Tea Offers Many Benefits
> 5/29/2008 3:31:00 PM


Tea, a beverage created by infusing leaves from the Camellia sinensis bush into hot water, has been consumed in Asia for thousands of years. It was highly regarded for both its taste and its putative health benefits. There has been extensive study and debate about the benefits of the four basic types of tea made from the Camellia bush: white tea, green tea, oolong tea, and black tea.

The main difference between these teas is the extent of nutrient-stripping processing they go through before making it into the cup. Green tea is harvested with minimum oxidation, white tea uses young plants that are shocked and dried to prevent oxidation, oolang tea is 10%-70% oxidized, and black tea undergoes the most oxidation though it retains a very high level of caffeine. Most nutritionists have pinned their hopes on green tea, but other types have demonstrated health benefits and may even be better than green tea in certain situations.

Tea has been found to possess therapeutic benefits in a number of areas. Some of the most prominent among them include:
  1. Cancer — Chemical analysis of tea revealed that it contains high levels of the antioxidant catechin. Antioxidants neutralize dangerous free radicals that roam the body damaging cells and sometimes triggering cancer. Catechins can fight cancer by knocking out free radicals before they cause damage, and by interfering with the growth of tumors. The National Cancer Institute though states that human studies of tea’s protective capabilities are still inconclusive, a cautious sentiment echoed by the FDA.
  2. Immune System — Tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can boost the efficiency of T-cells and thus help the immune system stave off invaders.
  3. Cardiovascular Effects — A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 5 cups per day of green tea reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 26%. The polyphenols and caffeine in tea may speed up the metabolism, which can burn fat and reduce the risk of heart disease. Multiple studies have found that green tea reduced levels of harmful cholesterol.
  4. Mental Health — Many chemicals in tea, such as EGEC, can cross the blood-brain barrier. This has led many scientists to suspect that tea can protect against mental degeneration. Tea has also been shown to promote relaxation by muting the cortisol response to stressors, which can lower the risk of a vast number of mental and physical problems.

Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

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