Thursday, January 12, 2012


Sources and photo: NEXT magazine

Besides relaxing the mind and aiding digestion, frequent tea drinking is now associated with better cardiovascular health.
Let us find more reasons to enjoy our cuppa.
After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide and there's even greater impetus to drink more of it now. Regular intake may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to recent research studies conducted by Professor Jonathan Hodgson of the University of Western Australia's School of Medicine and Pharmacology. Drinking at least 3 cups of tea p/day is associated with an 11% reduced risk of heart attack and 21% reduced risk of stroke.
What makes this simple and light beverage such a powerful health booster? The answer lies in the huge amounts of flavonoids found in tea. To optimise the realease of flavonoids, Dr Jane Rycroft, research director of Lipton Institute of Tea, recommends that we brew tea with hot water (about 80°C  to 90°) . "In general, the water temperature does not affect the stability of flavonoids" she says, adding there's no evidence that suggests organically grown tea has better health benefits.
The effect of tea on our well-being was already recognised 5000 years ago and it was used as a treatment for infectious diseases, colds, and also as an aid to digestive and nervous systems. Among the different types of tea, the health benefits of green tea are most notable and reported in numerous research papers. Green tea was found to lower the risk of cancer, infective intestine diseases and liver infections. It also helps to lower cholesterol and assists with weight loss.
But both Professor Hodgson and Dr Rycrofts say drinking black tea is just as beneficial. Tha total flavonoid content in black tea is similar, however they contain different types of flavonoids.
Even without its health powerhouse status, drinking tea plays a central part in our lives, with million of people enjoying their tea on a daily basis. Introduced into rhe West some 400 years ago, tea which originates in China has exertd a profound influence on societies and cultures around the world. There are unique tea ceremonies in various cultures and many parts of the world have social etiquettes on how, when and where to drink it. Confused by the deluge of information about tea? We debunk the myths.

Tea revelations
Myth: Consumption of caffeinated beverages will result in a greater loss of volume od urine than the volume of water.
Fact: Caffeine intakes of 38- 400mg / day or the equivalent of 1-8 cups of tea are acceptable.
Myth: Tea affects iron status.
Fact: Drinking does not adversely affect iron status in healty individuals with no risk of iron deficiency. Those at risk are reccommended to drink tea away from mealtimes.
Myth: Tea losses its benefits if you add milk and sugar.
Fact: Studies show topping up with milk does not affect flavonoid bioavailability but may delay uptake, and add fat. Sugar in tea does not influence absorption of flavonoids, but would increase its calorie content and thus present a risk for dental health.
Myth: Drinking tea is bad for the teeth.
Fact: The flavonoids can stain teeth over time, but goid oral hygiene can help to minimise this. Tea is also a good source of floride and could be beneficial for teeth.

** Apart from being potent antioxidants, flavonoids increase the production of an important chemical in the inner lining of our blood vessels. This chemical, nitric oxide, in turn works to relax the arteries, thus improving blood flow, explains Professor Hodgson.

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