Tea is the second-most popular and commonly consumed beverage throughout the world, next only to water. There have been numerous evidences suggesting the positive health benefits of tea, particularly the green tea, which is well-known for its powerful anti-oxidant properties, and its role in preventing heart diseases and Cancer. This is due to the presence of Polyphenol Catechins, an antioxidant, which helps in protecting the body from free radical damage.
The Journal of American Medical Association, last September, reported that Japanese researchers of Tohoku University, who studied the positive implications of green tea on women, found that those drinking a minimum of five cups of green tea a day, cut down one-third the risk of death due to heart diseases. The research revealed that this positive impact appeared to be stronger in women, than in men.
Even Black tea drinkers showed similar protection from heart diseases. A group of volunteers were subjected to stressful situation over a six weeks period, by researchers of University College, London. The black tea drinkers felt more relaxed and calm, over a period of time, in comparison to the placebo beverage drinkers with the same amount of caffeine. On the whole, tea drinkers also showed lower Cortisol levels (the stress hormone that contributes to heart disease).
Apart from the benefits for heart, numerous other studies have revealed various other benefits. A few of which are:
- Green tea curbs Esophageal Cancer (Harvard Medical School 2004)
- Green tea, black tea slows down growth rate of Prostate Cancer (David Geffen School of Medicine, 2004).
- Green Tea, White tea fights Colon Cancer (Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Carcinogenesis, 2003)
- Green tea reduces hypertension (National Cheng Kung University, 2004)
- Tea boosts immunitiy (National Academy of Sciences, 2003)
- Green tea component kills Leukemia cells (Mayo Clinic, 2004)
- Tea delays onset of Alzheimers Disease (Medicinal Plant Research Center, Newcastle University, 2004 )
- Tea may be an AIDS fighter (Tokyo University, 2003)
- Green tea component may cure Sepsis (The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 2007)
The more the processing, the darker the tea leaves will turn. Green tea is the least processed tea, while the black and red teas are partially dried, crushed and fermented and are steamed quickly. Irrespective of the method of processing, all teas contain polyphenols. However, to gain maximum health benefit of green tea, it is recommended to brew it for atleast three to five minutes to bring in the beneficial polyphenols. Adding milk to tea could interfere with its anti-oxidant property levels, say experts.