Tea isn’t just a beverage. It is the stuff of elaborate ceremonies in many parts of the world. It’s a morning ritual for many families. It’s an excuse to get out of the office to chat with friends. It’s an after-dinner ritual for those who like a bit of chamomile or jasmine tea after a meal. It’s a warm aid to help you unwind after a long day. Depending on what kind of tea you drink, when, and with whom, tea can represent camaraderie, calm, or ceremony in equal measure.
Today, tea has over 3,000 varieties. But tea began its journey, first and foremost, as a medicine. In a throwback to the spirit in which it was originally consumed, here are five different varieties of tea and their health benefits:
Green tea, the most popular variety of tea among fitness enthusiasts, has many health benefits.
First, it contains a class of chemicals called polyphenols that increase our metabolism and help in weight loss.
Polyphenols also prevent some of the cellular damage that can occur naturally as a result of ageing.
Green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another polyphenol (there are more than 8,000 types), which is said to slow down the growth of many types of cancer cells (example, pancreatic cancer) and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Green tea also helps in regulating blood pressure and reducing bad cholesterol.
The polyphenols present in oolong tea help to reduce weight, lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Studies show that oolong tea improves cognitive (brain) function and keeps our teeth and bones strong.
Jasmine tea contains the polyphenol EGCG which speeds up our metabolism and helps us reduce weight.
The polyphenols in jasmine tea also act as antioxidants and protect our cells against damage from free radicals (single oxygen atoms produced as a byproduct of metabolism).
Studies also link jasmine tea consumption to reduced risk for heart disease.
A cup of jasmine tea contains 15-60 mg of caffeine, which boosts our brain function but also stimulates our nervous system by inhibiting adenosine - a neurotransmitter that sends signals to the central nervous system to slow down.
Jasmine tea, made from jasmine flowers and green tea, contains EGCG which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by enabling the effective use of insulin in the body.
This South African tea has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains bioactive flavonoids chrysoeriol and quercetin which stop allergies like rhinitis and asthma from triggering. Flavonoids are one of four groups of polyphenols, along with phenolic acids, polyphenolic amides and others (the curcumin in turmeric falls in the others category).
Rooibos tea helps to reduce inflammation and joint pains.
The vitamin C present in rooibos tea helps to repair collagen and connective tissue joints.
Rooibos tea also improves heart health and controls or prevents diabetes - it contains aspalathin polyphenol, which increases glucose uptake and checks the increase of fasting glucose levels.
Black tea is good for gut health. It promotes the production of good bacteria and checks the growth of bad bacteria in the gut.
Studies have also shown that drinking black tea improves heart health. One such study with 74,961 participants found that people who consumed four cups of black tea daily had 32% lower risk of heart diseases than those who drank no tea - the researchers followed up with participants for 10 years.
Black tea also contains antioxidants like catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins which promote good heart health.
Now, doesn’t your tea taste sweeter after knowing these health benefits of your favourite brew?
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more on this topic, please read Green Tea Benefits and Black Tea Benefits.