For centuries, tea has been revered throughout Asia as an elixir with almost magical properties. Bright and articulate people in the UK do not “get together for a cup of coffee” as many American do. They meet for a spot of tea. And more often than not, they leave those meetings inspired, stimulated and (here’s the magical part) calm. There’s actually some good science behind this. Unlike coffee, all teas contain xanthines, which simultaneously stimulate the brain and relax the body. That’s a very direct and immediate benefit. But tea’s effects are actually much more profound and sweeping than that. Without getting too scientific, we’d like to share some of those. But first, a word about the scientific names and terms used to describe the properties of tea: we did not invent these names. We could have undoubtedly come up with more romantic names than xanthines, flavonoids or polyphenols. But it’s important to know that there is some real science and natural, organic chemistry behind the benefits of tea. So please look past the nerdy names to what theses things actually do.
“ There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life. ”
This is not a new movement of idealistic college students. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage our cells, change our DNA and cause disease.
All tea, whether it’s green, white or black, contains polyphenols. These antioxidants totally have your back, fighting off those nasty little free radicals intent on taking you down. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently reported that the latest research “strongly supports a role for polyphenols in the prevention of degenerative diseases, particularly cardiovascular and cancers.”
A polyphenol, flavonoids give tea its crisp, distinctive flavor. Scientists are currently studying flavonoids for their role in fighting arthritis, cancer and cardiovascular disease..
A type of flavonoid, this powerful anti-oxidant is also found in grapes and wine. It is considered to be the most potent fighter of heart disease and cancer. Boom!
Tea is the only plant that has an amino acid in its leaves, called L-Theanine. It helps keep the brain alert and the body calm by boosting alpha wave activity.
Tea has no calories. Flowers and herbs in different teas add a few, and, of course, sweeteners and milk can add 20 to 60 calories. Still a modest amount.
The USDA says that all tea, not just green tea, “raises metabolic rates and increases fat oxidation rates, two things predictive of weight loss.” This is good.
ENJOY AND BE WELL.