Tea is so much a part of our everyday life that we might never stop to think about how a unique plant from faraway China became the nation´s favorite drink. But the history of tea is fascinating.
Tea is often thought of as being a quintessentially British drink, and we have been drinking it for over 350 years. But in fact, the history of tea goes much further back.
The Birth of Tea in China
The story of tea begins in China. According to legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water when some leaves from the tree blew into the water.
Shen Nung, a renowned herbalist, decided to try the infusion that his servant had accidentally created. The tree was a Camellia sinensis, and the resulting drink was what we now call tea.
Whether this is true or not, tea drinking certainly became established in China many centuries before it had even been heard of in the west.
Containers for tea have been found in tombs dating from the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) but it was under the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD), that tea became firmly established as the national drink of China.
It became such a favorite that during the late eighth century a writer called Lu Yu wrote the first book entirely about tea, the Ch’a Ching, or Tea Classic.
It was shortly after this that tea was first introduced to Japan, by Japanese Buddhist monks who had traveled to China to study.
Tea drinking has become a vital part of Japanese culture, as seen in the development of the Tea Ceremony, which may be rooted in the rituals described in the Ch’a Ching.
Four Types of Tea
Did you know that next to the water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world? (Yes, even ahead of Coca-Cola.)
It’s only now that we are discovering all the tea health benefits and just how powerful a beverage it really is.
There are four types of tea: green, white, black, and oolong. All of these come from the same plant. And all of these teas are studied for their considerable health-supporting properties.
Of the four types, green tea seems to be the most health-promoting.
Dried green tea leaves are about 40% polyphenols by weight. Both green and white teas contain the most EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Which Tea is Better?
Every type of tea has its own unique health-promoting antioxidant properties:
- Green teas are loaded in catechins
That’s important because catechins (like the well-studied EGCG) help protect your cells against harmful free radicals and environmental stressors.
- Black teas are high in theaflavins
Theaflavins act as prebiotics to support healthy digestion. Up to 80% of your immune system lives in your gut. That’s why it’s ground zero for healthy immune system support.
- Herbal teas are polyphenol powerhouses
The rare antioxidants in rooibos (aspalathin, luteolin, and quercetin), are highly regarded for their ability to help support your body’s cellular response system.
8 Tea Benefits to Support Your Health
These seven tea health benefits will show you just how powerful tea can be in supporting your health.
1) Supporting Cellular Health
Researchers have known for years that people from Asian countries often live long, healthy lives, and have a lower incidence of cancer than North Americans and Europeans.
And many scientists believe this is because of the high consumption of plant foods among Asian populations.
But some also think the consumption of green tea — the most popular tea in Japan, China, and other Asian countries — could play a role.
According to a study published in Molecules in 2016, “Consumption of green tea (Camellia sinensis) may provide protection against chronic diseases, including cancer.”
2) Supporting Healthy Metabolism
Green tea contains catechins, which support the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. These catechins may also, according to some studies, improve muscle endurance during exercise.
3) Supporting Healthy Bones
Green tea may contribute to healthy body composition and healthy bones by supporting bone strength during aging.
4) Supporting Cardiovascular Health
Studies have found that drinking tea can support a healthy heart and circulatory system.
A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Hypertension found that “black tea ingestion dose-dependently… decreased peripheral arterial stiffness in healthy volunteers.
Our data suggest that… all tea drinkers could benefit from protective cardiovascular effects exerted by tea.”
5) Supporting a Healthy Brain During Aging
According to epidemiological studies, regular tea consumption may support a healthier brain during aging in a number of different ways.
A meta-analysis published in PLoS One concluded: “Our study suggests that daily tea drinking is associated with decreased risk of (cognitive impairment), (mild cognitive impairment), and cognitive decline in the elderly.”
6) Potentially reduced Rate of Parkinson’s
A team of scientists monitored 29,335 Finnish men and women over the course of 12.9 years.
They came to the conclusion that in both men and women: “More tea drinking is associated with a lower risk of (Parkinson’s Disease).”
7) Caffeine (Yes, That Can Be A Good Thing!)
Of course, unless it’s been decaffeinated, tea has caffeine (more in black and oolong than in green or white).
The health effects of caffeine are a controversial topic.
But, some scientific evidence shows that the caffeine in tea may enhance memory and cognition, support brain health, support healthy skin, support healthy body weight, and support healthy immune function.
8.) Helps to lose weight
Studies have found that the catechins in green tea can help elevate metabolic rate and increase fat oxidation which helped participants lose weight.
According to a small study, green tea is effective in reducing participants’ body fat due to the tea’s high amount of antioxidant EGCG.
Check the Tea Label
Many bottled tea products are mostly sugar-water. For example, Lipton’s Lemon Iced Tea comes with 31 grams of added sugar.
If you’re going to buy pre-bottled tea, It’s best to check the label to be sure it’s either unsweetened or only lightly sweetened.
And if you brew it yourself, try tea plain or with a squeeze of lemon or brewed with some ginger or other herbal teas. Or have it with just a dab of your favorite sweetener.
Enjoy your teatime, and reap the benefits of tea!
An Important Warning About Toxins in Your Tea — And a Solution
Like food, not all tea is equal.
Tea can be incredibly healthy, but many conventional teas and tea bags contain pesticides, cancer-causing chemicals, artificial or natural flavors, heavy metals, mold, other harmful toxins, and even hidden GMO ingredients.
In fact, most tea isn’t washed before it’s put into bags. And many tea bags are made using plastic.
A bit unsettling, right? So how can you get the most health benefits of tea without getting all the toxins?
Here’s the solution: Avoid cheap, low-quality teas, and choose high-quality, organic teas instead.
To get your high-quality organic teas please click this link.
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Please share your comments below:
- Do you drink tea? Which one is it, black or green tea?
- What benefits do you derive from your preferred tea?
- Aside from drinking tea, what other uses do you have for the tea?
Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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