“Tea is the elixir of
life” said Myoan Eisai, in 1193, a Japanese Buddhist priest who introduced tea
and its ceremony to Japan. Almost a thousand years later, he might not be
completely wrong. In fact, all kinds of tea have similar, not identical,
benefits owing to the oxidation’s level – the reactions that result in the
browning of tea leaves. They are all derived from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis.
Different varieties produced depend entirely on the way the
leaves are harvested and processed. The less the
tea is oxidized, the more antioxidants it holds. By drinking tea, you could:
1- Cut your risk of heart attack: a recent study showed that drinking 3 cups a day was linked to a 20% reduction in heart attacks and 30% reduction in strokes.
2- Reduce your cholesterol levels: catechins, a powerful antioxidant, inhibits the cholesterol absorption reducing thereby the total and the bad cholesterol.
3- Shrink your belly fat: studies showed that when stressed, drinking tea will drop down cortisol levels; the stress hormone that contributes to the accumulation of belly fat.
4- Strengthen your bones: regular consumption of tea may promote healthy bones and reduce the risk of hip fractures especially in the wake of osteoporosis.
5- Keep a bright smile: tea can prevent cavities and tooth loss.
6- Boost your immune system: theanine, found in tea, was shown to boost the capacity of fighting cells up to 5 times.
7- Reduce allergy response: polyphenols and quercetin, compounds found in tea, may help ease seasonal allergy response. Adding honey to your tea will double the anti-allergy power.
8- Fight cancer: EGCG, a potent antioxidant, might have properties to fight cancer including lung, skin, prostate, breast and stomach cancers and reduce the size of tumors.
9- Protect your skin: tea can help guard from damages, UV radiation and aging.
10- Improve your brain function: extensive research has proven that caffeine and theanine improves focus, memory, mood, attention and reaction time. Moreover, by acting through multiple pathways, tea may reduce the risk of dementia.
11- Feel less tired: tea was shown to help with chronic fatigue.
12- Fight infections: tea appeared to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi in the body.
13- Lose weight: some studies proved that tea can promote weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight individuals while others have been inconclusive on this matter.
Written by Mira Tueny
Mira Tueny is a dietitian and a smoking cessation practitioner holding a Master’s degree from Imperial College London in preventive cardiology which encompasses screening and lifestyle changes that needs to be adopted to prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. She is recognized as SCOPE certified (specialist certification in obesity professional education) by the World Obesity Federation. After gaining valuable experience in renowned hospitals and healthcare centers in the UK and Lebanon, she founded The HealthQuarters in 2014 with the aim of creating a holistic environment. Mira works as a consultant for gyms, hotels, juice bars and food brands (Bjorg, Regilait, Elle & Vire,… ) She is a board member of the Lebanese Association of Medical Services for Addiction, a member of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO and a member of the European Society of Cardiology.
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A variation of this article was originally published in Cedar Wings