What are the health ben­e­fits of tea?

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

TEA is the sec­ond most con­sumed bever age in the world, sec­ond only to wa­ter. All tea, in­clud­ing the four main types (black, white, green and oo­long) orig­i­nates from the same plant, Camel­lia sinen­sis. Al­though all tea has the same ori­gin, the dif­fer­ences oc­cur in the har­vest­ing and pro­cess­ing.1

Green tea starts with freshly pick­ing Camel­lia sinen­sis leaves and im­me­di­ately steam­ing or pan-fry­ing them to halt ox­i­da­tion and fer­men­ta­tion, which re­sults in a fresher, lighter flavour. White tea is made in a sim­i­lar fash­ion us­ing the new­est, youngest buds of the plant. The leaves of black and oo­long tea wither and then are rolled and crushed. Oo­long tea is par­tially fer­mented while black tea is fully fer­mented.1

Matcha tea, which is re­cently gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity, is finely ground or milled green tea turned into a pow­der. Tra­di­tional matcha tea pow­der is then sifted into a bowl with hot wa­ter un­til frothy. When drink­ing matcha, you con­sume the whole tea leaf in­stead of just the in­fu­sion, which ex­perts say make matcha nu­tri­tion­ally su­pe­rior to green tea.

Herbal tea is made from a va­ri­ety of plants, herbs and spices and in many coun­tries can­not be called “tea” since it does not come from the Camel­lia sinen­sis plant. This MNT Knowl­edge Cen­tre fea­ture is part of a col­lec­tion of ar­ti­cles on the health ben­e­fits of pop­u­lar foods. It pro­vides a nu­tri­tional break­down of tea, an in-depth look at its pos­si­ble health ben­e­fits, how to in­cor­po­rate more tea into your diet and any po­ten­tial health risks of con­sum­ing tea.

Ac­cord­ing to the USDA Na­tional Nu­tri­ent Data­base, one cup of black tea (ap­prox­i­mately 237 grams) con­tains 2 calo­ries, 1 gram of car­bo­hy­drate, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fib­ber and 0 grams of pro­tein as well as 26% of daily man­ganese needs and small amounts of ri­boflavin, fo­late, mag­ne­sium, po­tas­sium and cop­per. The caf­feine con­tained in a cup of tea can vary ac­cord­ing to the length of in­fus­ing time and the amount of tea in­fused.

Over­all, tea con­tains few calo­ries, helps with hy­dra­tion and is a good source of an­tiox­i­dants. Cat­e­chins, po­tent an­tiox­i­dants found pri­mar­ily in green tea, are known for hav­ing ben­e­fi­cial anti-in­flam­ma­tory and anti-car­cino­genic prop­er­ties. A study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Phys­i­o­log­i­cal An­thro­pol­ogy looked at the ef­fects of green tea, white tea and wa­ter con­sump­tion on stress lev­els in 18 stu­dents. The study sug­gested that both green and white tea had a low­er­ing ef­fect on stress lev­els, how­ever, white tea had an even greater ef­fect. Larger stud­ies need to be done to con­firm this pos­si­ble health ben­e­fit.

Some stud­ies sug­gest that tea may be ben­e­fi­cial in re­duc­ing the risk of de­men­tia and even en­hanc­ing our brain’s cog­ni­tive func­tions, par­tic­u­larly the work­ing mem­ory. A 2006 study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion con­cluded that green tea con­sump­tion is as­so­ci­ated with re­duced mor­tal­ity due to all causes, in­clud­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

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