Eastern cultures recognized the health benefits of tea as far back as 1776 BCE. After witnessing such a prolonged adherence to the use of tea as a healthy elixir, Westerners also embraced the idea and began sipping tea about three hundred years ago. Tea comes in several forms, including white, oolong, and herbal, but the most common teas are black and green. Each has its own special properties and each can be found in leaf form as well as packaged in a tea bag.
Antioxidant polyphenols are one of the greatest health benefits of tea. It is important to continuously replenish antioxidant molecules, as they are the body’s defense against the damaging effects of free radicals, which can accelerate the progression of cancer and cardiovascular issues. In short, antioxidants prolong the lifespan.
One specific group of antioxidant polyphenols found in tea is flavonoids. A substance called catechin is found in these flavonoids, and this antioxidant compound provides the strongest and best defense against free radicals. Without a proper defense, free radicals will act as terrorists in the body. They’re missing an electron which makes them unstable and reactive which, in turn, causes them to seek out electrons in other cells. The result is cell damage and cell mutation.
Adding a few cups of tea to the menu each day in order to take advantage of the health benefits of tea will ensure this powerhouse of health will keep antioxidants in constant supply. This makes the flavonoids found in tea a superstar in proactive health planning. Many wonder which tea provides the biggest health benefit, but all teas contain antioxidants and will be of benefit. However, because green tea undergoes less internal change than black tea, the abundance of catechins is greater, and white tea has recently been reputed to provide the most antioxidants all around.
Tea also contains fluoride which is great for teeth, because it kills the bacteria that causes bad breath and inhibits the formation of plaque. In addition to cancer prevention, it has been suggested that some other health benefits of tea are a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, liver disease, weight loss, immunity, and gastrointestinal issues.
To gain the greatest positive effect from tea, it should be brewed for at least 3 – 5 minutes. Fresh leaves are generally better than tea bags, and it’s best to drink the tea plain, without sugar or cream. However, drinking tea in any form will provide a healthy benefit.