Tea's benefits to tap for good health!
Drinking tea may be a natural way to improve your health. Evidences continues to mount in favour of the consumption of tea benefiting the heart, protecting from some cancers, stop bad breath, fight diseases and even ensure weight loss.
Teas, both green and black, have potent anti-cancer effects against a wide range of cancers, many scientists keep saying. For instance, a study led by the US Department of Agriculture on the health benefits of tea linked this to its polyphenol content. Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols and the black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) about three to 10 per cent of these substances. The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatachin and gallate, and epicatachin.
Mendel Friedman and his co-workers from Universities in South Korea investigated tea's ability to induce cell death in human cancer and normal cells using either its water or alcoholic extract and found it inhibits tumour growth, though at different levels dictated by the concentration.
This latest study corroborate an earlier one that found that drinking at least one cup of tea a day could cut the risk of cancer in the gallbladder and bile ducts by about 40 per cent in a population-based study carried out in China.
The researchers, led by Ann Hsing from the US National Cancer Institute, assessed the demographic, medical and dietary histories of 627 people with bile tract cancers (cases), 1037 people with bile stones and 959 randomly selected healthy controls. The sample population was based in Shanghai , China , where the incidence of these types of cancers is reported to have increased in recent years.
Specifically, women tea drinker had associated reduced risks of gallbladder cancer, bile duct cancer, and bile stones of 44, 35 and 37 per cent respectively. For men, no significant association was observed for tea drinkers and the relative risk of these conditions.
More evidence of tea's brain health benefits is similarly supporting both green and black tea been able to protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer's as well as improve memory.
The research, published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, was the first to show beneficial effect of both green and black tea on cell cultures treated with amyloid proteins (amyloid proteins are associate with the onset of Alzheimer's disease) just as another team at the University of Newcastle said that tea, and particularly green tea, helps improve memory in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
The study's lead researcher, Dr. Ed Okello, said: "Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, tea could potentially be another weapon in the armoury which is used to treat this disease and slow down its development" in the journal, Phytotherapy Research. Dr. Okello added that the findings suggested tea could boost the memory of everyday drinkers too.
Tea has long been believed to possess blood pressure lowering effects in popular Chinese medicine. The scientists from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, Taiwan, that examined the effect of tea drinking on the risk of newly diagnosed hypertension in 1507 subjects aged 20 or older, who did not have a hypertensive history when the study started even confirmed this.
Almost 40 per cent of the subjects were defined by the scientists as "habitual" tea drinkers, meaning they consumed at least 120 millilitres of green tea or oolong tea everyday for at least a year.
The more tea people drank, the lower their risk of high blood pressure, the authors said in the Archives of Internal Medicine. For non-habitual tea drinkers, the risk of developing hypertension decreased by 46 per cent in comparison with those that drank 120 to 599ml per day. This was further reduced by 65 per cent in those who drank 600ml daily or more.
This evidence that tea drinkers may actually suffer less from hypertension, the Japanese study also suggested may be linked to black tea's action on blood vessels. The drink dilates the vessels allowing faster blood flow.
Research published in the October issue of the journal,nutrition, showed that five servings of black tea per day reduced LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, by 11.1 per cent and total cholesterol by 6.5 per cent in those with mildly high cholesterol level. This definitely is substantiating another study in Saudi Arabia that found that people who drank more than six cups of black tea daily lowered their risk of coronary heart disease by more than half, compared to those who were not regular tea drinkers.
Meanwhile, compounds found in tea is said to also stop the growth of bacterial that cause bad breath, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Polyphenols, chemical components of tea, prevent both the growth of bacterial responsible for bad breath and the bacteria's production of malodorous compounds the research said.
In the laboratory study, Wu and Zhu incubated tea polyphenols with three species of bacteria associated with bad breath for 48 hours. At concentrations ranging from 16 to 250 microgramme per millilitre, the polyphenols inhibited growth of oral bacterial. At even lower concentrations - from 2.5 to 25 microgrammes per millilitre-the polyphenols hindered the enzyme that catalyses the formation of hydrogen sulphide, cutting its production by 30 per cent, they reported.
Research finding in her laboratory had also shown that black tea suppresses the growth of bacterial in dental plaque and even the act of rinsing the mouth with black tea can help to reduce plague formation and the production of acids that cause tooth decay.
Bones are not left out either. Long-term consumption of black, green or oolong tea can help strengthen bones researchers from the National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Tainan, Taiwan have reasons to believe.
People who drank an average of nearly two cups a day of these three tea varieties over a six-year period were shown to have a significant higher bone density than people who did not drink tea, or who drank it in smaller quantities.
Writing is the Archive of Internal Medicine; the researchers said they discovered that people who said they had consumed tea regular for more than 10 years had the highest overall bone-mineral density.
Even those that want to protect themselves from the effect of smoking, researchers also suggested should take tea regularly. Based on the findings in the October's issue of the Journals of Nutrition, the researchers at the Arizona College of Public Health, University of Arizona and Arizona Cancer Centre in Tuscon studied the effect of tea on 143 heavy smokers for four months and from this concluded that it may also protect against damages from smoking.
Similarly, tea drinker stands to have their immune system primed to fight infection and chronic diseases because its antioxidant's content helps the body destroy free radicals.
In an experiment, people who drank five to six small cups of black tea daily for two weeks were better able to fight off bacterial infections, a study said in an edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
So when next you are thirsty, try taking tea rather than water, it is healthier. Water is essentially replacing fluid, but tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants, so an added advantage.
There is no need to worry about tea dehydrating the body either. This is an old wives' tale that is not backed up by any science. Whether it is the green or black tea, just keep drinking.
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Written by Sade Oguntula
From the Nigerian Tribune
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Tea Benefits Trivia:
Did you know that:
Tea contains about 20 types of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins are needed as the body's cells need enzymes to exist, survive and divide. And enzymes are made of proteins. L-theanine is the most abundant type of amino acid in green tea. Read more about amino acids here.
Tea leaves are said to be high in Vitamin K. This vitamin's most important function is to aid in blood clotting. A deficiency of this vitamin may lead to impaired clotting and hence, more open to easy bruising and bleeding. Go here for more info on Vitamin K.
Antioxidants in tea help fight the ravages of free radicals that are seen as the source of many of today's debilitating diseases. Did you know that aside from the catechins that are so abundant in tea, there are a lot of other types of antioxidants? Discover them all here.
Tea leaves and drink have very high mineral content. Minerals are the chemical elements that support certain structural and functional roles in the human body. Among the minerals abundant in tea are phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese. Find out more about Minerals here.
Herbal Teas are more properly referred to as 'tisanes' or more loosely, infusions, to distinguish them from the true teas which are derived from the camelia sinensis plant. Tisanes are made from placing herbs in hot, near-boiling, or even boiling water, and then steeping them for a short period of time. There are thousands of herbs that can be made into tisanes. Discover some of these herbs here.
The quality of the water used to brew the tea is very important. It is believed that the water used must be free of contaminants and contain enough oxygen to enhance the natural flavor of the tea. Teas made with pure water yield a crisp flavor and a clear brew that is aesthetically pleasant. Learn more about the health benefits of water here.
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