"As much as you can eat healthy, it’s also important to remember
to drink healthy too. Tea is very healing."
From the moment we pour the hot water over our tea leaves, we are instantly drawn into the magical aromas they release. And while many of us enjoy drinking tea for the taste, warmth, or even the way it makes us feel, we are also receiving a wide variety of health benefits.
During the time of infusion, when the elements of tea dissolve into the water, is when key chemical ingredients are released. Although tea leaves have many beneficial components, it is the polyphenols, specifically, that provide tea drinkers with some remarkable health properties.
Polyphenols are a group of phenols that make up organic molecules we find in the plant world. In tea, these phenols are present in the catechins, which we often hear referred to as “tannins.” These tannins are what give tea its astringent quality, but also its strength and thickness.
While both tea and coffee have caffeine, it is thanks to the presence of tannins that allow for the infused tea leaves to release a more stabilized, slower caffeine effect. The caffeine found in coffee, flows directly to the blood circulation accelerating the heart rate; tea has a different approach.
The caffeine in tea stimulates not only the central nervous system, but also the cardiovascular system as well, by enlarging the diameter of the vessels in the cerebral cortex. This slower release, therefore, puts tea under the category of a stimulant while coffee is more of an excitant.
As such, it has been shown to sharpen the mind, allow for better concentration, reduce fatigue, and even enhance the overall intellectual acuity of the person drinking it. This may be why tea is the second most-consumed drink in the world, falling only second to water. Want to know more of how water helps? Be sure to check out our post on the benefits of water.
Although tea contains several healthy components, such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, green tea, in particular, contains a higher number of polyphenols. This is thanks to the way its leaves are dehydrated. Polyphenols are also beneficial to helping to naturally lower blood pressure, such as is discussed in our blood pressure post.
It also has higher levels of antioxidant properties, and therefore, many promote it as a preventative to certain types of cancer. Add in the fact that it contains vitamins and catechins, which aid in increasing our intellectual performance, and green tea is a real winner.
And even though we are predisposed in many ways to what our genes dictate to us, what we consume has a real impact on our health too. If, say, you have a family history of cancer and want to lower your chances of being diagnosed with the disease, one can only hope to benefit from drinking more green tea.
Learn more about your genes and how epigenetic testing can help here.
My Toolbox Genomics empowers individuals in their healthcare journey by creating reports focused on genetic predispositions derived from published research. Test results and suggestions are intended to lead to consultation with one’s healthcare practitioner. MyTBG reports do not diagnose disease or medical conditions. Any lifestyle changes should result from consultation with qualified healthcare practitioners.