Americans are drinking 3.8 billion gallons of tea each year. Tea a refreshing drink that can be served hot or cold regardless of the season. But, is it good for you?
Researchers have spent years deciphering what it is about tea that gives it its medicinal properties that combat a host of different illnesses. They’ve found that the two major compounds in tea responsible for this are phytochemicals and polyphenols.
In this article, we take an in-depth look at 8 scientifically-backed benefits of drinking tea. Read on.
1. Tea Contains Powerful Bioactive Compounds
Most of the bioactive compounds you find in natural tea leaves usually make it to the final drink. Tea contains a high concentration of polyphenols, which play a huge role in fighting cancer and reducing inflammation.
Tea also has catechins, which give it its antioxidant properties. The most abundant of these catechins is Epigallocatechin Gallate, or EGCG for short.
EGCG scavenges for free radicals in the body. If free radicals are left undeterred, they cause widespread damage to body tissues and molecules, and they contribute to the aging process too.
EGCG is what gives tea its numerous medicinal properties.
2. Drinking Tea Improves Brain Function
If you think the only thing tea is good for is keeping you awake when you’re working late into the night, you’re wrong. Tea could actually be making you smarter.
One of the benefits of hot tea is that it doesn’t contain nearly as much caffeine as coffee does. Nevertheless, it does have enough to elicit a response without the jittery effects associated with drinking too much of it.
Here’s how it improves brain function: It blocks Adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. As a result, the concentrations of other neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Norepinephrine increases.
This also fires more neurons in the brain. This ultimately improves the brain’s reaction time, mood, vigilance and memory functions.
3. Improves Physical Performance and Fat Metabolism
Studies show that tea increases energy expenditure by up to 4% and increases fat oxidation by 17%. It comes as no surprise then that most of the fat burning supplements you’ll find in the market today list tea as one of their major ingredients.
In addition to this, the caffeine present in tea mobilizes fatty acids present in body tissues making them available for use as energy. This can improve physical performance by up to 12% on average.
4. Lowers the Risk for Cancer
Cancer is among the top ten global causes of death. It’s a well-known fact that oxidative damage plays a major role in in the development of this disease.
Bear in mind, though, that adding milk to tea reduces its antioxidant effect. So, you don’t put in any additives if you want to reap the full benefits of drinking tea.
5. Tea May Be Healthy for Your Teeth
If you suffer from chronic bad breath, taking a cup of tea every day can help.
Streptococcus is the main harmful bacteria that are found in the mouth. It is responsible for tooth decay and the formation of plaque, and it’s a major contributor to cavities.
The catechins present in tea inhibit the growth of these bacteria. Not only does it improve dental health, but it also helps to reduce bad breath.
6. Reduces the Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes worldwide has reached epidemic proportions. It is a disease that is associated with elevated blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to produce insulin. In other instances, it’s due to insulin resistance.
There are numerous studies that support the health benefits of tea in the management of Diabetes. It not only reduces blood sugar levels but it also improves insulin sensitivity. What’s more, drinking tea regularly can reduce your risk of developing the disease by as much as 14%.
7. Tea Protects Your Heart
Cardiovascular diseases like stroke and ischaemic heart disease are two of the leading causes of death worldwide. Drinking tea plays a major role in reducing the main risk factors associated with developing heart-related illnesses.
Some of these elements include total blood cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides. For one, tea prevents the LDL cholesterol particles, also known as “bad cholesterol”, from getting oxidized.
It keeps them at the recommended levels to prevent the onset of heart disease. There’s lots of data available to support the fact that tea drinkers have a 31% lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
8. Lowers the Risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are two of the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases in the world. They are also the leading causes of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease comes about when the brain cells and their connections degenerate and die progressively over time. Parkinson’s disease, on the other hand, is brought on by the decrease of Dopamine levels in the brain, which leads to abnormal brain activities.
While there isn’t any known cure for the two conditions, multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in tea have a protective effect on the brain neurons. This effectively lowers the risk of developing the two diseases in old age.
The Bottom Line
In order to reap the full health benefits of drinking tea, you need to make it a regular part of your life. The major role played by the compounds present in tea in the prevention and management of diseases can’t be overstated.
This is the very reason why it is considered the healthiest beverage on the planet. Whether you take it hot or cold, this powerful elixir works wonders for your overall well-being.
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