People take at least one cup of tea every day to give their brains a spark or warm their bodies in cold weather. While most people take tea for pleasure, there is growing evidence that drinking tea can boost your immune system. The health benefits are especially valuable at a time when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 crisis. This post explores how taking tea can boost your immune system and consequently improve your health and wellness.
White tea is an extract of the Camellia sinensis herb that grows naturally in India and China. It is renowned for its strong flavor, but research indicates that it is rich in antioxidants such as tannins and catechins. The two compounds fight cancer and other forms of chronic inflammation. It also contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth by moderating the destructive effect of plaque.
Green tea is popular for its strong flavor, but it also has high levels of flavonoids that boost heart health by preventing blood clotting and reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Green tea contributes to the prevention of liver, prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer. It is also associated with skin health and is recommended for people who want to have a smooth, radiant skin. Some people take green tea in the form of matcha, which comprises of ground tea leaves. Matcha contains more antioxidants than ordinary green tea because it is made from raw leaves.
Black tea is a form of tea derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis herb. It is the same herb that produces green tea, but the leaves used in black tea are dried, ground, and fermented to give the tea a dark hue and strong flavor. It is popular because it has more caffeine than other types of tea. Black tea contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols. Polyphenols fight inflammations associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Oolong tea is native to China and is also an extract of the Camellia sinensis herb. However, it differs from green and black tea in that it is more oxidized than green tea but not as much as black tea. This controlled drying gives it its distinct color and flavor. Oolong contains L-theanine, which is associated with relaxation and increased concentration when completing demanding mental tasks. L-theanine is recommended in the prevention of cognitive disorders such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Oolong also contains polyphenols that lower the risk of inflammation, prevent different types of cancer and type-2 diabetes.
Camomile tea is extracted from the flowers of the Asteraceae plant. It is popular with consumers who love caffeine-free alternatives due to its strong flavor. It is rich in antioxidants that reduce the risk of inflammations that cause conditions such as cancer and heart disease. It also has a calming effect on the brain and aids indigestion.
Herbal tea includes all forms of tea that contain blended herbs, spices, wild fruits, and other medicinal plant parts as additives in tea packages. Each type of herbal tea has unique immune-boosting properties, depending on the active ingredients in the additives. For instance, ginger relieves inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, while hibiscus enhances liver function, burns harmful fats, and moderates blood pressure.
The scientific evidence
Antioxidants have several health benefits that improve wellness and boost the immune system. Consuming tea that is rich in flavonoids helps rid the body of free radicals that cause cell damage. Studies indicate that there is a significant increase in antioxidants in the plasma after consuming tea. Tea flavonoids are potent free-radical scavengers that prevent oxidative damage on the DNA and other macromolecules in the body. The elimination of free radicals reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Most tea products contain a class of antioxidants called polyphenols that include substances such as thearubigins, catechins, and theaflavins. Studies indicate that theaflavins and thearubigins reduce the levels of blood sugar and cholesterol in the blood. These two substances are risk factors for obesity and diabetes. Other studies indicate that catechins eliminate excess body fat lowering the risk of obesity and other health conditions associated with being overweight.
Most herbal forms of loose tea contain substances that boost the growth of healthy gut flora. In particular, polyphenols inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, such as salmonella. They do this by promoting the growth of Lactobacillus strains of useful gut bacteria. They increase the diversity of useful organisms in the stomach, making your body more resilient to infection. This is because gut flora is the first line of defense against the pathogens you ingest together with food. Moreover, herbal tea has antimicrobial properties that enable it to eliminate harmful bacteria in the gut. Some blends also contain substances such as ginger that repair stomach lining.
As highlighted above, L-theanine is a powerful brain food. L-theanine boosts the activity of alpha brain waves leading to improved focus, concentration, and relaxation. Studies indicate that beverages containing caffeine and L-theanine are the most effective in enhancing cognitive performance5. Similarly, chamomile contains apigenin, which combats insomnia by inducing sleep 6. It also moderates symptoms of depression in postpartum women.
How much tea should you take?
Most people resort to drinking loose leaf tea when they need a stimulus or hot beverage. However, to get the health benefits of tea, you need to take moderate amounts of tea. Most nutritionists recommend taking 1-6 cups per day. Regular consumption increases the oxidative capacity of the body. While most blends of loose tea have oxidants, green and black teas have the highest health benefits.
Where to buy tea bags online
While you might appreciate the health benefits of tea, you will only enjoy them if you buy loose tea from reliable vendors. Luckily, there is a tea bag online shop that sells packages of loose leaf tea are rich in antioxidants and other substances that boost your immune system. You can buy pure blends as well as herbal tea from them.