Tea is widely consumed as an aromatic beverage all over the world by pouring heated water over the leaves Camellia sinensis.
Tea was consumed as medicinal drink and was believed to have originated in China around the year 50 BC.
It is currently available in a variety of forms and combinations and is also mixed with other medicinal herbs and plants to provide an extra flavor and enhance its nutritional benefits and properties.
Tea is now cultivated in many a parts of the world but it has been native to South East Asian regions such as India, China, Nepal and Bhutan.
Tea plantations are also widely found in Sri Lanka
Tea is mainly consumed as black where in the tea leaves are boiled in water and the resultant liquid is strained, filtered and ingested and the other form or white tea where in milk is added to tea and the same is boiled, filtered and consumed.
Various regions of the world have developed their own special types of tea’s which are unique in their own manner or ingredients and preparation.
Biochemically, tea contains caffeine and phenols as major ingredients.
It also contains flavinoids, tannin’s, polyphenols and gallate apart from the above major constituents
Owing to the use of pesticides in tea plantations, there is a higher percentage of content of aluminum, manganese and fluoride.
Each tea may also vary in the concentration of these components depending on the type of soil it is grown in and the mineral content of the soil.
Benefits of TEA
Tea has a high antioxidant content which helps to contain the aging process and slow the same. The polyphenols in tea help keep the body healthy and are also known to help prevent certain types of cancers.
Tea has a lesser content of caffeine as compared to coffee and therefore doesn’t hamper the senses in any way unlike the way coffee does.
Tea helps maintain hydration and prevents loss of fluid and water from the body.
Tea contains an amino acid that is known as L-theanine which has a marked action on the brain and helps improve brain functioning and cognition. It thus helps improve concentration and also helps relax the body.
A type of tea known as red tea is known to help soothe and calm the nerves. It especially helps in relieving headaches and controls irritability thereby calming the mind.
Tea is known to have a protective as well as beneficial effect on the heart and the circulatory system and helps prevent cardiac diseases especially heart attacks. It also helps lower the blood pressure and keep the same in check by lowering it in case of hypertension.
Tea is known to reduce and control cholesterol levels in blood thereby keeping the same in check.
Tea also has an important impact on the digestive tract as it helps protect the same. It helps to increase and improve secretion of gastric juice which aids digestion thus helping the stomach function better and carries on the same function into the intestines by maintaining the bowel movements and helping flush the bowel completely.
This thus helps avoid infections and the production of harmful bacteria in the intestines and promotes the growth of the good bacteria helpful in digesting food.
Tea improves the overall metabolic rate of the body thereby improving our physical skills and our working capacity.
This also helps build the body’s immunity and thus preventing it against illnesses and helping build its resistance.
This thus helps prevent and fight against diseases such as neurological illnesses, cardiac disorders, neurological and psychological disorders and also auto immune disorders.
Side effects or disadvantages
The consumption of tea should be limited especially in case of children and pregnant women.
Women who are breast feeding should also avoid the intake of tea owing to the caffeine content.
Drinking tea may worsen anemia, hence people suffering from the same should restrain from consuming it.
Caffeine acts on the brain and the senses and is usually restricted in case of those who suffer from psychiatric disorders or anxiety disorders.
Caffeine is known to cause hampering and slowing of the clotting mechanism of the blood and thus should be avoided by those suffering from blood related diseases or those who are on blood thinning medicines such as aspirin and its derivatives.
Those having severe cardiac diseases must avoid tea as caffeine may affect the heart adversely leading to irregularities of the heart beat and rhythm.
Caffeine reacts with medicines taken to control seizure thereby lowering the effect of the same and hence the intake of the same should be avoided owing to their interaction.
Excessive intake of tea is also linked to irritation of the urinary bladder resulting in over activity of the same causing frequent urination and urinary tract infections. Thus the intake of tea should be monitored in such people.
Thus we are able to understand and study the benefits of tea and how it has a variety of actions on the body which are protective to the same. We also see how caffeine being an important component can adversely affect the body thus its consumption needs to be monitored.