Camellia sinensis, popularly named as “tea tree” or “tea shrub”, is an evergreen shrub native to Asia. One of its greatest gifts to the world is an aromatic beverage, asserted to be the most widely used drink around the world, named “Tea.” Tea is prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over the cured leaves of Camellia.
It is attributed to a lot of benefactions. It helps to increase bone and teeth strength due to its fluoride content. It also offers cardiovascular benefits. It shields the cardiac cells against stressful conditions (Journal of Biological Chemistry-2013). International Journal of Cardiology reports that polyphenols from the tea lower free radical damage to help maintain telomere length in heart cells. Green tea also increases the level of good cholesterol in the blood. It also promotes mental alertness due to the presence of caffeine.
In addition, a study, published in the Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism, stated that tea can potentially prevent fat storage in the liver and also lower the blood sugar level. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Tunis EL Manar and the University of Carthage in Tunisia and University in Paris.
The main purpose of the study was to determine the effects of tea and its constituents upon digestion of lipids. The researchers employed a strain of rat that was fed with a diet containing a high-fat content. They were divided into three different segments of 10-12 rats each and were given green tea, black tea or a placebo. The study continued for almost 10 weeks.
The amount of fat excreted in feces, liver fat content, and the weight of abdominal fat tissues, food intake, and body weight gain were the parameters taken into account and measured individually at regular intervals. The weight gain was measured almost every week.
Decoctions of green and black tea were prepared and given to the rats. The green tea decoction (GTD) contained epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), catechin, EGC-3-methyl gallate, epicatechin gallate ECG, vanillic acid ester, kaempferol 3-glycoside, and caffeine. On the other hand, theaflavins, caffeine, gallic acid esters, catechin, EGCG, kaempferols, and quercetin were the major polyphenolic constituent found in the black tea decoction (BTD).
Increased excretion of lipids and triglycerides were reported after the study. Adipose tissue and the level of leptins were also found to be lowered or reduced. Moreover, the overall weight of the rats also decreased despite a high-fat diet. The researchers claimed that the black tea was more efficient as compared to the green tea.
It was concluded and noted by the researchers that drinks or beverages that are high in total polyphenol content and caffeine can serve as an alternative for the prevention of obesity and fat accumulation.
In another study, published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, it was demonstrated that tea can activate genes associated with fat burning. It assists a reduced absorption of fats from the digestive tract.
The study also determined that EGCG notably reduced body weight gain and decreased the blood glucose levels. Scientists further found that EGCG also decreased the level of triglycerides in the liver. The animals subjected to experimentation exhibited an improved insulin response as well as lowered C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels.
Tea, wheather green or black, helps to oil our cellular engines so that they can metabolize calories effectively. It can be used as a powerful tool for managing weight. Nutrition experts recommend two to four cups of fresh brewed green tea daily or an organically compounded and standardized EGCG supplement (300 to 500 mg) daily.
Keeping in view the above advantages, the consumption of tea is recommended. However, excessive consumption may lead to certain health hazards thus we should be careful in this regard and consume tea within beneficial ranges of amount.