating Turkish tea into their daily routine for its many health benefits; the antioxidant activity from the components combat the LDL cholesterol in the body and improves heart health while also preventing DNA damage from harmful toxins. Further, the polyphenols inhibit the reproduction of unhealthy gut bacteria, while the caffeine and L-theanine improve focus and alertness.
- Pu-erh Tea: It resembles black and green tea in certain aspects, but the settling difference is that Pu-erh is fermented. The tea’s multiple health benefits have been doing rounds in the scientific world. Like all other teas mentioned above, the antioxidant activity of the components helps fight the free radicals and prevent abnormal cell activity. Caffeine improves focus and increases energy levels while aiding weight loss.
- Hibiscus Tea: The hibiscus plant is native to China and India and has been used traditionally for various ailments for centuries. It has a beautiful red color imparted by the leaves, followed by a slightly sour taste similar to cranberries. Research suggests that tea is extremely helpful in regulating blood pressure, dealing with obesity, and providing protection against liver damage. In addition, the effect of hibiscus tea on kidneys was thoroughly investigated, and it was discovered that it had a nephroprotective effect.
- Chamomile Tea: It is a type of herbal tea made from the flowers of the chamomile plant. The therapeutic properties of this particular tea have lured people in as it helps calm the nerves, boosts immune function, reduces anxiety, and aids digestion. A tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers is infused with boiling water for five to ten minutes. It’s thrilling strong, and sweet floral flavor makes it enjoyable and a favorite amongst people.
Does Tea Help with Allergies?
The use of tea for allergies was not established until recently when studies suggested that Green tea is particularly useful in treating allergies. Furthermore, a variety of herbs, such as ginger, licorice root, turmeric, etc., can be combined or used independently to make a tea concoction to relieve allergies.
However, it’s important to identify the allergy triggers and thoroughly investigate the ingredients used in a tea to avoid interaction with possible triggers. Tea helps treat allergies, but certain types of teas can aggravate them, resulting in fatal conditions.
Does Bubble Tea Hold Any Health Benefits?
Recently, bubble tea has been the talk of the town for its exceptionally delicious taste and beyond comparable aesthetics. But does it serve a greater purpose than satisfying the tastebuds? Originally found in Taiwan, it made its way across the globe. So far, no significant health benefits have been reported from bubble tea as it is made from condensed milk, sugar, and tapioca pearls. However, if healthy alternatives are used, some research can be done.
Can You Eat Tea Leaves?
Dried tea leaves are usually bitter and have an astringent effect. Yet, eating them in tiny amounts will not harm nor benefit anyone. If individual wishes to take full benefit, then infusion of the teas is the way to obtain all the nutrients and beneficial effects. However, if too many leaves are ingested, it can result in constipation and other related ailments.
For many people, tea is a cultural delicacy and a source of pleasure. Amongst all of this, the health benefits of tea were lost, and people began to consume it for purposes other than those intended. The benefits were not lost regardless of how people used them, and everyone benefited unknowingly. In today’s age, more and more people are shifting towards natural remedies and filling their cabinets with a variety of teas for multiple purposes.