Your Body LOVES Tea!
For over 5,000 years tea has been enjoyed across the globe…even before science and technology could prove tea was beneficial! One thing is for sure… high tea consumption leads to a healthier body and heart! Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide - in other words, every one of us needs to be aware of how to protect our heart. Since tea is the least expensive beverage humans consume after water, tea is a very affordable and practical staple beverage.
Research shows it’s the combination of nutrients and phytochemicals in tea, such as phytochemicals, caffeine, and l-theanine that provide tea’s health benefits, not from an isolated ingredient. So a supplement just won’t suffice!
Health benefits of daily tea consumption:
Enhanced fat burning
Reduced body weight
Reduced risk of dying from heart disease and stroke
Reduced complications from diabetes
Lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Lowered risk of some cancers
Reduced tooth decay and loss
Prevented and reduced diabetes-induced neural tube defects in pregnancy
There are 4 main kinds of teas (not counting herbal teas which can be made from a wide variety of plants): black, green, oolong and white, all of which are made from the leaves of the evergreen shrub, Camellia sinensis (pictured below). The difference is in how the leaves are processed.
White tea is the least processed form of tea from the the Camellia sinensis plant, providing a more delicate flavor and often lower amounts of caffeine (though caffeine varies among brands). For white tea, the leaves are harvested when they still are covered in silvery white hairs. For those concerned about dental health and/or tooth decay, white tea has been shown to improve bacterial imbalance in the mouth, reduce incidence of cavities, and provides fluoride, all of which helps to protect the teeth and gums.
THE RESEARCH: White tea given to male prediabetic rats for 2 months improved glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and restored sperm health. More research is needed in humans to identify the recommended dose for these potential benefits, but other studies suggest daily intake of white tea provides multiple benefits.
Fresh green tea leaves are steamed, which preserves its polyphenols, a class of phytochemicals with strong antioxidant benefits. The majority of polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids. The type of flavonoids that confer the most heart health benefits are catechins and green tea is full of them! Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG is the most prominent catechin which exerts anti-inflammatory effects that help prevent arteriosclerosis and ultimately prevent heart disease and stroke. These catechins improve plaque buildup in the bloodstream and arterial walls and lower total and LDL cholesterol. Green tea can also help prevent Alzheimers because ECGC reduces production of beta-amyloid plaque which leads to the destruction of brain cells.
THE RESEARCH: 3-6 cups of green tea per day reduces your risk of not only developing cardiovascular disease but also from dying from heart disease and stroke! The drop in dying risk ranges from 12 to 76%! Research also shows green tea is associated with reduced mortality from all causes, not just heart disease. The more the better!
Oolong tea is derived from partially fermented tea leaves. THE RESEARCH: More than 10 ounces (280g) of Oolong tea a week has been linked with reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels in humans. In a mouse study, there was less abdominal fat accumulation in mice on a high fat, high carb (obesogenic) diet supplemented with oolong tea. Like other teas in this group, oolong tea is a source of flouride, which works to protect dental health.
Black tea is the most processed of the tea leaves, but this allows the polyphenols to offer unique benefits, especially in regard to obesity prevention and treatment. Research shows black tea’s polyphenols are more effective than those from green tea in their ability to inhibit absorption of fat and carbohydrate, reduce fat formation, and reduce oxidative stress. Black tea also contains the most caffeine of any tea, 40-50mg per 1 cup. For reference, 1 cup of black coffee provides about 90-165mg caffeine, depending on how strong you brew it. One espresso provides about 45-65 mg caffeine.
THE RESEARCH: 3 cups of black tea per day for more than 6 weeks reduces blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and increases HDL and blood levels of antioxidants. Longer consumption over 6 months results in lowered blood pressure. All of these markers combine to lower your risk of heart disease.
The healthful properties of herbal teas vary widely due to the range of antioxidant levels in the different herbs, flowers, roots, leaves, or fruit it is derived from. However, Hibiscus tea and Rooibos (or red tea) have also been shown to have cardio and neuro-protective benefits, just not as concentrated as green or black tea. Examples of herbal teas include hibiscus, chamomile, ginger, dandelion, peppermint, echinacea, rooibos, sage and lemon balm tea.