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Health benefits



This ancient elixir is not just a great rejuvenating drink, but has tremendous health benefits too. These are mainly attributed to the fact that all teas are packed with antioxidant polyphenols called catechins. Green and white teas are considered to have a higher quantity of these, but the difference is not huge which means that all teas, including black and oolong can also benefit your health to a considerable extent. However, if there is one tea that deserves special mention, then it is the Matcha tea. Due to the fact that Matcha is powdered green (or white) tea and you consume the entire leaf rather than infused water as in other teas, the level of antioxidants in a cup of Matcha is several times more than in a cup of normal green (or white) tea. 

Anyway, here's a list of some of the key health benefits associated with all teas derived from the plant Camellia sinensis:

Model in red sari holding teapot

Heart diseases

Tea may protect against cardiovascular diseases and reduce risk of heart attack. Cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Centre have come to the conclusion that antioxidants contained in tea may help reduce a potentially harmful constriction of blood vessels after a high-fat meal. However it is suggested that in order to keep the antioxidants working, one should skip the milk. The proteins of the milk bind with the antioxidants negating its effects.

Weight loss

The weight loss properties of tea are attributed to the presence of caffeine, a natural stimulant and catechins called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG in them which combat fat absorption and speed up the body’s metabolism. The calorie burning properties of green tea have been very widely covered and talked about in the media. But the fact is that just as other health benefits of tea, even weight loss can be achieved from all teas rather than just green or white as they all come from the same tea plant Camellia sinensis. Of course, the level of antioxidants varies from one tea to another and since green and white teas have more of them compared to other teas, they are the ones that get featured most as teas that aid weight loss.

Exercise endurance

Glucose is our body's primary source of energy. While exercising, glycogen that is stored in the liver and the muscles is broken down to produce glucose to meet the demands of the body. Marathon runners and others who exercise a lot often experience what is known as 'glycogen debt' where the athletes' glycogen stores are depleted due to all the physical exercise, therefore little or no more glucose can be produced to provide instant energy and at this point, the athlete tires out and usually has to stop. Scientists found that catechins in tea, especially green and white tea and moderate caffeine levels in tea slows glycogen depletion by encouraging the body to use more fat as fuel, helping conserve stored glycogen energy for the long run (or ride, swim or jog)

Free radicals

Modern life is full of excesses of pollution, sun and stress. This leads in a rise of free radicals, a natural intermediate of the chemical processes in our body. Free radicals have been linked to diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. And who should come to the rescue but our very own ….Tea. It is thought that regular consumption of food and drinks that are rich in free radical combating antioxidants can reduce the risks of the harm caused by free radicals. And tea is rich in a particular group of antioxidants known as Flavonoids.(8 times the amount of super antioxidant power in 3 of your cuppas than in one apple. And tea we can have plenty!!!)

Hydration

The human body is over 65% water. The body uses water for many processes, like replacing cells, building blood plasma, lubricating joints and so much more. However the body also has many ways of losing this vital fluid. You need to keep hydrated and tea is a tasty way of doing just this.

Parkinson's disease

Research shows that drinking tea, mostly green and white can lower the risk of Parkinson's disease. In early stages, it can even improve the symptom of Parkinson's. However, it is not a cure; neither can it reverse the degeneration process. Medication for Parkinson's has to continue along with drinking green tea. Meanwhile scientists are looking for a way to stop the brain cells from dying in this debilitating disease.

Smoking 

Drinking tea can counteract some of the effects of smoking. Good news, obviously, but not a justification for cigarettes as no amount of tea drinking will be able to fully save you from all the ill effects of smoking.

Conclusion

While teas are good for health as they are packed with antioxidants, there is limited scientific evidence to support their health claim. There is still research going on all over the world and while we wait for the results let us not fret too much and put that kettle on anyway. After all it is any day better than having those high calorie carbonated drinks. But if you are drinking tea for health reasons then drink it without milk or sugar.