Tea is the most popular beverage in the world because of it’s attractive aroma, exceptional taste, health properties and pharmaceutical potential. Historically tea has been associated with mood and performance benefits. Continuous scientific research shows some tea properties to have positive effect on relaxation and increased cognition.
Tea is rich in flavonoids, a group of polyphenols which possess considerable antioxidant power and have been shown to impede the action of free radicals. An average cup of brewed cup of black tea (2 g of tea leaves) will provide 150-200 mg flavonoids. These compounds continue to be an active area of research that have been linked to various health benefits. Experts recommend about 600 mg of flavonoids per day, and which are easily attained with just several daily tea cups.
Black tea contains Amino Acids, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Potassium, Minerals (both major and trace kind), Manganese, Fluoride, along with Polyphenols that are mentioned above. All these ingredients in coordination or individually contribute to the following health benefits.
- Cognitive Improvements — Caffeine content inside the tea improves brain function by increasing alertness and concentration, improving mood while limiting depression. Unlike drinks with higher levels of caffeine and other stimulants (ie. coffee and energy drinks), the caffeine in black tea is less likely to over-stimulate the heart in sensitive individuals. Beyond just caffeine, studies show that L-theanine (an amino acid found in black tea) balances the affect of caffeine in a unique way, by raising cognition and task related focus while maintaining the body in a relaxed manner. Furthermore, studies show that regular consumption of black tea reduces levels of stress hormone cortisol, boosting memory function as the result. As part of black tea content ingredients, caffeine and theanine react together to produce an array of positive benefits on mood, alertness and relaxation, which continue to be an active area of scientific research.
- Increases Energy Levels — Moderate caffeine consumption not only improves cognition, it also stimulates metabolism. Here, tea containing caffeine interacts with another naturally occurring chemical L-theophylline, generating an overall smother and continuous increases in energy levels, compared to jarring affects of caffeinated sodas. Additionally, while caffeine mainly stimulates the muscles, L-theophylline targets the heart, kidneys, and respiratory system, so the overall impact on the body is more evenly distributed and balanced.
- Stress Relief — Study after study links black tea consumption with numerous health benefits including acute improvements on mood and alertness over the daily progression. Steptoe et. al. concluded in a 6-week study that drinking the equivalent of four cups of black tea per day lead to lower post-stress cortisol and greater subjective relaxation under laboratory conditions, as well as reduced platelet activation.
- Prevents Cardiovascular Disease — Numerous research links drinking black tea with reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). The focus area of ongoing scientific studies revolves around the consumption of flavonoids (found in black tea, spices and other foods). Cutting edge analysis shows flavonoids potential to lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) via a number of biochemical mechanisms.
- Cancer Prevention — The most-studied tea health benefit is its anti-cancer benefit. The polyphenols in tea help prevent the formation of potential carcinogens in the body.
- Immune System — The distinctive astringent taste of black tea comes from tannins. Several studies concluded that tannins helps to fight viruses such as “the flu”. The alkylamine antigens in black tea assist in boosting the immune response.
- Black Tea and Oral Health — Tea’s polyphenols and tannins kill and prevent the bacteria that cause tooth decay, and drastically reduce the oral bacteria responsible for bad breath. Additionally, tea plant naturally accumulates fluoride from the soil and contain 196 ug per 2g dry tea. Fluoride—both systemic and topical—reduces the risk of demineralization, improving tooth health in the process.
- Healthy Bones — Available evidence suggests that black tea consumption has a moderately positive effect on Bone Mineral Density, particularly in older women.
- Improves Breathing — Hot and brewed liquids expand air passage, thereby allowing you to breathe more easily.
- Improves Digestion — Black tea is rich in tannins and anti-inflammatory agents that have a positive and relaxing effect on the digestive system.
- Weight-loss — Research on tea and weight loss suggests that higher thermogenic effect (boosted metabolism) is generally attributed to caffeine content. And, particularly due to interactions between caffeine and polyphenols, which are both found within black tea.
Einother et. al. Acute effects of tea consumption on attention and mood. American Society of Nutrition. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.058248
Gardner et.al. Black tea – helpful or harmful? A review of the evidence. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 61: 3-18. 2007.
Gramza-Michalowska A. Caffeine in tea Camellia Sinensis – Content, Absorption, Benefits and Risks of Consumption. The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. 18(2). 2014.
Hodgson et. al. Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular health. Review. Molecular Aspects of Medicine. 31: 495-502. 2010.
Nehlig A. Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients? Practical Neurology. Apr; 16(2): 89-95. 2016.
Steptoe et. al. The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomized double-blind trial. Psychopharmacology. 190:81-89. 2007
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