Like many, the idea that a nice cup of tea solves everything is not a new concept for me. While this isn’t entirely true, a hot cuppa tea can offer a lot for both body and mind.
Where Tea Comes From
Camellia sinensis, the plant from which we get black, white, and green tea, has been cultivated for thousands of years. The leaves of this plant provide a significant source of polyphenols with antioxidant activity. The main free-radical scavenging polyphenols in tea include catechins and theaflavins, with green tea particularly high in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
The main free-radical scavenging polyphenols in tea include catechins and theaflavins, with green tea particularly high in EGCG.
Unlike black and white tea, green tea is not fermented and typically contains higher levels of antioxidants than black tea . Green tea has been found in some studies to decrease the absorption of cholesterol and lipids in the gastrointestinal tract which suggests possible benefits for healthy weight management .*
It is recommended to drink tea with a meal if you have an iron deficiency since some studies have shown that excessive caffeine intake can have an effect on iron absorption .
The Caffeine Factor
Tea is also a source of caffeine, containing around 50 mg per cup of black tea . This means that excessive consumption can have all the good and bad effects of high caffeine intake, such as a feeling of increased energy and alertness, as well as a racing heart and increased sweating.
During pregnancy, it is not recommended to consume more than 200 mg of caffeine a day, especially of black tea, as this is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage .*
A Source of L-theanine
Tea is also a source of L-theanine, an amino acid that can be associated with changes in brain wave patterns. This might explain tea’s historical use as a way to cheer up those who are feeling a little blue or who have suffered a shock.*
Black tea has the highest amount of L-theanine (24.2 mg/cup) compared to green tea (7.9 mg/cup), but brewing time can affect these levels .
So, while tea certainly isn’t the answer to every problem you might encounter, a good cuppa tea could help you face the world with a greater sense of equanimity.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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 Greenwood, D.C., Alwan, N., Boylan, S., et al. (2010). Caffeine intake during pregnancy, late miscarriage and stillbirth. Eur J Epidemiol, 25(4), 275-280.
 Keenan E. et al. (2011). How much theanine in a cup of tea? Effects of tea type and preparation. Food Chemistry, 125, 588-594.