Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water. There are different varieties of tea viz. Black, Green, White, Oolong & Herbal. There are certain health benefits related to each and every variety of tea. We have recorded some of the health benefits of each variety of tea.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Today, scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking Green tea. For example, in the year 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking Green tea reduced the risk of Esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in Green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking Green tea lowers total Cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.
To sum up, here are just a few medical conditions in which drinking Green tea is reputed to be helpful:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- High cholesterol levels
- Cardiovascular disease
- Impaired immune function
What makes Green tea so special?
The secret of Green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant which besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
Links are being made between the effects of drinking Green tea and the “French Paradox.” For years, researchers were puzzled by the fact that, despite consuming a diet rich in fat, the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans. The answer was found to lie in red wine, which contains resveratrol, a polyphenol that limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. In a 1997 study, researchers from the University of Kansas determined that EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol, which may explain why the rate of heart disease among Japanese men is quite low, even though approximately seventy-five percent are smokers.
Why don’t other Chinese teas have similar health-giving properties? Green, Oolong, and Black teas all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What sets Green tea apart is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. By contrast, Black and Oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves, which results in their EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.
New evidence is emerging that green tea can even help dieters. In November, 1999, the AmericanJournal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and Green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine, or a placebo.
Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing Green tea – from deodorants to creams – are already available worldwide in the market having been introduced by major pharmaceutical as well as established health care companies.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Black tea has the strongest flavour and also retains its flavour for a large number of years. Apart from that, Black tea is associated with a large number of benefits. However, in order to reap the full benefits of Black tea, you have to consume it without adding any sugar or milk, otherwise, it will lose majority of its properties and along with them, most of the health benefits that have been listed below.
Black tea contains a very low amount of caffeine, which helps promote the flow of blood in the brain, without any danger of over-stimulating the heart.Various studies have come up with the conclusion that tea slows down the growth of cancerous cells, without destroying healthy cells. Thus, it can be used in the fight against cancer.
Black tea has been known to expand the airways, thus making breathing easier for those suffering from asthma.
Black Tea can destroy viruses in your mouth (like herpes) and also help prevent diarrhea, pneumonia, cystitis, and skin infections. Black tea contains the trace element fluoride, which has been associated with oral health and prevention of tooth decay, along with the strengthening of tooth enamel
Black tea is also rich in antioxidants that help the body fight against free radicals, which can otherwise lead to numerous chronic diseases.
Black tea can help expand arteries, in turn promoting blood flow to the heart. Drinking it regularly can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The caffeine present in the tea helps bring about an improvement in mental focus and concentration.
It is believed that Black tea can help delay the aging process. This is the reason why the tea extract is being used in various anti aging creams and lotions.
Regular consumption of Black tea can speed up the rate of metabolism and make the body burn excess fat. So, if you are trying to lose weight, Black tea would prove extremely beneficial to you.
If you are suffering from diabetes, drinking the tea regularly will prove useful. It helps decrease glucose levels in the body.
Black tea consists of tannins and astringent chemicals in abundant quantities. It also boasts of a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive tract.
The tea is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and proves to be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis.
Black tea can prove effective in balancing the hormone levels in the body, in turn keeping stress at bay.
The tea helps the body fight bacteria and strengthens the immune system as well.
Green or Black Tea – which is better?
Until recently, tea research has focused on Green tea. Green tea is loaded with the compound Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), a powerful anti-oxidant. Since the fermentation process used to make Black tea converts EGCG into other compounds, researchers assumed Black tea had less health benefits than Green tea. However, recent studies indicate the compounds contained in Black tea – theaflavins and thearubigens – do more than contribute to its dark color and distinctive flavor. They also provide health benefits originally attributed solely to green tea.
Health Benefits of White Tea
Tea has been used as medicine for centuries. Now modern science is discovering what people in China and throughout the world have long known: tea is good for you. While Green tea and Black tea are very healthy, White tea is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidant levels. It may be the supreme Drink of Health.
White Tea Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are nasty things that go around wreaking havoc on your body, damaging DNA and accelerating aging. Antioxidants scoop them up and neutralize them. White tea is loaded with these protective nutrients.
White tea may have profound power against cancer-causing cells and against many different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers. Flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. In some cases, white tea has been found to work as well as prescription drugs, but without the side effects.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that White tea can thin the blood and improve artery function. It helps lower high blood pressure and maintain a healthy one. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea guards against the ravages of stroke.
Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and White tea is teeming with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad. This helps prevent hardening of the arteries and blockage of blood flow.
By thinning the blood, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol, white tea protects the heart and the entire circulatory system. Researchers have also discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. White tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.
Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. White tea may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Antibacterial & Antiviral
White tea is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. The antioxidants so abundant in white tea tone the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders and a wide range of diseases. Its helps guard against the common cold and flu, and can ease the symptoms of HIV.
Healthy Teeth and Gums
White tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. It also kills the bacteria which causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath.
Free radicals from staying out in the sun too long, stress, and a poor diet can damage the skin and cause it to prematurely age. By scavenging these free radicals, white tea protects the skin and helps to reverse some of the damage. Drinking White tea promotes healthy and radiant skin.
Other Health Benefits
White tea has many other benefits to offer. It may reduce blood sugar and help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of diabetes. It reduces stress and increases energy.
White tea may or may not aid in weight-loss. Studies suggest tea may increase metabolism and encourage the body to burn more fat, but a balanced diet and regular exercise are more likely to produce results. Still, adding white tea to your weight-loss plan can’t hurt.
Review Of Health Benefits
By now you can see that white tea has a great range of effects on the body and a tremendous number of benefits to your health. Its supreme power is in preventing disease and disorder.
White tea protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke, the leading causes of death in the industrial world, as well as numerous other conditions. It eases the symptoms of illness and promotes recovery. White tea strengthens the circulatory and immune systems as well as bones and teeth, and builds healthy skin.
It is a superb tonic and one of Nature’s great gifts.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
Compared to Green tea, Oolong tea is associated with fewer health benefits. Oolong tea accounts for just 2% of tea consumption, so scientists spend less time on it. In addition, it is the most complex type of tea to unravel. There are many varieties, ranging from the lightly to heavily oxidised. It also contains the full range of antioxidants: catechins, thearubigin and theaflavin.
Many of the studies below are highly preliminary.
1. Act as antioxidants
Free radicals are linked to many signs of aging, including wrinkles, dark spots and certain diseases, even cancers. They are everywhere – in the air we breathe, the food we eat and even the sunlight. Tea contains antioxidants that mop up the free radicals before they can hurt us.
2. Promote weight loss
Oolong tea has a reputation for weight loss, and rightly so. Scientific studies have found that it does so by increasing metabolism, burning fat and blocking dietary fat absorption.
3. Promote heart health
Oolong tea is good for the heart in several ways. A 2007 American study found that it reduces blood concentrations of triglycerides (the most common form of fat that exists in the body) by a whopping 80% compared to rats on normal diet. Another 2001 Japanese study found that it reduces cholesterol after 1 month of regular drinking.
A 2004 Japanese study conducted by Osaka City University found that oolong tea increases plasma adiponectin levels. Low levels of plasma adiponectin are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease (CAD).
4. Treat skin disorders
Atopic dermatitis (AD) skin disease, or eczema, causes the skin to become red, flaky and itchy. Mild forms of eczema can be treated. But many people suffer from what is called the recalcitrant AD, which does not respond to conventional treatment.
A 2001 study conducted by Uehara from Shiga University found that drinking Oolong tea is good for recalcitrant AD. 118 patients participated in the study. They maintained their dermatological treatment, but also drank 1 litre of Oolong tea (made from 10 grams of leaves) a day. Beneficial effects were observed after 1 or 2 weeks. 63% of the patients showed marked to moderate improvements after 1 month.
5. Complement diabetes treatment
A 2003 Taiwanese study found that drinking Oolong tea is helpful to diabetes patients. 20 patients participated in the study. They suffered from type 2 diabetes and took the prescribed hyperglycemic drugs. They drank either water or 1.5 litres of Oolong tea daily for 30 days. The scientists found that those who drank oolong tea experienced reductions in plasma glucose and fructosamine concentrations by 30% and 20% respectively. Those who drank water experienced no changes.
The scientists concluded that Oolong tea complements oral agents in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
6. Reduce high blood pressure
A 2004 study by Yang found that drinking green and Oolong tea for at least a year reduces high blood pressure. Regular drinkers are 46% less likely to develop high blood pressure if they drink one-half to two-half cups a day. They are 65% less likely to develop high blood pressure if they drink more than 2 cups a day.
7. Inhibit bacteria, Prevent tooth decay
A 1993 study conducted by Nakahara found that oolong tea inhibits the enzyme activities of bacteria streptococci. The bacteria has been known to cause dental plaque to form on teeth, which can lead to dental caries. Nakahara examined green tea, oolong tea and black tea in his study. He concluded that Oolong tea extract “exhibits the most prominent inhibitory action among various tea extracts”.