The Incredible Health Benefits of Tea
The Origin of Tea
The word tea originated from a Chinese character for tea, which is 茶, and is pronounced tu, which translates as ‘bitter herb.’ Tea in its current form dates back to the Tang Dynasty and was originally discovered by Chinese health providers in the eighth-century and became used as a medicinal drink. Tea was then introduced to the West through priests and merchants of Portugal in the 16th century. Tea hit the mainstream and ultimately became fashionable during the 17th century when the Britons became avid followers of this new world beverage. Due to its popularity, the Britons found it necessary to begin farming the plant in India to bypass what was then a Chinese monopoly on the processed tealeaves.
The Current Outlook & Trends
Today, tea is a global industry, having transformed from a medicinal elixir 5000 years ago, to the most consumed beverage in the history of man today. The use and popularity of tea in the U.S. in fact has risen by almost 500% since 1990! Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world with the exception of water. It is consumed in the U.S. alone by roughly 158 million people per-day, with the greatest concentration of tea drinkers in the South and Northeast; making it the powerhouse of hot and cold beverages. Today’s American consumer prefers their tea cold it seems, with 85% of its loyal fans preferring iced. For those who prefer their tea freshly steeped and hot, 65% still use pre-portioned tea bags, however, loose tealeaves have begun to hit the mainstream with many making their own blends of fruit and herb infusions.
The fastest growing trend within the tea category is herbal Tea. “Herbal” tea most often refers to infusions of fruit and herbs blends made without the tea plant, (rosehip, chamomile, or rooibos for example), this trend is the next big thing in the tea category.. This style of “tea” is most commonly referred to as tisanes or herbal infusions to distinguish them from traditional leaf tea. We’re also beginning to see an emergence of tea being made from alternate plant sources. British researchers recently reported in the journal of “Annals of Botany” that tea which was made from the leaves of the coffee plant, which is currently consumed in mainly in Ethiopia and Indonesia; boasts a powerful antioxidant boost and contains anti-inflammatory compounds that prevent swelling and inflation.
Commercial Appeal & Trends
The retail and commercial food industry is also leveraging the continued emerging trend in tea consumption and future growth. Starbucks recently paid $620 million for the Teavana brand of teashops. This Atlanta, Georgia-based chain with more than 300 teashops and retail tea outlets is a sign of consumer popularity and growth. Many in the food industry, including Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chairman, president and CEO, believe that the tea category is still relatively an untapped market, and the next big thing in beverage reinvention with a growth upside that may even surpass that of coffee over the past three decades! It’s a clear sign that Teavana will be the vehicle for the rebranding of Starbucks alternate tea brand, Tazo, as well as becoming instrumental in their repositioning for the brands growth strategy into the 21t century! Some industry analysts see the global tea category as a $40-billion or higher, growth category. Tea consumption is still strongest and most traditional in the Middle East and Asia, where tea has been a mainstay beverage for centuries.
Health Benefits Defined
From the classic green tea to hibiscus, oolong and chamomile, teas are powerfully packed with flavonoids, antioxidants and micronutrients. Tea has been a standard building block for health, happiness, and wisdom for thousands of years and researchers in the West are now discovering the incredible health benefits of teas. Studies show that teas support the autoimmune system and can be a key preventative component for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even encourage lower levels of cholesterol and healthy weight loss, not to mention supporting mental alertness and awareness.
Tea also appears to possess antimicrobial qualities, which may reduce exposure to additional ailments. Tea is also a key alternative to coffee drinking. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, and the flavonoid compounds in tea are good for very good for the heart and while reducing the risk for cancer.
There is much debate regarding the health benefits in terms of the freshness and processing of tea as well as the idea steeping time and quantity to gain optimal benefit, but there is no debate among nutritionists that it is a health boon for anyone who consumes tea. That said, it’s clear to nutritionists and anyone with common sense that freshly brewed teas are far more beneficial than pre-made bottled teas that contain sweeteners and unnatural flavorings and preservatives.
The Key Teas & How They Provide Essential Nutrition
Many purists recommend these five key teas for maximum health benefits. Green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and Pu-erh tea as the founding flavors of beneficial teas. Teas originate from Camellia sinensis, a shrub native to China and India. They contain unique antioxidants referred to as flavonoids. The most potent of these health-healing nutrients is aptly named ECGC, and supports the resistance to free radicals, which contribute to the onset of diseases such as clogged arteries, cancer and heart disease. These primary teas have natural caffeine and a micronutrient called theanine, which supports brain function and is thought to heighten mental alertness.
One important note is that the more processed the tea leaves are, the less polyphenol content they’ll have remaining. Polyphenols include the beneficial flavonoids referred to above. Further, Oolong and black teas are also oxidized or fermented, which is why they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but they still pack a heavy punch of antioxidant and healthy micronutrient power.
The following is a review of the health benefits of tea:
Made with steamed tea leaves has a high concentration of EGCG and has been proven to have extensive health benefits. Green tea’s antioxidants interfere with the growth of several common cancers, which include lung, breast, bladder and stomach, as well as pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. Green teas benefits are shown to prevent clogging of arteries, they incinerate fat, counteract oxidative stress on brain function, reduce neurological disorder risks such as Parkinson’s diseases & Alzheimer’s as well as reducing the risk of stroke.
Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas. Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function. It helps lower high blood pressure and maintain a healthy one. Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is teeming with them.
The polyphenol compound in oolong tea is also responsible for the removal of free radicals in our body, because it functions as an antioxidant, and stimulates the behavior of other free radical compounds in the body. The antioxidants present in oolong tea protect teeth against decay, strengthen the bone structure, prevent osteoporosis, and promote normal, healthy growth of the human body.
Made from fermented tealeaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke
Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given Pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL Cholesterol.
So it’s clear to see that you have everything to gain and nothing to loose by adding tea to your arsenal for great health! Tea has a powerful effect on the body and provides massive benefits to the state of your health. It’s powerful impact in preventing disease and providing a feeling of wellness and clarity is all one needs to know to understand how tea becomes a boon to healthy living. Tea’s offer protection against cancer, heart disease, and stroke…which is the leading causes of death in on the planet!
Tea also eases the symptoms of illness and promotes recovery from several common maladies. Tea strengthens the circulatory and immune systems, bones and teeth; and ultimately regenerates the cells that repair and replace healthy skin cells. Tea is the ultimate elixir, healing tonic and one of the greatest gifts of nature!
We encourage drink tea and to take advantage of its numerous health benefits. We wish you well and feel free to contact us with questions or visit our partner site at www.healthandholistic for details about the best Lifestyle Plan for your unique health remedies and for additional free information on living a lifetime of good health!
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