Health and longevity are not given to anyone just like that, you need to fight for them and start it as early as possible. The main tool in the fight for your health is a correct lifestyle. This concept includes physical activity, a positive attitude and, of course, proper nutrition, which provides the body with all the necessary substances. For a modern person who gets food from a supermarket, the last condition is almost impossible to fulfill, but there is one wonderful product that will help fill in the missing substances – this is tea. We will tell you exactly what the benefits of tea are.
Speaking about the benefits of tea, it should be borne in mind that only a high-quality, that is, a natural and fresh product that has undergone minimal and gentle processing and correctly brewed, has beneficial properties. Unfortunately, most of the tea on store shelves does not always meet these requirements; you should look for really healthy tea in specialized stores.
The benefits of tea
Perhaps no product has been studied as closely as tea. Tea leaves have been used by mankind as a cure for many diseases for 3000 years, and only recently has tea turned into an everyday drink. In the homeland of tea, in China, this drink is still respected and drunk for the treatment and prevention of diseases, for strengthening the immune system, for vigor, for inspiration, for relaxation. The first step in solving almost any problem is tea. In traditional Chinese medicine, good tea is believed to have the following medicinal effects:
Calms the nerves, helps to concentrate,
Makes eyes sharp
Clears the mind, makes the mind sharp,
Cools, relieves high temperature,
Saves in heat and drought,
Neutralizes the action of poisons,
Promotes digestion, helps digest heavy foods,
Prevents the formation of stones,
Relieves excess fat, promotes weight loss,
Soothes the breath, makes it deep
Maintains water balance in the body,
Activates sluggish intestines,
Removes phlegm and mucus, clears mucous membranes,
Strengthens teeth and bones
Heals heart disease
Heals internal inflammations
Heals skin diseases,
Removes boredom and yearning
Strengthens qi – life force,
Modern research does not conflict with this ancient knowledge. Japanese, Chinese and Korean scientists have repeatedly proved that good tea is really very useful for all systems and organs of the human body. Interestingly, most of the studies conducted in Europe and the United States did not find a strong healing effect of tea, because scientists used ordinary tea bags, and if they bothered to find whole leaf and fresh, they brewed it according to the European method, which negates the benefits of tea. (We will tell you how to brew tea with maximum benefit later.)
Tea and heart
Zhushang University studied the effects of tea on the circulatory system and found that tea (in this case, pu-erh tea) relaxes the veins, temporarily lowers blood pressure, lowers the heart rate, and regulates cerebral circulation. Regular consumption of high-quality tea helps to strengthen blood vessels, stop inflammatory processes, and prevent blood thickening. Tea is especially useful for elderly people suffering from high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis.
Tea and tumors
In Japan, there are long-term studies of the effect of tea on the formation and development of tumors. Dozens of independent studies have shown that when tea is added to the water of experimental animals, the growth of tumors stops. Scientists explained this effect by the fact that “the polyphenols contained in tea have a high antimutagenic effect and inhibit the development of cancer metastases, blocking disease-causing components in the circulatory system.” Tea also reduces lung tumors caused by tobacco carcinogens and helps heal the early stages of skin cancer.
Tea and stress
British researchers have found that regular consumption of black tea helps to endure stress with the least harm to the body. Tea helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol and helps you relax faster and more completely after anxiety. In case of depression, tea, on the contrary, invigorates and arouses interest in life. Considering that tea also lowers platelets and blood cholesterol levels, it can be said that this drink literally saves people from heart attacks and strokes on the basis of nerves.
Tea and caries
The high content of polyphenols and fluorides makes tea an effective remedy for strengthening teeth. Polyphenols reduce plaque formation by binding bacteria before they settle on teeth, and fluoride is needed to strengthen tooth enamel. American and Chinese scientists independently found that several cups of tea a day reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. Tea drinkers in general are much less likely to complain of dental problems.
Tea and excess weight
Tea’s ability to fight obesity was proven back in 1990. For 3 months, the French association ARMA monitored obese people who drank tea (pu-erh) 3 times a day and lost 4 to 10 kg. Moreover, the muscle mass of these people did not suffer, as is the case with most diets, it was the amount of fatty deposits that decreased, and muscle tone increased due to the activation of oxygen metabolism. Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris found that tea fights obesity by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. The effect of tea is comparable to that of statins, which are drugs for lowering cholesterol levels. In addition to lowering so-called “bad” cholesterol, the antioxidants in tea prevent free radical damage to cells and slow down the aging process. Therefore, those who lose weight with tea, the skin remains smooth and the hair shining.
Thanks to tea, heavy food is easier to digest, after eating there is not drowsiness, but vigor. With the regular use of tea, a taste for natural food wakes up, less and less want to pamper yourself with fast food and sweets, a person feels a surge of strength, he no longer wants to lie on the couch, but wants to move, create, communicate. The habit of drinking good tea can completely change your lifestyle, habits, interests and social circle, and the excess weight will go away by itself and will not return.
The chemical composition of a tea leaf is very complex and varied depending on the variety and place of growth. The main benefits of tea are polyphenols – this is the common name for flavonoids, catechins, anthocyanidins, for a total of about 20 compounds. It is the polyphenols that are responsible for the antioxidant, antibacterial, anticancer and other properties of tea. These substances are colorless, tart in taste, with an astringent aftertaste. Their maximum amount is found in green and white tea, as well as in shen pu-erh.
When oxidized, polyphenols are converted to taflavins, thearubigins and theabrovins, which are the substances responsible for the color and taste of tea. They form vitamin P and have a beneficial effect on blood vessels, liver, lungs and brain. Fermented teas – black, oolong and pu-erh tea – are rich in these substances.
The invigorating effect of tea is due to alkaloids – theine, theobromine, theophylline. Unlike caffeine, they act on the brain gently without causing overexcitement. Theine activates oxygen metabolism, increases muscle tone without increasing the heart rate.
Black tea and shu pu-erh contain pectin, which normalizes the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and helps to normalize weight. Tea polysaccharides lower blood sugar and protect against radiation.
Any fresh tea is rich in vitamins: carotene, which is converted into vitamin A, vitamins C, E and P. About 30 minerals are part of the tea leaf, including potassium, zinc, manganese, fluorine, chromium.
In 2003, the Beijing Institute of Biologicals discovered statins in aged sheng pu-erh, a substance that lowers blood cholesterol and prevents stroke.
There is no doubt that good tea is a real natural pharmacy in a cup. However, in order to take advantage of all the gifts of tea, it is necessary to brew and drink it correctly.
How to make tea for maximum benefit
It is not enough to find high-quality tea, you still need to prepare it correctly, otherwise it will turn from a healthy drink into poison. The basic rule for making tea is not to overbrew or leave for later. Too strong tea, especially if it was brewed yesterday, will only bring harm instead of good. The Chinese say so: yesterday’s tea is like the poison of a snake. For a long time in Russia there was just such a harmful way of drinking tea: they prepared a very strong tea leaves for several days and diluted it with boiling water when they sat down to drink tea. With this method, all aromatic, flavoring and useful substances of tea are destroyed, and resins and other not the best components of the tea leaf are released into the infusion. So let’s make it a rule to drink only freshly prepared tea of the correct strength and not dilute the tea leaves with boiling water.
Properly prepared, and therefore healthy, tea is easy to identify by color, aroma and taste. The infusion is transparent, of pleasant color, with a light aroma and sweet-tart taste. Bitterness and turbidity indicate that the tea is over-brewed – too many tea leaves have been used or the brewing time has taken too long.
To always prepare tasty and healthy tea, it is recommended to use a small container – a kettle or gaiwan with a volume of 150-200 ml. For such a volume, 5-10 g of dry tea is enough. If the tea is tightly compressed, this is approximately the volume of the thumb phalanx. For light teas made from whole leaves, this weight will be about 2 tablespoons of tea.
Before putting the tea in the brewing container, warm it up with boiling water, as well as the cups and drain container (chahai). It is convenient to pour boiled water into a thermos to fix the temperature. We brew the tea for the first time and immediately pour the water through a sieve into the chahai. If it’s pu-erh or oolong, you don’t need to drink the first brew, it’s a rinse. In the case of white, green and red teas, the first brew is the most fragrant – pour it into cups and drink a little.
The second and third brews are as rapid as the first – fill in hot water and drain immediately. On the fourth, you can increase the tea infusion time by a few seconds. On the next infusions, we gradually increase the time, and on the tenth infusion, if the tea still tastes good, you can leave it in the water for a few minutes.
There is also an easier way to make healthy tea – brewing, or rather languishing. In this way, you can prepare pu-erh or red teas. To brew tea, we put water on a fire in a Turk or a metal kettle, measure out the tea depending on the volume of water (5-10 g per 100 ml), rinse it with cold water, if it is pressed pu-erh, throw it into the water and wait for it to boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, leave the tea to brew for 2-3 minutes, pour into cups and drink immediately.
What to drink tea with for maximum benefit
High-quality and properly prepared tea does not need sugar, it already has a pleasant sweetish taste. If you like, you can supplement the tea with herbs and spices to enhance its effect. For example, tea with sage, lemon and honey helps with colds, and the addition of ginger helps to better absorb heavy fatty foods.
In China and South Asia, weak green tea is washed down with food. Everyone is familiar with the wise custom of serving Uzbek pilaf with tea – hot tea will help to assimilate heavy mutton fat, and fat is necessary for assimilation of vitamin E from tea. It is not recommended to drink black tea at the same time as the main meal; it is better to wait 30-40 minutes.
Tea should never be drunk on an empty stomach, as this can lead to digestive problems. Morning tea must be accompanied by porridge, sandwiches, cookies. The healthiest tea snacks in the middle of the day are nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, and fresh fruits and berries. Homemade cakes are ideal for tea in the evening. For evening tea, it is recommended to make the tea weaker than in the morning, and drink no more than 1-2 cups. It is very important that a lot of time remains between drinking tea and falling asleep – 2-3 hours, otherwise it will be difficult to fall asleep, and the benefits of tea are neutralized by lack of sleep.
Important note: after drinking tea, in no case should you drink cold water, no matter how much thirst torments you. Better to drink warm water or wait 10-15 minutes.
Drink only high-quality, properly brewed tea, and you will certainly feel its benefits.