Tea in all its forms remains Britain’s favourite drink. While we all seem to love it, it is also great for our wellbeing. In fact, new published evidence continues to show the many different health benefits that can stem from drinking tea. This e-news takes a look at the very latest research on tea and health…
Blood glucose control following a meal (post-prandial) is important for the prevention of diabetes. Equally, there has been much discussion recently regarding sugar consumption and its wider impacts on health. Now, latest research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that drinking black tea may help to dampen the effects that sugar can have on blood glucose levels.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Twenty-four men and women aged 20-60 years, normal and pre-diabetic, randomly drank a sugar solution with a low dose of black tea polymerized polyphenol (BTPP), a high dose or a placebo drink. Findings showed that black tea consumption reduced blood glucose levels after ingesting the sugar solution.
Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) www.teaadvisorypanel.co.uk notes: “This study shows the important role that tea can play in helping to regulate glycaemic control in both healthy adults and those with pre-diabetes. These findings are probably down to the bioactive polyphenol compounds abundantly present in black tea.”
When it comes to prostate cancer the incidence is much lower in Asia than in Western populations. New research indicates that this could be down to a greater liking for green tea in Asia. Latest data from the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study evaluated various lifestyle risk factors for prostate cancer among Japanese men. The results showed that drinking green tea (containing flavonoids) decreased the risk of localised and advanced prostate cancers. Alcohol and tobacco abstinence were also identified as important factors in the prevention of advanced prostate cancer.
Dr Tim Bond adds: “Interestingly, these findings are supported by a meta-analysis paper. The article published in the Medicine journal collated evidence from seven observational studies and three randomised controlled trials. It was found that higher green tea intakes were associated with reduced prostate cancer risk. In particular, drinking more than seven cups per day of green tea and its catechins proved to be most effective in reducing prostate cancer risk.”
It is coming to light that certain components of green tea may have protective effects on neurocognition (brain function). The Japanese Ohsaki Cohort study involving 13,645 adults over 6 years has providing some useful insights into green tea consumption and dementia risk.
Reviewing the research, Dr Catherine Hoods notes: “Findings from this follow-through study showed that drinking more than five cups green tea daily reduced the risk of incident dementia. These benefits were apparent for all adults - even those who did not have memory complaints at the start of the study.”
Tea is the second most commonly consumed drink in the world and is a rich source of flavonoids that may benefit bone health.
Now, a new meta-analysis published in Nutrition Research has now collated data from 16 studies comprised on 138,523 participants. Of these, seven studies linked tea consumption to improved bone mineral density. While tea drinking did not seem to affect fracture risk, it seems that it could be another key lifestyle factor in helping to optimise bone mineral density, most likely through the actions of the tea flavonoids.
In summary, Dr Tim Bond notes: “Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water. As a result, these latest study findings together with many other published studies continue to suggest that Britain’s’ favourite beverage is good for blood glucose regulation, prostate prevention (amongst other cancers), the prevention of dementia and helping to build stronger bones. So, whatever your age or present health status, drinking tea certainly brings many health and wellbeing benefits.”
Black tea - Camellia sinensis provides polyphenols, including: flavonoids, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and other catechins. Traditionally, black tea was used for the relief of fatigue and weakness.
Green tea - Green tea is commonly consumed in Asia but was introduced into Europe in the 17th century. Traditionally, green tea has been used for the relief of fatigue and weakness, as a diuretic and for stomach disorders.
Rooibos /Red Bush tea (Aspalathus linearis) - Red bush tea is caffeine free, low in tannin, high in vitamin C and bursting with antioxidants and other healthful plant compounds.
Chamomile tea (Matricaria chamomilla (L)) - Chamomile is a daisy like plant which is often used in herb infusions to help induce sleep. It has traditionally been used for medicinal purposes and is one of the most popular single ingredients in herbal teas or tisanes.
Peppermint tea (Mentha x piperita L.) - Peppermint is one of the mint family of perennial herbs which grow
throughout Europe. Mint is rich in carotenes and vitamin C.
Fennel Seed tea (Foeniculum vulgare) - Fennel is a sweet-smelling perennial herb with yellow flowers which is native to the Mediterranean but is now found all around the world. Fennel has traditionally been used to ease digestive problems including heartburn, gas and bloating.
 A review of the Bioactivity and Potential Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea by Diane L. McKay and Jeffrey B. Blumberg
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The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is an independent team and supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA & INFUSIONS ASSOCIATION, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide informed and independent information regarding the health benefits of tea and herbal infusions as well as sort fact from fiction. Independent panel members include nutritionists; biochemists; dieticians and doctors.
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