I have not always been a fan of tea, but I find reasons to drink a cup or two today. Apparently, tea has been found capable of keeping the body in top condition, and also helps in reducing the probability of developing debilitating diseases such a stroke or heart diseases. For those keen to lose weight, or to at least keep it to a certain level, tea could be instrumental, according to recently released data.
Once again, it is the polyphenols in tea that are believed to play such powerful roles, accelerating metabolism which in turn helps burn more fat, resulting in weight loss or the maintenance of a desired weight.
The evidence for all these benefits comes from 11 peer-reviewed studies that were all published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Tea Burns Calories, Fights Cancer
In one study, the researchers found that drinking tea within a 24-hour period results in the burning of about 100 calories from an increased metabolism. This could help explain how another study found that people who tended to consume green tea lost roughly 3 lbs. in 12 weeks, without changing their diet. This was unintended weight loss. Similarly, other studies found that regular tea drinkers have lower Body Mass Indexes (BMI), and lower waist-to-hip ratios. These two measures are indicative of lower levels of fat accumulation in tea consumers.
Tea is a known stimulant, though for many, this stimulating effect is appreciated in terms of increasing brain activity. However, tea is also a known stimulant of gastric (stomach) activity, which is why it is sometimes introduced to a fasted patient to determine whether he is impaired in the secretion of vital digestive chemicals.
Tea and Thermogenesis
Tea is rich in catechin, a compound that is also found in chocolate, where it helps explain the paradox of an energy rich food contributing to a slimmer physique. Catechin stimulates the liver into a fat-consuming thermogenic state. This thermogenic effect is also believed to affect gut flora and gene expression, thus enhancing the elimination of body fat on several levels. The burning of body fats has also been linked to improved muscle endurance, as it provides more energy for the muscles.
Tea and Cancer
Besides, catechins and other polyphenols have several beneficial effects on the body. In a cancer related research, one study found that only 9% of people who were in a tea consuming group developed prostate cancer while 30% of a non-tea consuming group developed cancer. Other studies suggested that tea could also reduce the probability of developing breast, lung, gastrointestinal or skin cancers. This is probably due to the high concentrations of antioxidants that are found in tea; these convert harmful and unstable free radicals into stable and harmless forms, which prevents the radicals from damaging cellular components, especially DNA, a characteristic of most cancers.
Tea and Bones Strength
Furthermore, tea seems be of importance in improving bone strength, especially amongst the elderly. One study associated tea consumption with a 30% reduction in the probability of suffering hip fractures amongst senior citizens more than 50 years old.
Tea and Stroke
A literature review of past tea-related research also showed that tea consumption was strongly linked to a lower probability of suffering a stroke, and this yet-to-be-fully-expounded mechanism could also be the reason why regular tea consumption is associated with a lower incidence of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Tea and Your Heart
And last, but not least, regular tea consumption has been associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and the mechanisms that facilitate this are only being understood now. The polyphenols in tea have been found to improve endothelial function and the dilation of blood vessels, making cardiac functions smooth and efficient.
But which is The Best Tea?
Now, there are many drinks out there that masquerade as tea, but they are not in the strictest sense tea. Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, and nothing else. So, for instance, I know people who consume hibiscus and call it ‘tea’; that is not tea, it is a hibiscus extract.
There are 4 main types of tea: black, oolong, white and green tea. They are processed differently, and consequently have varying concentrations of polyphenols. Green tea, which is the least processed of all teas, comes with the greatest combination of health benefits.