Drinking tea is widely reported to have a positive impact on health. But what are the main health benefits and is there any truth behind them?
Here is a quick look at Tèaura’s top 10 health benefits of drinking our favourite beverage.
Antioxidant has long been a buzz word in the health and beauty industry. Cosmetics are packed with antioxidants to help keep us looking young and protects our cells from damage from pollution and the sun. The good news is that all tea contains antioxidants, so you don't have to keep reaching for the anti-wrinkle cream. The Journal of Nutrition reported in 2002 that the antioxidant activity in green tea was far greater than that of black tea per equal volume.
Green tea is believed to increase metabolic rate, which speeds up calories burnt by the body, and, therefore, is thought to aid weight loss. Though research on this remains inconclusive, it is good advice for any would-be dieter to add a few cups of green tea to their daily intake, just in case.
According to an Australian study, three cups of black tea per day has a preventative effect on bone fractures in the senior population. Those drinking 3 cups per day had a 42% and 34% reduced risk of hip and spinal fractures respectively, compared with their peers who didn’t drink tea at all.
Herbal teas, such as chamomile and peppermint, can help to relieve digestive discomfort but both green tea and pu-erh have been proven to be beneficial for digestion. They contain compounds called polyphenols, which increase the effectiveness of the digestive enzyme pepsin. This helps to break down proteins in the stomach. Because black tea is made through a different process to green tea, it may not have the equal benefits on digestion as green tea has.
A recent study based in Egypt proved that green tea can control bacteria and prevent dental plaque. Participants in the study were asked to rinse their mouths for five minutes with green tea. The saliva of the subjects was less acidic at the end of the five minutes; a promising start for the prevention of tooth decay.
The strongest evidence of all is that tea can help to reduce LDL cholesterol. Over the years, several Japanese studies have shown that drinking one to three cups of green tea a day can reduce the chances of a heart attack by up to 20%. The likelihood of a stroke is also reduced by an impressive 35%.
Researchers have discovered that the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG, for short) can help prevent beta-amyloid plaques, which can be indications of Alzheimer’s disease. A study publicized earlier this year by the National University of Singapore found that tea intake was linked to higher cognitive scores and a lower risk of neurocognitive disease.
Although we would not recommend drinking tea as an alternative to a high SPF sunscreen and avoiding the midday sun, evidence suggests that tea might help to protect our cells against ultra-violet rays.
Tea contains considerably less caffeine than coffee. There is 40mg per 100 grams of coffee, compared with 11mg in the same weight of tea. This means that nasty, unwanted side-effects, such as headaches, heartburn and increased blood pressure, can be largely avoided.
Unadulterated tea is completely calorie-free and is a great alternative to water. It can be served hot or cold, comes in a variety of flavours and aromas and will keep you hydrated in exactly the same way as water. It is also possible to add ginger, cinnamon or a slice of lemon as a refreshing way to liven up any cuppa without any additional calorie content.