One cup of tea a day keeps the doctor away!
Tea drinking has been an important part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. One of the oldest documents about teas and their health benefits was written by a Jesuit missionary, Father Matteo Ricci, who travelled to China during the Ming dynasty visit this link. His journal, which was published in 1610, mentioned that tea drinking contributed to longevity and prevented serious illnesses among the Chinese. Nowadays considerable scientific research has been done to study the health benefits of different types of tea and the following are some of their results:
The Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene in China has done research on 145 types of tea and found that green tea has the highest potential to prevent cancer. The other kinds of tea that have cancer-prevention potency are Brick, Jasmine, Oolong and black tea. Generally, tea can help prevent cancer in two ways. First, it can block the formation of cancer-causing substances such as aflatoxin and nitrosamines. At Shizuoka University in Japan, researchers have done a lot of studies about this ability of green tea and discovered that malignant tumors in mice that were fed green tea did not develop as rapidly as in those not on tea. The other way tea can help us fight cancer is by preventing cell mutation, as the polyphenols in green tea have antioxidants that inhibit mutation of the DNA in healthy cells and prevent them from becoming cancer cells.
Oolong and Pu-erh teas have the most benefits for our heart health. First of all, they contain a lot of phenols that help inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, which accordingly helps lower the cholesterol level in the bloodstream. Second, they have potential to decrease the tendency of blood to form unwanted clots. And last but not least, they can help strengthen and keep the blood-vessel walls soft, which is very important because strokes and thrombosis usually happen to people whose blood vessels have lost their elasticity. A study by the Institute of Traditional Medicine in China has recently done detailed research about Oolong tea on rabbits and received a very impressive result. They found that feeding rabbits with oolong tea had almost the same effect on the blood vessels as giving them rutin, a nutrient that has been widely used for preventing blood vessels from losing their flexibility.
Oolong and Pu-erh teas are also famous for their slimming effect as I have mentioned earlier that they help reduce cholesterol in the digestive tract and bloodstream. The most popular slimming tea on the market right now seems to be Oolong combined with some other herbal ingredients. It has been reported in the news and various health articles that women who drank two or three cups of Oolong tea a day have lost up to 15 pounds in a few months. However, the weight loss effect of Oolong and Pu-erh varies, depending on the consumer personal health and lifestyle.