Tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink, and it is as readily available and affordable as it is healthy. Some of the benefits of tea have been common knowledge in home remedy and natural medicine circles for centuries, but recent studies have only just discovered new benefits of tea as well as confirmed old ones.
Some of the most important health benefits of tea that have strong scientific backing include the following:
- Tea is loaded with health-enhancing antioxidants that clear free radicals from your system, which is essentially "ridding your body of pollutants" that would otherwise speed up the ageing process.
- Tea also contains caffeine, which is helpful to promote alertness, but contains only about 25 percent as much as coffee. This means that tea is far less likely than coffee to give you "the jitters," cause indigestion, or keep you up at night.
- According to 11 separate studies with over 23,000 participants, tea lowers your risk of depression by 37 percent. L-theanine in many green teas, for example, boost the levels of serotonin production in the brain to decrease mental depression.
- Drinking three cups of tea a day can lower your risk of stroke by 21 percent as compared to those consuming less than one cup per day. Tea also reduces risk of heart attack by unclogging cholesterol from your arteries.
- According to 15 published studies involving more than 545,000 people, there is an inverse relationship between tea consumption and the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes: for every extra two cups of tea consumed daily, the risk of diabetes drops by 4.6 percent.
- Tea can benefit your bones and teeth. Photochemical in tea help strengthen your bones over the years, and fluoride and tannin in unsweetened tea can help reduce plaque levels.
- Tea improves your immune health. One way it does this is by introducing alkyl-amines, which are present in certain pathogens, and using them as a kind of "natural immunization shot."
- Tea also boosts your metabolism, which helps you to lose weight. The fact that it has zero calories also helps.
The health benefits of tea are many and diverse, and new benefits are being discovered every day.
There are, for example, 22 current prospective studies, involving over 850,000 people, that indicate tea may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 27 percent, reduce the risk of cardiac-related death by 26 percent, reduce the risk of stroke by 18 percent, achieve a 16 percent reduction in cerebral infarction, a 21 percent decrease in intra cerebral haemorrhage, and a 24 percent drop in overall mortality rates.
What we have listed here and above only touches the surface of tea's many amazing benefits, but below, we will look at the benefits of three specific kinds of tea: green, black, and herbal.
The Health Benefits Of Green Tea
Green tea contains many powerful ingredients, including antioxidants, fluoride, and catechins. It has been shown to prevent various neurological disorders, to improve skin health, cellular growth, and brain function, to help prevent diabetes and cancer, and to slow the effects of ageing. Green tea is also an effective way to help prevent clogged arteries and to reduce cholesterol levels, leading to better heart health.
While there are many health benefits of green tea, one we would like to highlight here is its ability to boost your metabolic rate so that your body will burn more calories. If you drink five cups of green tea a day, for example, you can burn as much as 70 to 80 additional calories. That can translate into eight extra pounds shed over the course of a year.
You will find a plethora of different types of green tea at many grocery stores and health food stores. It can difficult to know which green tea to drink, but three of the most common types of green tea that have significant, proven health benefits are:
- Sencha, which helps to lower cholesterol and prevent coronary artery disease, among other things.
- Bancha, which is loaded with health-enhancing catechins.
- Matcha, a green tea that helps you focus and contains beneficial antioxidants.
The Health Benefits Of Black Tea
Black teas tend to have a large amount of theophylline and carbohydrates, which can combine to benefit your health in many ways. Black tea has been shown to help guard lung health, help diabetics manage their condition by regulating blood sugar levels, promote normal blood pressure, and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
Black tea also has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. One five-year study in the Netherlands, for example, found that those who drank two or three cups of black tea a day had a 70 percent lower risk of having a fatal heart attack.
The health benefits of black tea can be gained from a wide array of specific tea-types, but two of the most common types of black tea you may find sold in stores are:
- Tanyang gongfu, a tea whose antioxidants help fight certain cancers and slow the effects of aging by eliminating harmful free radicals.
- Bailin gongfu, which helps wake you up due to its having more caffeine in it than any other kind of tea. It also fights aging and strengthens heart health.
The Health Benefits Of Herbal Tea
Herbal teas contain a heavy dose of antihistamine and various vitamins found in the wide array of natural herbs used in the teas. Some of the most common health benefits of herbal tea include: promotion of healthy sleeping habits, improved digestive function, a proven remedy for nausea, cleansing of the kidneys, and in some cases, stunting the growth of cancer cells.
Herbal teas have lower levels of antioxidants than black and green teas, on average, but they have other benefits that those teas sometimes lack. It is hard to make general statements about herbal teas in particular since their compositions vary greatly based on the types of herbs used, but some of the most common types of herbal tea and their benefits include:
- Elderflower, which is commonly used as a cure for the common cold.
- Lemon verbena, used especially in France, is a proven digestive aid.
- Nettle tea, which provides iron to strengthen red blood cell production and boost energy. It also provides calcium and silica, which make for healthy bones, teeth, and hair.
- Peppermint tea, which is often used to counteract nausea and vomiting.
- Chamomile tea, whose antioxidants are thought to help prevent vision loss and other complications of diabetes. Chamomile tea is also regarded as having the ability to stunt cancer cell growth.
The World Tea Market
The benefits of tea, its enjoyable and refreshing tastes, and its relative affordability combine to make it one of the world's most popular drinks. Some of the most interesting facts about the world tea market are noted below:
1. World Tea Production: China leads the world in tea production, producing over 1.9 million tons annually. India comes in second at 1.2 million tons. The East African nation of Kenya, though relatively small in size and population, finishes third with 436,000 tons produced per year.
2. Largest Tea Exporting Countries: Kenya is number one in tea exportation at 416,000 tons a year, which means it exports nearly all of the tea it produces. China and Sri Lanka both export over 300,000 tons a year, India over 200,000, and Vietnam over 100,000.
3. Largest Tea Consuming Nations: China tops the list at 1.6 million tons consumed by its vast population. This means that the vast bulk of its massive tea production is consumed locally. India consumes 1.0 million tons, also the great majority of its production. Turkey, Russia, and the United States, the next-largest tea consumers, consume only a fraction of the tea drunk in China and India.
4. Per Capita Tea Consumption: On a per capita basis, the largest tea-consuming nations are as follows: Turkey at 7.5 kg (16.5 lbs) per person per year, Morocco at 4.3 kg (9.5 lbs), Ireland and Mauritania tied at 3.2 kg (7.1 lbs) each, and the United Kingdom at 2.7 kg (6.0 lbs).
The health benefits of tea are extensive, diverse, and highly significant. Tea drinkers reduce their risk of numerous health conditions, improve immune health, boost metabolism, slow the effects of ageing, and gain many more benefits than they are even aware of. As research progresses, science only continues to confirm tea's ability to improve human health and wellness. Replacing coffee and soft drink consumption with green, black, and herbal tea consumption will go a long way in promoting a healthy lifestyle.