Thursday, March 19, 2015

Healthy Beverages

13 Reasons Tea Is Good for You
Carol W. Turner, Ph.D. Food & Nutrition Specialist

Ever since 2737 B.C., when Chinese legend says leaves from an overhanging Camellia sinensis plant fell into Emperor Shen Nung's cup of boiling water, tea has been recognized by cultures around the world for its capacity to soothe, restore and refresh.  In December 2013, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition issued a Supplement addressing the research that was presented at the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health.  During the symposium research conducted from 2007 to 2012 was shared.

But before loading up on Red Zinger, make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from the plant Camellia sinensis and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else, like herbal “tea”, is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea.  But what real tea lacks in variety, it makes up for in its health benefits. Tea’s health properties can be attributed to polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, and phytochemical. Though most researchers focused on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table.
1. Tea can improve exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
2. Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
3. The antioxidants in tea might help protect against many types of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostrate and oral cancers. But don’t rely solely on tea to keep a healthy body — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. While some studies suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
4. Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC”), which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals that can damage DNA in the body. While our bodies are designed to fight free radicals on their own, they’re not 100% effective —damage from these radicals has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and neurological degeneration.
5. Tea is hydrating to the body, despite the caffeine!
6. Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered with other factors like smoking, physical activity, age, and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
7. Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays. The good news is that green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
8. Tea could keep waist circumference in check. In one study, participants who regularly consumed hot tea had lower waist circumference and lower BMI than non-consuming participants. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke. Although it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
9. Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer. Good news, obviously, but not a justification for smoking.
10. Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process glucose.
11. Tea can help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped protect against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea can help skin bounce back following exposure.
12. Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
13. Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.

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