Tea really is the best drink of the day – not just for its refreshing taste, but even more so for its powerful ability to help curb and combat a raft of health challenges and improve our general well-being.
Scientists are finding a growing body of evidence to show just how powerful components in tea are in helping ease common health woes and keeping both the mind and body in good condition.
A report – Brew Knew That? For Good Health, It’s Always Tea Time – compiled by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), explores the latest ground-breaking science and studies around the health benefits of tea.
The health-enhancing flavonoids obtained from just two cups of tea a day reduces the risk of death from all-causes of mortality by 40%, according to research published in the American Journal of Nutrition. Studies have found that drinking tea is associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic inflammation – which is recognised as a factor in many age-related health issues. Studies show it may even aid weight control and influence fat distribution.
Dietitian and a member of the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), Dr Carrie Ruxton says: “Tea is the ultimate superfood as it provides around 80% of the flavonoids in the UK diet and 70% of our dietary fluoride, unlike other superfoods which are expensive and have questionable claims about supposedly being packed with antioxidant flavonoids”
Flavonoids are natural plant components that have a strong link with a number of health benefits, thought to be due to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Laboratory studies show that just one cup of tea delivers the same flavonoid activity as two apples, three and a half glasses of orange juice or 10 glasses of long-life apple juice. Another, which focused on the oxidative stress which has a role in making arteries harden, found the flavonoids in tea were more potent antioxidants than vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene.
Professor Philip Calder, Professor of Nutritional Immunology within Medicine at the University of Southampton and a guest advisor to the Tea Advisory Panel, notes: “Tea and other herbal tea infusions are such familiar friends, we often overlook the number, and range, of health benefits they bring to the table. Two of the biggest drivers for illness and age-related physical and cognitive decline are oxidation and inflammation, and tea helps combat both.
“It’s no wonder that drinking tea on a regular basis reduces the risk of so many health issues and barely a month goes by without fresh evidence of the benefits of a brew.”
Mind and body benefits
Dementia, heart disease, diabetes and cancers are all on the increase as a result of our ageing population, sedentary lifestyles and burgeoning levels of obesity. Health and wellbeing specialist, Dr Catherine Hood from TAP, says: “Sustained lifestyle changes are required to reverse these trends, but this often begins with baby-steps and one very simple and effective way to reduce your risk is to drink tea on a daily basis.”
Tea has been shown to:
1. Potentially cut the risks of dementia or delay its onset.
2. Enhance cognition and memory.
3. Reduce depression and anxiety.
4. Cut the risk of heart and circulation problems by up to 20% – some studies have found it could even be as high as 45%.
5. Cut the risk of type 2 diabetes – studies indicate the beneficial effect could be between 16%
6. Aid weight control – thought to be because of the catechin content and because of positive changes in the gut bacteria.
7. Help tackle high blood pressure – one study found drinking black tea could have a 10% effect at reducing blood pressure, while another found drinking green tea could reduce the risk by 46%.
8. Improve oral health – one study found tea helped with 40% reduction in dental decay risk and there is evidence tea can combat bad breath, and reduce inflammation, bone reabsorption and the growth of bacteria association with gum disease.
9. Help protect eyesight – research shows tea can reduce the risk of glaucoma and could reduce the risk of cataracts.
10. Give bones better protection – tea drinkers tend to have stronger bones and researchers reported that tea appeared to improve bone mineral density, especially in the spine, hip and neck. A further study also found that tea consumption may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
For more information see www.teaadvisorypanel.com