Tea: Why is it so Healthy?

Most of us know that tea is a natural beverage that does not contain artificial coloring, flavoring, or preservatives. Tea is also free of cholesterol and calories. We have all heard through the media, friends, family, etc. that drinking tea is food for us and may help keep us healthy.  So, what exactly is in this tiny leaf that makes tea such a healthy beverage?

According to the U.K. daily requirements percentages, 3.5 cups of tea contain the following nutrients: 10% Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

                                      25% Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

                                      6% Vitamin B6

                                      10-25% Vitamin C (Black Tea 10%; Green Tea 25%)

                                      10% Folic Acid

                                      45% Magnesium

                                      45% Potassium

                                      16% Calcium

                                      10% Zinc

                                      45% Natural Fluoride

Additional components of the tea leaf are carotene, flavinoids, catachin, polyphenols, derived tannins, theaflavins, thearubigins, caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine.

OK, here is a list of vitamins and minerals that the tea leaf contains. Let’s look at each one individually and see how it is important in helping us maintain a healthy body.

Tea helps boost metabolism because it contains Vitamins B1 (Thiamine) and B2 (Riboflavin.)  These B vitamins are also found in eggs and nuts. They are necessary for converting food into energy the body can burn. Riboflavin also helps the body metabolize proteins.  Insufficient store of B vitamins has been linked to strokes.

Vitamin B6 helps the body maintain steady blood sugar levels. This is the reason individuals with Type II diabetes are drinking black tea.

We all know that citrus contains Vitamin C, but so does tea. This vitamin is necessary for iron absorption, the formation of collagen, and boosting the body’s natural immune system. Black tea contains 10% of Vitamin C, while green tea contains 25%. A special note on iron absorption; heme iron comes from meat products and is absorbed by the body. Non-heme iron is found in vegetables like spinach and kale. Tea, as well as green leafy vegetables has oxylates that block the absorption of iron.  To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron from tea and those healthy green leafy vegetables, simply eat a couple of strawberries, slices of orange, or mango if you are having tea with a meal or snack.

Folic Acid is essential to the body’s ability to for healthy cellular division, normal fetal development and the manufacturing of blood. The body replaces all of its cells every nine months. One of the keys to preventing cancer is to have healthy cellular division. Errant cells can cause cancer cells.

Magnesium is the mineral that stabilizes the heart, calms the nerves, and regulates the heart beat. Persons who take medication for an irregular heart beat may want to consider consuming tea.

Potassium regulates bodily fluids and prevents dehydration. Persons taking diuretics may want to drink tea and don’t forget to eat a banana or two. How does a cup of tea and a slice of banana bread sound?

We all know that calcium builds strong bones and prevents osteoporosis. Adding one teaspoon of milk to a cup of tea provides 25% of the calcium necessary under the RDA.

Zinc is the healing mineral. This mineral is part of our enzymes that helps our bodies metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and alcohol. Zinc also aids in building bones and healing wounds.

Tea is the only natural source of fluoride for humans. We already know that fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and decreases mouth bacteria. Tea makes a great mouthwash since it inhibits the growth of E. coli and Streptococcus.

Carotene is the vegetable form of Vitamin A (Vitamin A is only found in animal protein.) and is necessary for healthy eyes and skin. Carotene is a powerful antioxidant that has been established in inhibiting the growth of many pre-cancerous tumors.

Tea has been linked to lowering cholesterol and increasing the blood levels of HDL (good cholesterol.) Two substances contained in tea leaves is nicotinic acid (niacin) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B6.) Niacin is a form of Vitamin B3 found in tea that is sometimes used in the treatment of high cholesterol. Pantothenic acid or vitamin B6 breaks down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from food and converts them into compounds the body can use. This vitamin also produces enzymes and helps maintain precise communication between the central nervous system and the brain. These are also the nutrients found in tea that helps speed up the body’s metabolism through the break down of fat.

Flavinoids are compounds found in plants and vegetables such as: apples, cranberries, grapes, kiwi, grapefruit, red wine, black and green tea. Catechin is the flavinoid compound in tea that has highly effective antioxidant properties.

EGCG (epicallocatechin-3-gallate) is the major catechin found in green tea. This is the most powerful antioxidant we know. It has been proven to be extremely effective in fighting prostate, esophageal, stomach, and mouth cancers.

Now, let’s put together all these different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the tea leaf with how they help keep us healthy and possibly cancer free. Our environment contains highly reactive oxygen chains known as free radicals. These free radicals exist in ultra violet rays, artificial dyes, additives, pollution, etc. They attach to our cells and penetrate our DNA (deoxyribonucleic Acid) where they alter the replication of the cell. We all know that DNA is the genetic encoding material present in every cell in our bodies. Mis-replication of DNA causes wrinkles in our skin and the production of pre-cancerous tumors.  Once free radicals (wild oxygen chains) penetrate our cells and bond with our DNA, new cells are formed. These new cells continue to replicate and if left alone will form a colony of errant cells or a pre-cancerous tumor. Antioxidants bond with free radicals to neutralize them before they can begin making a cancerous chain of cells. Green tea has the most powerful antioxidant (EGCG) that is known to man.  Enjoying a few cups of tea a day makes a wonderful part of a healthy lifestyle.