Whether served as a hot beverage or as an iced refreshment, tea is an essential part of millions of lives, on a daily basis. Served early in the morning, a caffeinated tea can boost the energy and mood of the day; a cup of tea, maybe with a sweet dessert, can easily be enjoyed after lunch; or, at the end the day, a relaxing herbal tea can help to set the mood for a deep sleep.
One of the main benefits of drinking tea, though understated, is the actual hydration. Many of us these days consume too little amounts of water, as a result of oversight, forgetfulness or the assumption that juices/drinks can accommodate our water intake needs. However, the increased reports in headaches and migraines, stress and stress-associated illnesses can be traced back to the lack of proper hydration. For a healthy adult, the average recommended water intake is 2 liters/day (however, consult your physician whenever you decide to make drastic changes to your diet or routines). A simple tea routine, in the morning and in the evening, can easily increase your water intake, getting you closer to your body’s daily needs.
Apart from that, the varieties of teas available on the market these days ensures also that you take in a wide range of natural compounds, that have been shown to have beneficial effects for your health: polyphenols and catechins in green tea act as natural antioxidants (scavengers of reactive oxygen species) that prevent chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases (1, 2), but also infectious diseases (3); flavonoids, found both in black and green tea, can reduce inflammation, thus improving cardiovascular and bone health (4, 5); polyphenols from green, white and black tea also improve gastrointestinal digestion (6).
Not only do teas have a significant effect on the improvement of our physical health, they also have psychological benefits: on the one hand, they contribute to reducing anxiety, relieving stress and inducing a meditative and calming state; on the other hand, caffeine-containing teas or energy drinks are the go-to beverages when we need increased focus and attention. In addition, tea drinking may potentially also delay cognitive decline, thus preventing Alzheimer’s disease (7).
However, an important mention regarding the consumption of teas is that, as these various compounds have multiple health benefits, they may also have detrimental effects for certain groups of consumers. That is why it is important to consult with your physician regarding major changes in your diet or routines: for example, green tea is a major source of vitamin K, that can antagonize the effects of anticoagulant medication, in patients suffering from hypercoagulation, while a number of other cardiovascular drugs ( rosuvastatin, sildenafil, tacrolimus, simvastatin, nadolol and warfarin) may have their activity reduced or their toxicity increased, when co-administered with various teas (8).
In conclusion, the health benefits of drinking tea cannot be denied, given the millennia that this herbaceous drink has been utilized and the growing body of research in the last decades on the exact mechanisms by which tea influences our health. Although many factors influence the apparition and development of a diseases, it is safe to say that tea is a natural resource for promoting human health.
1. J. V. Higdon, B. Frei, Tea catechins and polyphenols: health effects, metabolism, and antioxidant functions. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 43, 89-143 (2003).
2. M. Pervin et al., Beneficial Effects of Green Tea Catechins on Neurodegenerative Diseases. Molecules 23 (2018).
3. W. C. Reygaert, Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases. Biomed Res Int 2018, 9105261 (2018).
4. C. L. Shen, M. C. Chyu, Tea flavonoids for bone health: from animals to humans. J Investig Med 64, 1151-1157 (2016).
5. J. M. Hodgson, Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular disease. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 17 Suppl 1, 288-290 (2008).
6. G. Annunziata et al., Colon Bioaccessibility and Antioxidant Activity of White, Green and Black Tea Polyphenols Extract after In Vitro Simulated Gastrointestinal Digestion. Nutrients 10 (2018).
7. C. A. Polito et al., Association of Tea Consumption with Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Anti-Beta-Amyloid Effects of Tea. Nutrients 10 (2018).
8. J. P. Werba et al., Update of green tea interactions with cardiovascular drugs and putative mechanisms. J Food Drug Anal 26, S72-s77 (2018).
No posts found