The Cup Of Life
May 27, 2007
In times of immense work pressure and deadlines, what makes a person work endless hours without sleep and a nutritious meal? It’s a stimulating drink.
So what’s your favorite drink at the end of a tiring day? Is it coffee or alcohol?Have you ever thought that tea gives you that same refreshing effect with fewer side effects? There are essential components that make tea- the cup of life.
In 2700 B.C Chinese Emperor Shen Nung discovered this stimulating beverage when some unidentified leaves fell into his pot of boiling water. The seeds traveled to Japan with a Buddhist priest, Yeisei and the tradition of ‘Japanese Tea Ceremony’ came into existence.
In 1618, the Russians and in 1650, the Americans got a taste of brew and in the 17th century it reached Europe.India is the largest cultivator of the world’s tea but it was the British colonizers who established their first tea plantations in the 19th century.
A Treat To The Taste Buds
The tea plant is a flowering evergreen shrub derived from Camellia Sinensis and they are categorized into three types.
1) Black Tea: The tea leaves are plucked and torn to release their natural juices and left to ferment or oxidize naturally. No additives, flavorings, colorings or preservatives are added in this. Their blend and taste vary as per the climatic conditions, the nature of soil and the altitude of their cultivation. Some popular brands are orange pekoe, souchong etc. and are widely enjoyed in Europe and USA.
2) Green Tea: It’s a non-fermented blend whose delicate, aromatic flavor makes it a staple drink of the people of China and Japan.
3) Oolong Tea: This is partly fermented and is a cross between the other two flavors.
A Brew Of A Worthy Kind
Tea contains flavonoids, a natural class of antioxidants that repair cellular damage caused due to pollution and aging. They neutralize harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals. These free radicals in the body’s cells are very unstable and tend to react negatively with important molecules like DNA causing malfunctions and injury on the cellular level.
Prevention-The Safe Option
Tea plays a vital role in curing ailments which is commonly faced around the world. They are classified into the following categories:
Enhancement of overall growth and development of the body:
1) It helps slow down the aging process, stimulates the immune system that gets diminished due to overwork, stress and poor nutrition. Its high vitamin B content helps the body to cope with stress.
2) Green tea can help to inhibit the growth of various bacteria causing diseases and effectively kills Salmonella and E-coli bacteria on contact.
3) Tea contains theanine, an amino acid unique to tea along with polyphenols (a specific element present in black tea), vitamins, minerals and methylxanthines that help in prevention of hypertension, antiviral infections and is also anticarcinogenic.
4) Nitric oxide causes inflammation in the body which is reduced and controlled by the catechins (tannin is a type of polyphenol) and theaflavins (group of compounds) in tea.
5) The catechin effectively kills and inactivates every kind of bacteria that causes food poisoning, cholera, and dysentery. It prevents Piccoli, which causes gastric ulcers and the flu virus. At the same time, it enhances the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive track.
6) The dental plaque is caused due to the bacterial colonies that form on the tooth surface and cause decay. Tea contains fluoride in its natural form and the catechins along with tannic acid reduce the bacterial cell membrane fluidity and helps in fighting gum diseases.
7) The alkaloid content stimulates the nerve center and enhances the process of metabolism.
8 ) Aromatic and flavored teas help in mood elevation and assist in dissolving fats and promote digestion. This makes tea important in meat centered diets.
Contribution In The Blood Content
1) Green and black tea as antioxidants help to lower the overall blood cholesterol levels and raises the good cholesterol called HDL (High density Lipoproteins). The LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) causes the formation of plaque walls on the artery walls, so it hinders their progress.
2) When a blood vessel is injured, it forms a clot and prevents further bleeding. Tea inhibits this and helps to reduce the incidence of unwanted clot inside the blood vessel walls. It suppresses aggregation of platelets and prevents thrombosis such as heart attacks and brain strokes. 3) Tea blocks an enzyme (ACE) that is necessary for the formation of a blood pressure, increasing the chemical mediator and thus reducing blood pressure and relaxing the blood vessel walls.
Some Stimulating Researches
According to the National Cancer Institute states “Green tea can reduce the risks of esophageal, skin and many other forms of cancer by its significant antioxidant properties.” It is found that tea lowers the rate of cell replication and inhibits the tumor promoting enzymes. American Medical Association agrees that green tea can help to lower cholesterol and cuts the risk of stroke in men and also prevents blood pressure.
Australian researchers did a comparative diet studies among the Chinese and the Australian men and found that drinking green tea can reduce the risk of developing prostrate cancer.According to a Sept 9, 1999, article in the New York Times, cancer researches at Rutgers University College of Pharmacy state, “Tea is one of the few agents that can inhibit carcinogenesis at the initiation, promotion and progression stages.”
The healing powers of a simple blend of tea can be tremendous when taken properly and in the right amounts can do wonders to the human body. As Bernard Paul Heroux rightly states “There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.”
©Nayna, 2007. All Rights Reserved.
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