People have been drinking tea for thousands of years. In many parts of the world tea drinking has rich cultural and communal ties. Though humanity at large has enjoyed the taste of tea for quite a while it was not until recently that scientists began exploring the health benefits of tea. As research continued it was observed that drinking tea may in fact be beneficial beyond just the pleasure it provides the taste buds or the ties it forms within communities. As it would turn out tea is actually full of compounds that hold a broad spectrum of health benefits.
Kinds of Tea
There are many kinds of tea on the market today. The teas which contain the widest amount of health benefits are the teas obtained from the Camellia sinensis plant. The Camellia sinensis is a shrub like plant native to parts of Asia. It is from this plant that green, black, white, and oolong tea are harvested. The difference between the kinds of teas obtained from the Camellia sinensis are due to different sorts of processing and curing techniques. These different processing and curing techniques will affect the health benefits provided by each variety of tea to some extent. The processing of the teas mainly affects the amount of antioxidants found within the variety of tea with green and white tea containing more antioxidants than black and oolong tea.
Benefits From Antioxidants
One of the most widely known health benefits of tea consumption is the amount of antioxidants present within tea. All varieties of teas contain antioxidants with green tea reportedly containing the most. There have been some claims that white tea contains more antioxidants, but substantial research has not yet been done into that matter. The most important antioxidant contained within these varieties of tea is known as EGCG. The antioxidant EGCG has been proven to help fight cancer. EGCG works by eliminating free radicals within the body. Free radicals are known to cause cancer as well as contributing to aging and just general stress upon the body. In some studies drinking green tea has been found to interfere with the growth of many kinds of cancers due to its antioxidant content.
Another benefit that has been ascribed to drinking tea is the lowering of bad cholesterol in the blood. Multiple studies have been done with all varieties of Camellia sinsensis tea, and they have found that drinking tea helps to lower cholesterol. This is a great discovery as it provides an additional measure those suffering from high cholesterol can take before being put on prescription cholesterol medication.
Beyond helping fight cancer and lower cholesterol, tea also provides many other benefits. There have been many recent studies linking green tea drinking to increased weight loss. Tea has also been proven to prevent cavities by strengthening the enamel of teeth. Another health benefit of tea is that many studies have found it to be beneficial to cognitive health. First of all the antioxidants provide protection for brain tissue. Tea also contains a compound called theanine that when taken with the caffeine in the tea synergistically helps to stimulate the mind without the usual caffeine jitters. With all the health benefits contained within tea it is easy to see why more and more people are starting to drink tea everyday.