LuT’ung would be pleased to know that tea is definitely one drink that would bring you closer to immortality. A staple in the Buddhist philosophy, tea is said to aid meditation by clearing the head and now we have the research to back it up. In fact, researchers have dispelled the urban myth that tea is dehydrating because it contains caffeine.
“Studies on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate and everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate. But even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid”
Obviously, you should not stop drinking water completely but tea can be excellent for rehydration as it replaces both fluid and antioxidants.
So what makes tea so magical?
It’s all about chemicals
Well, the right ones anyway! We all know the importance of antioxidants, molecules that prevent the oxidation of cells which can lead to many free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired molecules that are highly reactive, which can end up reacting with the wrong substances, causing a chain reaction of damage to our body.
Tea, also known as Camellia Sinensis,contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which many plant based food, including coffee can have. However tea contains ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate), one of the most powerful of these, and they can help fight against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
All tea are not the same though
Green and white tea, are likely to have the more polyphenol as they are the least processed. Oolong and black teas are fermented or oxidized so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high. On the other hand, mature tea leaves contain 10 to 20 times more fluoride, which are important for healthy teeth and gums.
78% of the world consumes black while 20% consume green tea. The balance of 2% consume oolong. Consumption of white tea is slowly increasing, though it is still not as popular as green tea.