People drink tea almost daily now, not only because it is considered healthy but also because of convenience and the many flavors and exotic tastes tea offers. You can customize your tea based on your preferred flavor and depending on what kind of health benefit you’re looking for.
If you want to feel relaxed, chamomile tea could be your first option. If you want to feel alert, on the other hand, you may opt for teas that have a high caffeine content. Or if you’re working on losing weight, green tea may be your drink of choice. Among the many health benefits of tea, here are five examples.
Brewed tea is known to contain many potent antioxidants. Brewed green tea, for instance, contains natural polyphenols called catechins. As an antioxidant, catechin is known to have wide-ranging effects and benefits almost every part of the body.
For instance, catechins are known to have protective effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems as well as the liver. Catechins can also help stave off obesity, diabetes, and cancer. With regard to its cancer-fighting properties, green tea has been shown to lower risks of developing breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer.
What’s really interesting about tea catechins is that these potent antioxidants are unique to chocolate and the plant Camellia sinensis, which is the source of the leaves used for making green tea, yellow tea, dark tea, black tea, and white tea. Moreover, these tea catechins are known to have more potent antioxidant actions that many antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.
The anti-aging effects of tea are an added benefit of its antioxidant properties. Due to its high antioxidant content, it helps protect the skin and the various bodily organs from oxidative stress.
Because of this beneficial effect of tea on the skin, some people even apply green tea directly on their skin. Manufacturers of cosmetic and beauty products are also using green tea extracts as a mainstream ingredient.
Aside from the anti-aging effects of green tea on human skin, it also benefits people who are suffering from acne breakouts. Since green tea has anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce acne-induced inflammation. Moreover, green tea is also associated with reduced sebum production, which can prevent further acne formation.
Another antioxidant benefit of green tea on skin health is its photoprotective effect. This means that you can actually apply green tea to your skin and it will work like sunscreen. Green tea antioxidants help reduce UV damage.
More importantly, green tea antioxidants protect the skin from DNA damage caused by UV radiation. And if you’re concerned about getting sunburned, you can also apply green tea topically on your skin – it will reduce the number of sunburned cells.
Herbal teas and those made with Camellia sinensis leaves are known to benefit the immune system. In various animal studies, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is the active ingredient in green tea, has been shown to help modulate the functions of immune system cells. Moreover, green tea was also shown to help improve the condition of animals with autoimmune diseases.
In one study involving mice with autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a dietary supplementation of EGCG led to decreased symptoms of the disease. In humans, the disease is equivalent to multiple sclerosis.
The researchers noted that EGCG acted on the lymphoid tissues as well as the central nervous system. And that it was this that caused the improvements in the symptoms of the mice. This suggests that green tea may be able to help prevent and treat autoimmune diseases.
Tea is traditionally known to have energizing effects, which may explain why green tea extract is now often used in sports nutrition formulations. Energy drinks or shots as well as protein powders now commonly contain green tea extract. The energy boosting effects of green tea are a natural result of its caffeine content.
There have been many studies on the various benefits of green tea on athletic performance. Aside from boosting energy, green tea can also help reduce oxidative stress caused by strenuous physical activities.
One study involved young men who were not engaged in professional training for sports. The men were exposed to strength training for four weeks. The participants in the test group were given green tea extract supplementation, while those in the control group were given placebo.
Those who were given green tea extract supplementation showed higher antioxidant activities. The researchers suggest that green tea may help prevent oxidative damage caused by short-term muscular endurance tests. It may also be beneficial for athletes undergoing long-term strength training.
Aside from helping prevent exercise-induced oxidative damage, green tea may also help improve muscle recovery. In fact, green tea extract is used in sports nutrition products specifically because of this particular benefit. Similar to other health benefits of tea, its muscle recovery functionality has also been tested in clinical trials.
When it comes to weight management, both the caffeine and catechin contents of green tea are involved. Green tea extract is used as an ingredient in weight loss supplements because it helps improve fat oxidation and increases energy expenditure.
Moreover, green tea is also associated with reduced lipogenesis which means it helps reduce the formation of fat or adipose cells. Green tea also helps reduce fat and carbohydrate absorption. Drinking tea is also associated with suppressed appetite and improved metabolism.
Various studies have shed light on how tea affects obesity and diabetes. In animal studies, African black tea was shown to be effective in reducing body weight as well as decreasing blood glucose levels in diabetic mice.
Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea have also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in mice. In other studies wherein obese mice were fed with green tea catechins, it was shown that fat oxidation was increased.
There have also been human studies showing that green tea helps increase fat oxidation. Studies have shown, though, that decaffeinated green tea extract does not produce the weight-reduction effects that caffeine combined with catechins produce.