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On occasion of international tea day let’s learn some goodness of tea’s 15 December is known as international tea day where Indians are known as tea lovers And anytime beverage a milk tea so let’s learn some goodness of other tea’s and inculcate in our daily regime to enjoy its health benefits. From green tea to hibiscus, from white tea to chamomile, teas are chock full of flavonoids and other healthy goodies.

Regarded for thousands of years in the East as a key to good health, happiness, and wisdom, tea has caught the attention of researchers in the West, who are discovering the many health benefits of different types of teas.

Studies have found that some teas may help with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes encourage weight loss lower cholesterol and bring about mental alertness. Tea also appears to have antimicrobial qualities.

Tea is a name given to a lot of brews, but purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea the real thing. They are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, and contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of these, known as ECGC, may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.

All these teas also have caffeine and theanine, which affect the brain and seem to heighten mental alertness.

The more processed the tea leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids. Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high.

The potential health benefits of tea

Green tea
Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.

Black tea
Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.

White tea
Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.

Oolong tea
In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.

Pu-erh tea
Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

Health Benefits of Herbal Teas

Made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots steeped in hot water, herbal teas have lower concentrations of antioxidants than green, white, black, and oolong teas. Their chemical compositions vary widely depending on the plant used.

Varieties include ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, hibiscus, jasmine, rosehip, mint, rooibos (red tea), chamomile, and echinacea.

Limited research has been done on the health benefits of herbal teas, but claims that they help to shed pounds, stave off colds, and bring on restful sleepare largely unsupported.

Here are some findings:

Chamomile tea
Its antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells.

Echinacea
Often touted as a way to fight the common cold, the research on echinacea has been inconclusive.

Hibiscus
A small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.

Rooibos (Red tea)
A South African herb that is fermented. Although it has flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties, medical studies have been limited.

Indian Masala Tea- best results if consumed without milk

Relieves Pain and Inflammation

Masala chai contitutes a whole array of spices like, clove, cinnamon, elaichi, ginger and tulsi. Every spice have its own individual health benefits. In Masala chai, all spices benefits works in synergy to relieve inflammation. Most important ingredient ‘Ginger’ have the ability to stop the synthesis of prostaglandins (a major player in the initiation of the inflammation process) to control inflammation.

Another important ingredient is ‘Clove’. It has anti-inflammatory compound ‘eugenol’ that helps to reduce inflammation in the muscles. Together both these spices are very potent painkillers

Beat The Fatigue
It is a wonderful experience having a hot cup of ‘Masala chai’ after a long hard day’s work. ‘Tannins’ contained in this tea revitalizes the body. Moreover, ‘caffeine’ though present in small quantity, act as a CNS-stimulant to induce alertness. Combined action of both ‘tannins’ and ‘caffeine’ acts as the best way to drive away fatigue.

Relieves cold and flu
Masala chai is infused with the goodness of all spices to improves immune defence system and keep common infections at bay. All its constituent spices have the antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties. Also, the immune boosting effects of clove, cinnamon, elaichi and ginger helps to keep coughs and colds at bay.

Improves digestion
‘Chai’ on its own is highly acidic in nature. On adding ginger as a condiment it becomes a ‘Masala chai’, with a great digestive action and in fact cuts out the acidic nature of the tea. Apart from this, clove and elaichi also help to improve digestion by increasing the amount of saliva production and inducing peristalsis (the movement of food down the digestive tract).

Friendly for Heart
‘Black tea’, as one of the main constituent of masala chaihas strong anti-oxidant properties. Spices like ‘clove’ and ‘elaichi’ help to reduce the amount of plaque formation of arterial blocks by decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol and improving the good cholesterol. The ‘tannins’ help to regulate heart rate and blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels.

Helps in Weight Loss
An active and good metabolism is usually associated with improving digestive system and weight loss. ‘Ayurveda’ also confirms the ‘tea’ role as a heat generating food and speeding up metabolism.

Controls Diabetes
Spices like ‘clove’, ‘cinnamon’ and ‘elaichi’by increasing the insulin sensitivity in the bodyare known to prevent diabetes and lowering one’s blood sugar levels. ‘Cinnamon’ helps to keep the mind sharp and prevent the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s, while ‘clove’ can help body to better utilize sugars.

RelievesRelieves Pre-menstrual Syndromes (PMS)
As a natural friend to fight the symptoms of PMS, ‘Masala chai’helps to relax muscles and calm nerves for a happy mood. As potent painkillers, elaichi, clove and cinnamon help to deal with the painful periods.

Curated By Dt. Vidhhi Mehtaa