TEA, HEALTH & WELLNESS
Tea is a refreshing beverage that contains no sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar. It is virtually calorie-free. Tea helps maintain proper fluid balance and may contribute to overall good health. Tea contains flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties. Tea flavonoids often provide bioactive compounds that help to neutralize free radicals, which scientists believe, over time, damage elements 4 in the body, such as genetic material and lipids, and contribute to chronic disease.
Recent research suggests that tea and tea flavonoids may play important roles in various areas of health and may operate through several different mechanisms still being explored.
Human population studies have found that people who regularly consume three or more cups of black tea per day have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Latest research suggests that drinking tea can offer significant heart health benefits including reducing the incidence of cardiovascular events, slowing the progression of disease, lowering Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, and improving blood pressure – with benefits seen with just one cup and upwards of six cups a day.
A Harvard study found that those who drank a cup or more of Black tea per day had a 44% reduced risk of heart attack. In a large population-based study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that adults who drank just 5 over two cups of Green tea per day reduced their risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 22-23%. Additionally, a study published in the December 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Black tea reduced blood pressure, and among hypertensive subjects, it helped counteract the negative effects of a high-fat meal on blood pressure and arterial blood flow.
More than 3,000 published research studies have evaluated the effect of tea—White, Green, Oolong or Black—and tea compounds, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), on the risk of a variety of cancer types. A study published in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that the main antioxidant in Green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), helps kill cancer cells through the destruction of the cells’ mitochondria. Research has also identified an association between amount and duration of tea consumption and gastrointestinal cancer risk.
Tea consumption has been linked to lower skin cancer risk and colon cancer as well. More recently, Green tea polyphenols have been suggested as a chemo protective or chemotherapeutic option in skin cancer. Green tea may specifically slow prostate cancer progression and was shown to have an anti-carcinogenic effect on cervical cancer.
Tea may be one of the modifiable factors as the antioxidants in tea may protect brain cells from environmental insults from free radical exposure. In addition, L-theanine in tea has been shown to directly affect areas of the brain that control attention and ability to solve complex problems.
A study of The Ohsaki Cohort suggested that Green tea consumption (of 5 cups of tea daily vs. 1 cup) was associated with lower risk of incident dementia or new diagnosis of dementia. According to research presented at the 2007 Scientific Symposium on Tea and Health, theanine, an amino acid that is for the most part uniquely found in tea (Green and Black), may help prevent age-related memory decline. The benefit of tea catechins may stem from their antioxidant activity, interaction with cell signaling pathways and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, the Green tea catechins may be effective in iron chelation which suppresses the translation of amyloid precursor protein and is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond neurocognitive decline, tea has been shown to have several other benefits on the brain.
Black tea may have a positive effect on long-term diabetes management. Research found that 3 cups of Black tea consumption resulted in lowered hemoglobin A1C, decreased expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and increased expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which may reduce oxidative stress.
Several studies suggest drinking calorie-free tea may help with weight management. Tea flavonoids help elevate metabolic rate, increase fat 8 oxidation and improve insulin activity. Tea catechins can also provide modest shifts in metabolism that may improve weight loss and maintenance. The weight loss benefits of tea vary based on many factors.
A recently published meta-analysis analyzed the potential link between tea consumption and bone mineral density (BMD). Across the studies there was a significant increase in BMD for tea drinkers. Although high caffeine intake has been implicated as a risk factor for reduced bone mineral density (BMD), drinking tea is associated with higher bone mineral density (BMD) and has been shown to boost bone-building markers and improve muscle mass, both of which may reduce the risk for osteoporosis and fracture.
There has been research on tea’s potential impact on immune function. Research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University indicated that tea contains a component that can help the body ward off infection and disease and that drinking tea may strengthen the immune system. L-theanine, found in tea, primes the immune system in fighting infection, bacteria, viruses and fungi. The study suggests that drinking black tea provides the body’s immune system with natural resistance to microbial infection. Current research indicates that tea’s catechins provide potential preventive effects on influenza and common cold, although more research is needed.
LOVE TEA? TRY GOSSIPTEA