The origin and history of tea is deep and complex. One of the most popular Chinese myth is Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China and inventor of Chinese Medicine and agriculture. Back then, there was a law that you must boil water before drinking it. Sometime around 2737 BC, a few leaves were blown from a nearby tree into Shennong's water, changing the colour. The emperor took a sip of the brew and was pleasantly surprised by its flavour and restorative properties. Myth has that, since then, tea was used in ancient China for its various medical and antidotal properties for the human body as mentioned in Lu Yu's famous work on the subject, "The Classic of Tea."
You may have recently started to drink tea for its health benefits, as a great alternative to coffee or even for their amazing aroma and delicious taste.
Did you know that tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world, after water?
This makes perfect sense as tea is so versatile - you can drink it iced or hot and they are an excellent compliment to any occasions. As history suggests, humans have been consuming tea for a very long time. But before you jump on the bandwagon and get yourself lost in the tea hype, let's make sure that your tea is "real" tea.
Real tea is only derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white and oolong. Anything else is an infusion of a different plant and technically isn't a real tea.
Did this shock you?
Continue to read below to find out why and how drinking tea benefits us and if it's too good to be true.
Health Benefits Of Tea
It is claimed that drinking tea, especially green tea, can fight diseases, prevent chronic illnesses and even lengthen life. This is because tea is known to contain a high concentration of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols. Polyphenol is a plant-based molecule that have antioxidant properties and they are known to provide us with the following health benefits:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published in their article "Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond" that polyphenols may contribute to the prevention of cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases. There are numerous studies that agree with the above hypothesis:
The American Cancer Society states:
Another study published in the Journal of Carcinogenesis states that:
And the Cancer Prevention Research cites a study where it concluded that:
Heart Diseases And High Blood Pressure
A study of 40,530 people in Japan, where green tea is widely consumed, found a correlation between the consumption of tea to significantly lowered risks of dying from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Regular consumption of green or oolong tea (at least for a year) has also been found to lower the risk of developing hypertension by 46% for those who drank up to 2.5 cups a day and 65% less for those who drank more than 2.5 cups.
A review published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, concludes that:
Considering that cancer and cardiovascular diseases are the top killers of today, such positive effects of tea is impressive. But hold on, there's more!
Tea Also Helps Us To...
- Boost exercise endurance
- Hydrate the body
- Protect us from harmful UV rays
- Lower cholesterol and induce weight loss
- Counteract negative effects of smoking cigarettes
- Improve your bone mineral density (for osteoporosis and strength)
- Suppress harmful bacteria and promote growth of beneficial gut bacteria
Is It Too Good To Be True?
So drinking tea prevents the most deadliest killers and degenerative conditions known to man, boosts concentration, and even counteract the negative effects of smoking cigarettes? If you are thinking that this is too good to be true, you may be right.
Unfortunately, tea isn't the magic potion that will make us live healthier and longer, but according to the most recent scientific evidence, it only may play a role.
Qi sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition of Harvard School of Public Health states:
Sun further comments that: "tea consumption, especially green tea, may not be the magic bullet, but it can be incorporated in an overall healthy diet with whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables, and less red and processed meat".
The bottom line is that there is no magic bullet when it comes to health and well-being. I'm not saying that drinking tea doesn't help, but no one should solely depend on drinking tea for the sake of their health. It is said that the very simple act of adding sugar to your tea is more than enough to offset and cancel the health benefits of tea.
Health is something that needs to be constantly worked for and it simply cannot be bought -- whether it's in a form of a pill or a sachet of tea. Drinking tea and taking vitamin supplements will do you no good, if your life is filled with destructive behaviours and habits. So let's appreciate our health, avoid the things that are detrimental to our health and add things like tea to complement our healthy lifestyle.
Always remember that your health is your number one asset.
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