The health benefits of tea

What health benefits does tea offer?

The deep flavor embodied in tea is worth your time to savor and appreciate.  Tea leaves contain various elements like catechins, vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and dietary fiber. And by working together, these substances’ benefits create synergistic effects.  Below is an itemized description of these effects that benefit your health.

1. Preventing sun-related skin damage and lifestyle diseases

Tea offers the benefits of various vitamins (e.g., A, C, and E).  In the case of vitamin A, tea contains a compound called carotene, which is not vitamin A itself but functions like vitamin A once it enters the body.  Quantitywise, tea contains ten times more carotene than carrots, four times more vitamin C than lemon, and three times more vitamin C than spinach.  A quality these compounds have in common is that they are not easily broken down by heat.  Looking at them individually, vitamin A keeps your skin moist.  Vitamin C prevents the pigmentation caused by melanin that leads to dullness and dark spots on your skin.  It is therefore particularly useful during the times of year when the harmful UV rays abound.  Then, there is vitamin E, which, like vitamin C, inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species inside your body.  Reactive oxygen species tend to bind to other substances and oxidize them.  In particular, when they bind to fatty acids (or “lipids”) to become lipid peroxides, they cause problems like hardening of the arteries (“arteriosclerosis”) and thrombosis.  There have been studies that demonstrate synergies between the antioxidative effects of the vitamins described above and those of catechins.

2. Boosting your resistance to the common cold and food poisoning

If you have previously noticed a slight bitterness in your tea, that is because of the catechins.  Catechins have many effects, but one of them is their antioxidative effect.  By binding to the proteins of cold viruses, the catechins disable the viruses’ ability to do you harm. Gargling with tea is thus one way to become more resistant to colds.  Secondly, tea kills the viruses and bacteria that cause food poisoning.  It also aids the growth of bifidobacteria, a group of “good bacteria” that reside in your intestines.  This makes tea your reliable shield against food poisoning.

3. Combating bad breath and tooth decay

Tannin, which suppresses the growth of oral bacteria, and catechins, which have a deodorizing effect, fight to prevent bad breath and dental cavities (tooth decay).  The fluoride that is mixed into toothpastes is equivalent to the flavonoid in green tea. These reinforce the enamel layers of the teeth and play a role in preventing cavities.

4. Preventing cancer

There are numbers showing that the cancer mortality rate in the tea-growing regions of Japan is more than 80% lower than the national average.  A type of catechin called epigallocatechin gallate has been shown to fight carcinogens and slow the progression of cancer.

5. Improving digestive health and relieving constipation

Tea leaves are full of dietary fibers.  Drinking tea and eating tea leaves will help relieve constipation and improve your digestive health.

6. Boosting desire

Tea leaves contain a substance called saponin, which is found in ginseng and other ingredients commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.  Saponin is known to make you more active and, as an aphrodisiac, boost your desire.

7. Losing weight

While oolong tea is known as a weight loss tea, there are other teas—including many of Japanese origin—that have similar benefits.  The caffeine content of tea is known to help burn fat.  So if you drink tea before exercising, you will burn fat effectively during your workout.

8. Recovering after heavy drinking and hangovers

In Japan when someone has a hangover, it is a long-held custom to suggest drinking tea.
But rather than a mere tradition, this practice is scientifically founded.

a) First, the caffeine content of tea stimulates the brain in the central nervous system and clears the mind.
b) Second, through the two effects of increased glucose production and vitamin C, the liver is energized and the alcohol in your body is more quickly metabolized.

These two processes make tea a fine solution for sobering up.

9. As an anti-allergic bath additive

It has been reported in experiments with mice that treatments containing what amounted to ten cups of tea reduced allergic reactions by 50%.  The finding shows that tea may relieve allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, headaches, and itchiness. Our suggestion is to put tea leaves in a small mesh bag and place it in the bathtub.

10. Preventing dementia with theanine

As an already well-known attribute, theanine gives tea its pleasant flavor.  But more recent research shows that the amino acid also holds promise for dementia prevention. Theanine, when exposed to sunlight, turns into catechin, which is the substance that causes the astringent mouthfeel.  Theanine is therefore abundantly found in teas like Gyokuro, which is grown in shaded conditions out of the sun.  Theanine is also known to induce good sleep.