The Chinese recognized the health benefits of tea long before we did. Tea was originally drunk mainly for its benefits, not for its taste. Over the centuries, they learned to recognize all the benefits of tea, which, like ginseng or ginger, has become one of the most important components of traditional Chinese and Asian medicine. This is how tea became something noble and even the subject of a well-known Chinese proverb " A little tea every day and your doctor stays away ".
Numerous studies have now shown that the benefits of tea are mainly due to the antioxidants in its leaves, especially in the bud and the first two leaves.
Tea – an ancient medicinal plant
It is no coincidence that the Chinese character Cha ("tea" in Mandarin), meaning " "Plant that grows on a tree and is good for people" ".
Tea, king of antioxidants
The chemical reactions that constantly take place in our body consume oxygen and produce free radicals. When produced in excess, especially by stress, pollution, excessive consumption of tobacco or alcohol, and similar factors, these compounds produce oxidative stress that attacks the cells of the body, accelerates their aging, and is involved in the development of many diseases.
To cope with this oxidative stress and capture free radicals, our bodies turn to antioxidants from food: vitamins, trace elements, polyphenols . But tea is a medicinal plant with a particularly high content of polyphenols, components known for their effects on health.
Antioxidants are a large family that includes catechins. The best known of these is epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. It is three to four times more potent than vitamins C and E in the fight against cellular aging! And green tea is full of .
Which tea for which effect?
The different production methods of the various types of tea influence not only the taste of the teas, but also their molecular structure and thus their effects.
The benefits of green tea are unique. As they are not oxidized, green tea leaves retain their catechins: these antioxidants, which protect the body from cellular aging, remain almost intact. They are considered particularly effective in a diet to restore tone, vitality and mental alertness. Did you know, for example, that Buddhist monks drink green tea to help them concentrate better during meditation?
White tea is even less processed than green tea. It provides a high concentration of epigallocatechins (EGC) – antioxidants that act against viruses by strengthening the body's natural defenses, especially the immune system.
Fermentation of tea leaves to obtain a black tea or even a pu-erh tea, if you go as far as post-fermentation, changes the molecular structure of the polyphenols they contain. While the EGCG content decreases during this process, the concentration of theaflavins and thearubigins increases.
Hao Ling ® , the benefits of pu-erh tea from Yunnan
Post-fermented pu-erh teas are recommended, for example, to facilitate digestion and intestinal transit and burn fat. The polyphenols in pu-erh tea are powerful antioxidants that neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals. The proteins that transport the "good" and "bad" cholesterol in our body can be oxidized by these free radicals. This can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol in the vessels in the form of plaques.
Pu-erh tea, thanks to its polyphenol content, has a positive influence on this oxidative stress and therefore on cholesterol levels. It also has a positive effect on triglycerides, but also on digestion, as shown by several recent studies, and science is far from finished trying to figure out all the benefits of tea!