11 Health Benefits of Tea [Infographic]
Tea is a low calorie drink that contains only 1 or 2 calories per cup. The leaves contain over 700 chemical constituents, including amino acids, tannins, vitamins, and minerals, which contribute to the many health benefits of drinking tea. Tea has been an important part of the traditional and herbal medicine of many cultures since the ancient times. Modern research has substantiated or shown promise for its therapeutic value in numerous medical conditions.
What is tea?
Tea is the most widely consumed beverage around the world after water with a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Legend has it that tea was discovered sometime before 2700 BC by the Emperor Shen Nong. All teas – black, green, dark, oolong, white, and yellow – are made from the leaf of the tea plant Camellia sinensis, a species of flowering evergreen trees and bushes native to Yunnan, China.
Although they all come from the same plant, there are different varieties and cultivars. The tea leaves also grow in different terroirs (the distinctive environment in which tea is grown) and are processed directly. This diversity provides us with the wide range of teas we have today and an interesting story behind every cup.
The health benefits of tea according to research
Scientists have come up with findings that indicate drinking tea could delay the aging process, by slowing age-related decline in body movement and improving stress resistance. Tea is a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols, in particular chlorogenic acid (CGA), a chemical thought to be responsible for prolonging life. A recent clinical trial indicated that tea has genoprotective properties, which means it helps prevent degenerative changes and potentially slow the aging process.
2. Bone & Joint Health
Population research suggests that consuming tea might be associated with increased bone mineral density, especially in older women and those whose tea consumption extends beyond ten years. Tea leaves contain fluoride, which may slow osteoporosis, and contain flavonoids and phytoestrogens, which may increase bone mineral density. In addition, tea polyphenols and tannins may inhibit bone resorption and affect mineral metabolism.
In addition to increased bone mineral density, tea polyphenols could improve bone turnover and muscle strength and lessen joint degeneration, according to several studies and laboratory models. EGCG and other tea catechins may reduce inflammation and protect cartilage by inhibiting collagen breakdown.
3. Digestive Health
Drinking tea may help reduce inflammation associated with Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, the two types of inflammatory bowel disease. If tea proves to help prevent colon cancer, it may also help people with inflammatory bowel disease because they are at higher risk for colon cancer.
4. Energy & Brain Support
The caffeine found in tea seems to prevent a decline in alertness and cognitive capacity, and improve memory function and information processing skills, when consumed throughout the day. The amino acid theanine, which is not found in coffee, has a calming effect that minimizes the effects of caffeine from tea. Drinking tea throughout the day has been shown to keep people alert, even after extended periods without sleep.
There is some evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies that people who consume tea have a decreased risk of Parkinson's disease. The polyphenols found in tea may help protect dopamine neurons, which are involved in Parkinson’s disease. Moderate consumption of approximately one to four cups daily seems to provide the most reduction in risk.
Research indicates that EGCG and the amino acid L-theanine found in tea may also help improve memory and learning, in addition to the boost from caffeine. In one study of young adults with Down's syndrome, supplementation with EGCG resulted in improvement in a measure of cognitive function. In a recent study published in The Lancet Neurology journal concluded that EGCG improved some cognitive functions in Down’s syndrome, including visual memory, the ability to control inhibition when instructed to do so, and the ability to carry out tasks.
5. Fitness & Strength
One clinical study indicated that daily consumption of caffeine may increase muscle strength, physical endurance, and athletic performance. Other studies have shown that taking caffeine can decrease subjective feelings of exertion during exercise, improve performance, and cause small increases in the amount of physical work done in various athletes, including cyclists, runners, soccer players, and golfers.
6. Hair & Skin Health
Tea is thought to be beneficial for preventing skin damage and cancer from UV radiation due to the antioxidant effects of tea polyphenols. Preliminary clinical research suggests that tea polyphenols may help improve skin elasticity, roughness, and hydration. Results from preliminary clinical research suggest that drinking tea daily may improve treatment-resistant eczema, a chronic condition that makes the skin red and itchy.
7. Heart and Circulatory Health
Regular consumption of tea may help prevent hypertension, or abnormally low blood pressure. Epidemiological research in Chinese people shows that drinking 120-600 ml tea daily is associated with a 46% lower risk of developing hypertension while drinking more than 600 ml daily is associated with a 65% reduced risk.
Drinking tea may help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Results from one animal study suggest that tea polyphenols may block cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine and help the body get rid of cholesterol.
Tea may help control blood sugar levels. Animal studies and epidemiological research suggest that tea may help prevent the development of type 1 diabetes and slow the progression once it has developed, while regular consumption of tea may help manage type 2 diabetes.
Antioxidants found in tea may help prevent atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) and lower the risk of coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease. Analysis of epidemiological evidence suggests that drinking tea is associated with reduced risk of coronary artery disease. Researchers estimate that the rate of heart attack decreases by 11% with consumption of 3 cups of tea per day.
8. Immunity and Overall Health
Tea contains catechins, tannins, antioxidants, and polyphenols which have demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that could help boost the immune system and prevent the onset of various diseases. Studies have shown that tea stimulates the production of immune cells and has shown antibacterial properties in some animal studies.
A number of preliminary laboratory studies and animal studies have suggested that tea may help protect against or slow the growth of certain cancers although more studies are still needed to understand the link between tea and cancer. Researchers believe this anti-cancer effect may be due to the presence of tea polyphenols and EGCG. Numerous studies have found that increased consumption of tea resulted in decreased risk of lung cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer.
Tea may exhibit anti-allergic properties. Catechins found in tea, particularly gallocatechin gallate (GCG) and EGCG, seem to inhibit the release of histamine, which are compounds released by cells during allergic reactions.
9. Stress & Mood Support
Epidemiological research suggests that adults who consume four or more cups of tea daily have a 44% to 51% lower prevalence of mild and severe or severe depression compared to those who consume one cup or less daily.
10. Weight Loss and Metabolism
Tea contains only 1 to 2 calories per cup but contains numerous constituents such as caffeine, catechin, theanine, and polyphenols which have demonstrated in scientific studies to increase fat metabolism, increase energy expenditure, inhibit fat digestion, and/or suppress appetite. In a preliminary study of moderately obese individuals, green tea extract resulted in a 5% reduction in average body weight after 12 weeks. In another animal study, the consumption of tea leaves significantly suppressed the expression of fatty acid synthase and reduced gains in body weight.
11. Women’s Health
Women who regularly consume tea appear to have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer compared to women who never or rarely consume tea. In one prospective population study, researchers concluded that women who drink two or more cups of tea daily have a 46% lower risk of ovarian cancer compared to women who do not regularly consume tea.
* These are some of the pharmacological actions that have been observed or are under study in various evidence-based research studies. Herb may have other properties not listed here.
The statements on this page are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to the use of any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies or medical conditions.
The information has been sourced and extracted from scientific papers, academic journals, research abstracts, and other sources. While Purify Tea makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information on this website, Purify Tea does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficiency, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information. Use of such information is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficiency, and timeliness. While many traditional or folkloric remedies have a long history of use, modern research has only begun to investigate and substantiate their effectiveness. Research is still ongoing in many areas therefore conclusions are subject to change.
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