In recent years, scientists have been discovering the benefits of
drinking tea. Tea's anti-oxidants have become the source of much discussion for
their ability to prevent disease and slow the aging process. We've learned that
tea drinking can be a simple way to help preserve your health.
Most of the attention has been given to green tea. All types of tea come from the camellia sinensis plant, but the finished products we drink are different because of the way the tea leaves are processed. Black tea is fully fermented, oolong tea is partially fermented and green tea is left unfermented.
Because fermentation changes the properties of the tea leaves, and thus the anti-oxidants they contain, green tea is believed to be healthier than other forms. Green tea's unfermented leaves contain all the plant's anti-oxidants in their natural state. In black tea, the converted anti-oxidants are referred to as theaflavins; green tea's anti-oxidants are called catechins.
However, at least one study suggests that black tea's theaflavins are equally as beneficial as the catechins in green tea. A study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong concluded that the theaflavins in black tea are just as effective at scavenging free radicals as the catechins in green tea.
The scavenging of free radicals is critical to maintaining our health. These free radicals are created as a by product of converting the food we eat to energy. If they are not kept in check, they wreak havoc on our bodies by damaging our cells and DNA. This leads to faster aging and a higher risk of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke. They even make us look older.
So, to prevent your risk of disease, doctors recommend that you have a diet high in anti-oxidants. And, not all anti-oxidants are created equal. It's helpful to eat the foods that contain the most potent anti-oxidants. This includes pomegranates, tomatoes and blueberries. And, it also includes drinking tea each day.
The attention that green tea has received for its natural anti-oxidants has caused a significant rise in the consumption and availability of green tea in the Western world. While green tea has always been the tea of choice in Asian countries, black tea is far more popular in the west, though that is changing.
However, black tea is still the most widely consumed beverage in the west (after water) and is expected to remain so. The news that our favored black tea may be just as effective at preventing disease as green tea is good news, indeed.
If you want to receive the maximum health benefits from your tea, it's important to make it part of your daily life. Asian cultures, where rates of cancer and heart disease are lowest, consume tea all day long. So, drinking a cup or two of tea a week may not be enough to provide you the health benefits you're looking for.
Therefore, it's important to find ways to make tea drinking a regular habit. Even if you're a morning coffee drinker, you may find that you can substitute a cup of tea for your second cup of coffee of the day.
And, a cup of tea can be a very relaxing way to wind down just before bed. Because tea's caffeine doesn't seem to cause jitters and increase heart rate the way coffee does, most people have no problem drinking it before bed.
In addition, you'll find lots of bottled teas available on the market today. This form makes it simple to grab a bottle of tea and take it anywhere. Some of the health benefits you may gain by drinking tea each and every day include:
* There is clear evidence that tea reduces our risk for cardiovascular disease. Tea helps reduce cholesterol levels and prevents the cholesterol that's in our bodies from turning into artery clogging plaque.
* There have been many studies that link tea with a reduced risk of many forms of cancer, including colo-rectal cancer, breast cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer and even skin cancer.
* There have been studies that suggest that tea is healthy for the teeth and prevents tooth decay.
* Some studies suggest that tea can positively affect mood and cognitive performance.
* Tea may have the ability to regulate the hormone insulin, meaning that it may offer help for those with diabetes.
* Tea may be able to prevent neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
* Tea has been shown to speed up the metabolism and help oxidize fat, so it may help you lose weight.
As research continues, it's likely that we'll find even more ways that tea can protect our health and slow down the aging process. And, now that it seems that tea can protect us regardless of whether we prefer green tea or black, it's even easier to be certain we're getting our daily dose of tea!
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