What Is In Tea

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 After water, tea is the second most highly consumed drink in the world. All types of tea come from a common plant, scientifically known as the Camellia Sinensis. It is a sub-tropical plant that grows in different parts of the Asian countries. It mainly grows in places of high altitude. Tea is primarily cultivated in two methods, including the unorthodox and the orthodox. In the unorthodox productions, modern pieces of machinery like the leaf shredder and the mower are used. The three main components of tea are – essential oils, polyphenols, and caffeine. The drink might be consumed by the entire world, but its culture is very ‘local’. Over the years, tea has developed into a cultural mark of several countries.

Origin Of Tea

The origin of tea is supposedly associated with a Chinese legend that can be traced back to BC 2750. According to this legend, Emperor Shen Nung accidentally discovered tea when he was boiling water under a tree. The tea leaves fell into the boiling and produced a beautiful aroma. The Emperor soon came to know about its medicinal properties. Since that period, China has been cultivating this crop. During the rule of the Ming and Tang Dynasty, tea was not cultivated as a cash crop. It was the Dutch who exported tea to England around 1650. 

Drinking tea soon became a mark of aristocracy in Britain, and the government started to put taxes on the sale of tea instead of liquor. Tea also played a significant role in American independence when the British colonies in America got enraged by the huge taxation on tea. During the 19th century, tea as a beverage became immensely popular and became the life of colonial parties. Cookbooks from those times had records of all the essentials required for a tea party. It was through colonialism that the tea consumption spread in India ( mainly Assam), Africa, the Zen priests of Japan carried the seeds of this plant to Japan for studying, and soon after, tea cultivation started in southwest Japan.

Medical Benefits

 Tea has several health benefits which are mainly because of the presence of polyphenols – a form of bioactive compound. These polyphenols provide anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant properties to tea. It also contains detoxification enzymes that make our immune system stronger and reduce the aggregation of platelets. There are several polyphenols in tea, and among these, epigallocatechin gallates promote several benefits related to health.

A lot number of studies have proved that tea can reduce the risk of cancer. It mainly happens because tea has some substances that help in molecular functions, the proliferation of cells, and the transcription of genes. Studies have also proved that tea can eliminate health degradation due to psychological disorders. It can also reduce the possibility of some chronic diseases.

Our body has a natural immune system to combat free radicals. However, sometimes, the body elements are not effective enough. Consumption of tea helps in fighting free radicals. The presence of free radicals is related to the development of cancer, degeneration of the neurons, strokes, and heart attacks. Tea can also help in balancing the BMI of the body.

Health Benefits

  • Tea helps in lowering the cholesterol level-  There are mainly two types of cholesterol in the body which include the Low-density lipoprotein or LDL and high-density lipoprotein or HDL. While HDL extracts the fats from the cells and stores them in the liver, which gets eventually washed away by the system, LDL starts setting up fat in the arteries which can lead to heart attacks. Consumption of tea helps in reducing these stored fats or cholesterol.
  • Improvement of Gut health-  Tea is considered to improve gut health by inducing the increase of good bacteria. A healthy gut helps to fight off cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and bowel diseases
  • Blood pressure gets reduced:  Black tea consists of some substances that can reduce both the diastolic as well as systolic blood pressure. Consumption of tea can also help in stress management.
  • The sugar level of blood gets reduced: Consumption of tea enhances the activity of insulin in the body. The body starts to break down the sugar at a greater speed. It can reduce the risk of diabetes( type 2) and obesity.
  • Rich in antioxidants:  Tea consists of polyphenols ( a form of antioxidant), and it can have several health benefits. Several groups of polyphenols like theaflavins, catechins can help reduce cell damage.
  • Increases concentration:   Tea consists of L- theanine, a type of amino acid that enhances brain activity and increases focus. It also provides relaxation to the body.

Harms Of Consuming Tea

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. A cup of hot tea can make your day. This is an ancient beverage and has several healing properties. But if it is consumed in a huge amount it can negatively affect your body. Some of the side effects of over Consumption are-

  • It can decrease the absorption of iron: Tannin present in tea can hinder the extraction of iron from foods which leads to iron deficiency. It is advisable to limit your consumption to 3 cups a day.
  • Increase in anxiety and stress: Tea is a source of caffeine and increased caffeine levels in the blood can lead to restlessness and anxiety disorders. Try to increase the consumption of herbal tea rather than black tea.
  • Sleep disorders:  Excessive caffeine content in the tea hinders the production of melatonin, this resulting in sleep disorders. Sleep disorders can lead to fatigue and poor memory.
  • Feeling of Nausea:  Excessive tea-drinking can lead to stomach ache and irritation in the digestive tract because of the astringent quality of tannin.
  • Complications in pregnancy: Pregnancy is not the perfect time to consume tea because it can lead to several complications that eventually result in miscarriage. Herbal tea should also be consumed with caution because it can mess up your health system during the period of pregnancy.
  • Dizziness: Though it is a common side effect, it can prove to be fatal when the amount of consumption is 6-12 cups or more a day.

The tea that we drink today has traveled a long way. Be it in Cafes, restaurants, or our homes, a hot cup of tea always does the magic. It also energizes us to face a new hectic day. From the ancient dynasties of China to become a love affair in the west, tea has surely conquered uncountable hearts.

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