Many bodies of research have shown that tea is effective at preventing heart disease in several ways. Tea prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol into plaque, the hard substance that clogs our arteries, making us more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes. Tea is also thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps the heart in its overall function.
In addition to these two important benefits of drinking tea, there is also evidence that tea consumption reverses endothelial dysfunction, one of the precursors to atherosclerosis and heart disease. Endothelial dysfunction can appear years before heart disease symptoms. Therefore, if we can prevent or reverse this problem, heart disease may be prevented before it starts.
The endothelium is the cells that line the inner surface of all blood vessels including arteries and veins. When the endothelium is functioning properly, it is responsible for mediation of coagulation, platelet adhesion, immune function, and control of volume and electrolyte content of the intravascular and extra vascular spaces.
Endothelial dysfunction can be caused by a variety of things, including cigarette smoking and diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. When the endothelium does not function properly, veins and arteries have difficulty dilating properly.
These problems are thought to be the precursor to atherosclerosis, which is a leading cause of heart disease. However, endothelial dysfunction can be prevented and reversed by watching your diet, exercising and drinking tea.
But, just how does tea help prevent and reverse heart disease? There are many theories, and it’s likely that we won’t know the exact answer for many more years.
We do know that part of the answer is tea’s anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants have the power to neutralize the free radicals that our bodies create as a by product of digestion. These free radicals can damage our bodies and lead to disease; but anti-oxidants can protect us against their damage. Tea is one of the best sources of anti-oxidants around.
There are several substances in tea that are thought to be effective. These include catechins, which are polyphenolic antioxidant plant metabolites, specifically flavonoids called flavan-3-ols. EGCG is the most potent of these.
It has been widely assumed that these catechins are the most important attributes of tea, and that they are the active ingredient that prevents heart disease. But, one research study suggests that it may not be these catechins in tea that are so important, after all.
This study, conducted by Boston University, showed that chronic consumption of these specific catechins in tea did not raise the plasma anti-oxidant activity as expected. However, the tea still had the overall protective effect.
So, this study concluded that it may be some other flavonol in tea that is so effective in preventing endothelial dysfunction and other contributors to heart disease. Or, it may be the combination of all the flavonols in tea that work collectively to provide the protective effect.
Whatever the cause, we know that tea is good for you and that it is effective in preventing many forms of disease, not just heart disease. Tea has also been shown to prevent many forms of cancer, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Many research studies have shown a connection between tea drinking and cancer. Asian cultures, where green tea is consumed in very large quantities, for example, have a much lower incidence of cancer than the rest of the world. They also have a lower risk for cardiovascular disease – even in Japan, where 75% of the men are smokers.
Tea has been shown to prevent lung cancer – even in smokers, and has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, digestive system cancer, oral cancer and liver cancer. It has even been shown to be effective in preventing skin cancer when given orally or applied topically.
Tea has also been shown to have a protective effect on brain cells. This means that it may have the power to protect the brain cells from the chemicals in the brain that sometimes damage brain cells, causing Alzheimer’s disease.
We don’t know why the brain’s chemicals sometimes begin to kill off its cells, but there is evidence that tea can prevent this process. So, it’s important for all of us to add tea to our diets to protect our health.
It’s hard to believe that something so simple, and so common, in our everyday lives could be such an important way to protect our health; yet it appears that tea is just that. Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, after water, and it appears that we should be drinking even more of it.
So, make sure that you’re getting your regular dose of tea. Whether it’s green or black, hot or cold, brewed or bottled, tea is a great way to protect your health. So, what are you waiting for? Go make yourself a cup of tea!
Jon M. Stout is the Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. Golden Moon Tea carefully selects the finest rare and orthodox teas, which are processed slowly and handcrafted with extreme care. At their website, you can learn more about their current tea offerings, including their exceptional green tea , white tea, black tea, oolong tea (also known as wu-long and wu long tea ) and chai. Visit goldenmoontea.com for all details concerning the Golden Moon Tea Company's fine line of teas.