Tea good for brain health?

On the occasion International Tea Day, nutritionists talk about benefits of drinking tea
Last Updated 14 December 2019, 02:48 IST

India is the second-largest producer and exporter of tea in the world after China. Though Assam and Darjeeling steal the show with its extensive variety of teas, Karnataka despite being the coffee hub of India contributes around five million kgs of tea every year.

A recent study by the National University of Singapore found that tea drinkers have healthier brains compared to non-tea drinkers. Drinking tea regularly can protect one from age-related cognitive decline. So, how does tea actually helps boost brain health?

With International Tea Day falling on December 15, Metrolife spoke to nutritionists to know more about this popular beverage.

“Tea has caffeine and L-theanine that increases alertness and focus of the brain. According to the study, it helps reduce cognitive decline and prevent conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease,” says Sheryl Salis, nutritionist and wellness coach.

Apart from brain health, tea consumption, especially green tea, can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. “Green tea has the highest quantity of polyphenols and catechins; it is also rich in antioxidants which helps in cardiovascular health, boosting metabolism and reducing weight,” she adds.

Compared to coffee, tea has lesser caffeine which helps boost one’s mood. It has the ability to reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke. It also aids in weight loss and bone health.

“However, it depends on how one drinks their tea. If it is loaded with a lot of sugar, honey or milk, or if the tea is brewed a lot, the benefits are lost in the process,” points out Priyanka Rohatgi, chief clinical nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road.

How to make a perfect cuppa?

Add tea leaves to boiling water and switch off the burner. Cover the lid and let the leaves brew in the hot water for a few minutes before adding milk and sugar. Mix the decoction and milk separately; don’t allow them to boil on the gas burner.

Can drinking tea in an empty stomach cause acidity?

“If the tea is brewed a lot or has ginger in it, it can lead to acidity. However, just the decoction water with few drops of milk added to it, is not acidic,” says Priyanka.

Milk tea or black tea?

Avoid milk tea, especially if one is looking to derive benefits from it.

Having a decoction tea or black tea is a good idea. Black tea helps in better cognitive functions.

Avoid tea bags.

Consume in controlled quantities. Limit your cups to two or three a day with each cup being 150 ml.

If you are a tea addict, keep a check on the sugar level and the amount of tea you are drinking.

Benefits of tea

- Tea has a good amount of antioxidants present in the form of polyphenols.

- As compared to coffee, tea has less caffeine and can boost up a person’s mood.

- It also has vitamin A and K properties that are good for bone health.

- Tea maintains the PH of the mouth. Having tea that is not sweet can help in dental care.

- Adding herbs like basil leaves can boost up immunity.

- Tea is also known to fight cancer, thanks to these antioxidants.

- It also acts as an anti-spasmodic.

- Tea has a good role in bringing up the cognitive function of the brain because it alerts your brain with the help of caffeine.

Types of tea

- White tea is rich in antioxidants. It can help lose weight, dental care from bacteria, it has compounds that could fight cancer, can help combat skin ageing. Compounds in white tea lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

- Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants and it helps improve immunity and brain function. It also helps in weight loss, lowers the risk of cancer and improves cognitive ability.

- Camomile tea helps relax the brain, reduce anxiety and improves sleep. It reduces menstrual pain.

- Moringa tea is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It aids in weight loss, keeps blood sugar and pressure in control, and elevates one’s mood.

(Published 13 December 2019, 13:15 IST)

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