Tea was once known in Europe as "the elixir" and "the mystical drink of the East". Nowadays, tea is one of the most popular products of Japanese culture. Tea is not only good for the body, but also has a calming effect on the mind. In fact, tea has a number of health benefits. Even though there is no scientific evidence, the health benefits of tea have been recognized since ancient times, both in the East and the West. In this article, we will look at the health benefits of tea.
Background of the spread of tea as a health drink
Tea was first introduced to the world in the Edo period (1603~1868) when Japan's isolationist policy was lifted.
It is said that tea was first exported in the early Edo period (1610) when the Dutch East India Company purchased tea in Hirado and brought it back to Europe. It was not until the end of the Edo period (1853), when Perry arrived in Japan, that Japanese tea was exported overseas in earnest.
Even before that, Siebold, a physician and naturalist, wrote about the preparation of tea, cultivation of tea trees, and research on the soil of tea plantations in his book NIPPON when he came to Japan in 1832, and there is a record that he actually sent tea leaves to the Netherlands.
As you can see, by the end of the Edo period (about 200 years ago), tea was attracting the interest of many countries.
In recent years, the health benefits of tea have been recognized in various countries and regions, and tea production has been increasing worldwide. This has been fueled by the global health consciousness and the Japanese food boom. As a result, the number of people who drink tea as a habit is increasing around the world. Tea has become one of the most popular health drinks in the world.
What are the health benefits of tea?
The health benefits of tea are not as strong and immediate as those of medicines. It is a "health food" which, when taken daily, has a positive effect on the body. In recent years, strong medicines have been used to treat illnesses, but in ancient China, strong medicines were called "lower medicines" and those with milder effects, but which gave health benefits when taken daily, were called "higher medicines". Tea is a typical example of this, and the health benefits of tea can be achieved through a long term habit of consumption.
Tea and Japanese Food Culture
In Japan, even today, tea is served free of charge in restaurants. This is evidence of the close connection between tea and the Japanese way of life and the way it has colored their diet. The most famous example of a restaurant where tea is served free of charge is a sushi bar. Surprisingly, in sushi restaurants, tea is basically unlimited. The reason for this is partly due to the Japanese way of eating, and partly to the flavor of the raw fish, but it is also to prevent food poisoning through the antibacterial properties of the tea. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of tea for the human body.
The specific benefits of tea's ingredients
This section will introduce you to the specific health benefits of the ingredients in tea. In this article, we will look at the benefits of the most common of these ingredients: catechins, caffeine, theanine and vitamin C.
When talking about the health benefits of tea, the catechins are indispensable. When you hear the words tea and health, catechins are the first thing that comes to mind. Catechins have antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-cholesterol, anti-viral, anti-cavity and gut health benefits. These are just a few of the many benefits, which we will discuss in more detail.
Antioxidant action is the process necessary to detoxify active carbon, a substance that is harmful to the human body. Active carbon is thought to be responsible for arteriosclerosis, cancer and a weakened immune system, and catechins help to prevent this.
Catechins have been shown to have anti-cancer properties, and have the ability to prevent the development of cancer and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. One of the episodes that supports this is the low mortality rate from cancer in the green tea producing areas in Japan. This is said to be the result of the ingrained habit of drinking tea and the long-term consumption of tea by the population. In recent years, research into the anti-cancer properties of tea has been particularly active, and its benefits are increasingly being recognised.
Suppresses the rise of cholesterol in the blood
Catechins help to reduce the rise of cholesterol in the blood. It reduces the bad cholesterol, while leaving the good cholesterol unaffected.
Curbing the rise in blood cholesterol
Catechins have the effect of reducing the rise in blood cholesterol. It reduces the bad cholesterol, while leaving the good cholesterol unaffected.
Antibacterial and antiviral properties
Catechins have been shown to have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties and are effective in inhibiting the growth of various viruses. Studies have shown that gargling with catechins can reduce the incidence of influenza, as well as drinking tea. It is also used to prevent tooth decay and improve the intestinal environment.
Tooth decay prevention effect
Catechins have been shown to prevent tooth decay due to their strong antibacterial properties as mentioned above. Catechins can also be used to prevent gum disease and bad breath, as they act on plaque that is difficult to remove with toothpaste. We have just mentioned gargling with tea, and tea has also been shown to be useful when rinsing the mouth after eating, demonstrating the usefulness of its antibacterial properties.
Improvement of the intestinal environment
Catechins also have an effect on intestinal bacteria. It inhibits the "bad" bacteria, which are harmful to the human body, and has less effect on the "good" bacteria (lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria, etc.), which have a positive effect on the human body.
When we think of caffeine, coffee is the first thing that comes to mind, but actually tea contains caffeine too. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system, helping to relieve drowsiness and clear the head. In ancient times, ascetic monks used to drink tea in order to prepare themselves for the rigours of their training. Caffeine has also been shown to have diuretic and metabolic effects by stimulating the heart, kidneys and liver.
Theanine is a type of amino acid that is the umami component of tea. It is particularly abundant in green tea and is one of the components that give it its sweetness. The less time it is exposed to sunlight, the more abundant it is, especially in gyokuro, which is exposed to less sunlight during the growing process. Theanine is responsible for the sweetness and thickening of tea, which is not found in coffee. Theanine has a relaxing effect. The theanine is responsible for the feeling of calmness and relief that tea gives us. This effect goes hand in hand with the stimulating effect of caffeine on the brain.
Tea is also rich in vitamins, of which vitamin C is one of the most abundant. Vitamin C, like catechins, has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties and is also good for preventing colds.
Tea makes every day healthier!
In this article, we have introduced the appeal of tea in terms of its health benefits. Tea has established itself as a proud part of Japanese culture. Tea is often associated with the unique Japanese spirit of wabi and sabi, which is not only good for the body but also for the soul. Nowadays, tea is becoming more and more globalised, in line with the globalisation of the world. Today, it is easy to order tea from abroad on the Internet. We are living in an age where tea can be enjoyed as a habit, which is exactly what it should be. If you have never been a tea drinker before, why not experience a life with tea around you? If you have never been a tea drinker, why not try it for yourself and see what it can do for your life.