Tea's Healthy Compounds & Health Benefits

HEALTHY COMPOUNDS

Tea contains many nutrients that are important in maintaining the health of your body and mind. While the fresh leaf and the dried processed leaf of Camellia sinensis contain many nutrients, not all of these nutrients are present in the infusion that is consumed. As a result, only those nutrients that are readily consumed are listed below. To learn about the healthy compounds and potential health benefits of specific herbals and tisanes, please refer to the specific subcategory within the Tea category of our Product Menu. Here are the primary nutrients present in the "true" teas:

  • Polyphenols (also known as tannins) – antioxidants that give tea its astringency, bitterness, and body. Tea contains compounds that are categorized into several different classes of polyphenols, most of which fall under the class of polyphenols known as flavonoids:
  • Flavanols – the most important and predominant class of flavonoids of which the group of catechins is the major constituent:
    • Catechin – a type of flavonoid that is 2 times more powerful than vitamins C and E.
    • Theaflavins and thearubigins – complex compounds found in black tea that result from the oxidation of catechins during manufacturing. They are responsible for the flavor and color of black tea and are powerful antioxidants.
    • Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – 5 times more powerful than vitamins C and E.
    • Epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epicatechin (EC).
  • Flavonols – the primary one is quercetin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Methylxanthines – class of alkaloids
  • Caffeine – central nervous stimulant used to increase energy, alertness, mental clarity and focus.
  • Theophylline – bronchial smooth muscle relaxant.
  • Theobromine – heart stimulant, vasodilator, smooth muscle relaxant.
  • Phenolic acids
  • Amino acids – building blocks; tea contains 25 amino acids with L-theanine being the most prevalent. Also known as theanine, it is linked to calming and relaxing effects on the body and the "umami" flavor of tea.
  • Gallic acid – anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, may reduce cell oxidative damage.
  • Essential oils – responsible for the aromas and flavors.
  • Vitamins – trace amounts of vitamins C, E, K, B group.
  • Minerals – potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, chromium, nickel, fluorine.
  • Statins and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – these two compounds are found only in Pu-er. They have lipid-lowering effects and central nervous system calming effects, respectively.

POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS

It is important to note that tea is a healthy beverage, not a medicine, and its potential healthful effects are cumulative, resulting from regular consumption over a period of time. Also note that all teas are healthy, so in order to maximize the potential health benefits, it is best to incorporate a combination of different types of good quality loose leaf tea and tisanes into your daily routine. Most important is to drink the teas that you truly enjoy drinking and prepared in the way you prefer them.

Many claims have been made regarding the health benefits of "true" teas; however, not all have been substantiated yet by reputable, well-designed scientific studies. Reputable, well-designed studies have identified that consuming as few as three (3) cups of tea per day may support our bodies in many ways. For the potential health benefits of tisanes, please refer to the specific subcategory within the Tea category of our Product Menu. Here are the potential benefits that have been identified:

  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Neurological Health
  • Bone Health
  • Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
  • Regulate Blood Glucose (Sugar)
  • Oral Health
  • Reduced Risk of Arthritis and Inflammation
  • Immune System Support
  • Slow Down Biological Ageing
  • Maintain Healthy Weight
  • Contributes to Daily Hydration
  • Stress Reduction

Click here to read more about these potential health benefits.

POTENTIAL HEALTH CONCERNS

Consuming tea in moderate quantities is generally considered to be safe and a great way to supplement your diet with nutrients that support the various systems of the body. The consumption of tea, however, may have some negative effects for a select few. Consult your doctor if you are prone to, or currently experiencing, any of the following:

  • Anemia or Other Iron Absorption Conditions
  • Chemotherapy Interaction
  • Kidney Stones
  • Caffeine Sensitivity

Click here to read more about these potential health concerns.

Click here to read more about Tea & Caffeine.

NOTEWORTHY TIPS

  • Adding citrus to your tea not only enhances the flavor, but has been shown to increase the body's ability to absorb the antioxidants that are present. Lemon provided the greatest increase, followed by orange, lime, and grapefruit.
  • There is great debate as to whether or not the addition of milk reduces the body's ability to absorb the antioxidants that are present. Studies have put forth contradictory results, with one stating that milk does reduce the antioxidants and another one stating that there was no effect at all. It is always recommended that you consume tea according to your preferences; if you consume it with milk, it is a good idea to include a combination of different teas – some with milk and some without to ensure maximum possible effectiveness of the antioxidants.
  • Adding sweetener to your tea will not detract from its healthfulness, other than adding extra calories. Honey is a better option because of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients that are naturally present. Local honey, which is made from local pollen, is the best option because it may reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

We will continue to update this section as new research findings become available. If you have a question regarding something you read or heard about the health benefits of tea, please feel free to e-mail Kristine your question at kristine@pleasuresoftea.com.

Click here to be directed to A Brief History of Tea.