You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Health Benefit Claims’ tag.
Is there any miraculous health benefit that has yet to be laid at the feet of green tea? Aside from curing bubonic plague and the gout, it seems like just about everything else has been covered. To paraphrase the old advertising slogan about orange juice, “a day without a report about green tea’s health benefits is like a day without sunshine.”
But seriously. Though the reports seem to be flying fast and furious it’s not so easy these days to deny that drinking green tea is probably good for you. One of the most recently released research studies on the topic is one that suggests that green tea might be of some benefit to your teeth, in particular, as well as other aspects of overall oral health.
Research was conducted by a team of Israeli researchers who published their findings, an article titled Green Tea: A Promising Natural Product In Oral Health, in the Archives of Oral Biology. The team pointed to the polyphenols in green tea – and epigallocatechin 3 gallate (EGCG), in particular – as being the compounds that are likely to provide such benefits.
Among the various oral health-related benefits researchers pointed to are the ability to help protect against bacterial induced dental caries, a condition better known to most of us as tooth decay. This is said to be the second most frequently occurring health problem after the common cold. Green tea may also help reduce halitosis (bad breath) through modification of odorant sulphur components.
In addition, the polyphenols in green tea may also help protect against the ill effects of some of the harmful compounds in cigarettes, such as nicotine and acrolein, which may cause such conditions as oral cavity oxidative stress and inflammation. Last, but not least, the researchers also suggested that green tea can defend “healthy cells from malignant transformation and locally has the ability to induce apoptosis in oral cancer cells.”
The researchers ultimately concluded that “there is still a need for more clinical and biological studies to support guidelines for green tea intake as part of prevention and treatment of specific oral pathologies.” For more on tea and oral health, be sure to check out this earlier article from The English Tea Store Blog.
Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Tea is good for you, right? As a matter of fact there are numerous studies out there that have shown that it probably is. But (with apologies to George Orwell) it wouldn’t be too far off the mark to suggest that when it comes to health benefits, some of the teas are more equal than the others.
Take bottled tea, for instance. Or better yet, don’t take it, at least not if you’re trying to maximize the health benefits to be gained from drinking tea. While there’s nothing wrong with drinking bottled tea or even a soda now and then, keep in mind that the quality of the former can vary quite widely among brands.
According to a recent research study, bottled tea is likely to be lacking when it comes to the ingredients that make other types of tea more healthful. According to Shiming Li, an analytical and natural product chemist at WellGen, Inc., a New Jersey biotechnology company, six brands of tea purchased from supermarkets contained negligible amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant in tea that provides many of its health-giving benefits. The teas that were studied contained anywhere between 3 and 81 milligrams of polyphenols per 16-ounce bottle.
According to Li, who presented his findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in August, “Someone would have to drink bottle after bottle of these teas in some cases to receive health benefits,” he said. “I was surprised at the low polyphenol content. I didn’t expect it to be at such a low level.” More about the research on bottled tea here.
Not that this is the first time that anyone has taken a look at bottled tea’s impact on health. At Men’s Health a while back they weighed in on the 20 Worst Drinks in America for 2010 and concluded that Sobe tea was one of them, with an eye-bugging 61 grams of sugar in every 20-ounce bottle.
I’m sorry if I’m the one who had to break this to you, but tea is apparently not perfect. Amid the seemingly endless flurry of reports on the many positive health benefits that we can realize from drinking tea, you’ll occasionally run across one or two not so good reports.
For instance, it’s said that black tea might increase the risk of kidney stones. More recently, a study by researchers at Georgetown University suggested that drinking tea might raise the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in post-menopausal women.
Okay – fair enough. It would be silly to assume that there can never be any downsides to tea drinking. In addition to the above-mentioned issues, there’s the simple fact that, for some people (including yours truly), just the caffeine in tea can be something of a mixed blessing.
On the other hand, it seems just as silly that the London Telegraph used the aforementioned arthritis study as a springboard for an article with the attention-grabbing and somewhat sensational title – “Tea: Is It Good Or Bad For You? Without going into all that much detail the article runs down a number of claims for tea, including the notion that it might help with such maladies as diabetes, weight loss, cancer, heart disease, eye problems and more.
The downsides listed are rather negligible, including – as already noted here – the notion that the caffeine in tea is not recommended for those who are sensitive to it. As for cons, well, there really are none others listed. So one could arrive at the very non-scientific conclusion, based on this sparse article, that tea is good for you (as if we hadn’t already decided that).
For more on these potential health benefits of tea, be sure to refer back to the many and varied articles that regularly appear in these very pages – with more sure to come soon.
Don’t forget to check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!
It’s probably a bit of an overstatement to say that yerba mate is taking North America by storm. But this popular herbal beverage has been making inroads in this part of the world in recent years and its popularity shows no sign of abating.
In some parts of South America, however, yerba mate is as ingrained in the culture – or perhaps even more so – than coffee drinking is in North America. Yerba mate, in its traditional form, is prepared in a gourd known as a mate and consumed through a metal straw called a bombilla that serves to filter the liquid from the steeped solids. Check out this brief overview of some of the possible health benefits to be derived from yerba mate.
As noted briefly in the article mentioned above, yerba mate may have a beneficial impact on cholesterol levels. In this respect, it’s not unlike one of its better-known liquid cousins – tea. For more on the possible links between tea and cholesterol, refer to this overview on the topic.
According to results that appeared in 2009 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a clinical study was carried out that supports the notion that yerba mate has the ability to reduce LDL cholesterol. Researchers found that drinking several cups of yerba mate a day helped to decrease the undesirable LDL cholesterol, while increasing the so-called “good” HDL cholesterol.
The single-blind control trial, which was carried out by Brazilian researchers, looked at a total of 102 individuals, each of whom ingested 330 milliliters, three times a day, of green or roasted yerba mate infusions. This was the equivalent of three to four cups of yerba mate, which research subjects consumed for a period of 40 days.
For more in-depth information on the results of this study, refer to this abstract and full-text version ($$).
Can tea help you live longer? Well, maybe.
Now if that sounds like a cautious statement, well, it’s because it is. If you do a Google search for tea and longevity, for example, you’ll find any number of claims – some of them quite “creative” and a few that stretch the boundaries of belief – for the miraculous powers of tea to ward off just about any ill and to postpone our inevitable shuffle off of this mortal coil. Which reminds one of the old dictum that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Dubious claims and hysterical hype aside, though, there is compelling evidence that tea drinking ain’t so bad for you after all. We’ve reported on these claims numerous times within these pages, but what about this notion that drinking tea can help promote longevity? Well, it seems rather obvious that any benefits tea might have on health are going to contribute to long life, but there’s at least one study that zeroes in specifically on this particular idea.
The study took place in Japan, fittingly, since tea and specifically green tea are a deeply entrenched part of the culture there. Researchers there took a look at 40,000 subjects from age 40 to 79 who started out with no serious health problems such as stroke, heart disease or cancer.
Research was carried out over the course of 11 years, with the green tea consumption patterns of participants being monitored throughout the course of the study. Researchers found that those subjects who drank more green tea were less likely to die of any cause over the course of the study. If you’ve ever wondered whether you might be drinking too much green tea you might be heartened to know that those who drank more than five cups of the stuff every day were least likely to die.
So live long and prosper, tea lovers.
Rooibos is a South African herbal “tea” whose popularity has grown by leaps and bounds in the course of the past decade. According to one source, worldwide export sales of the plant grew by 400 percent in a five-year span ending in 2003.
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) takes its name from an African word of Dutch origin that means “red bush.” Redbush, in turn, has become a common nickname for this beverage, which has a deep red color when steeped. Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) is only grown in the Cedarberg region of South Africa.
The plant is grown, processed, and prepared in a manner not unlike tea and has been a fixture in this region of South Africa for hundreds of years. But it was not until the early twentieth century that it was cultivated and sold. In 1904, a Russian immigrant named Benjamin Ginsberg began selling what was called “mountain tea” in and around the Cedarberg region as a substitute for regular tea.
The popularity of rooibos swelled in the Seventies when South African author Annique Theron published a book about it called Allergies: An Amazing Discovery. Some of the many health benefits attributed to this caffeine-free brew to this day are a high antioxidant and mineral content. Ailments rooibos is said to provide relief for include allergies, sinus infection, insomnia, irritability, headache, nervous tension, hypertension, colic, asthma, and eczema.
For tea drinkers who might be sensitive to caffeine, an additional benefit of rooibos is that it produces a naturally caffeine-free beverage with a flavor not all that far removed from some varieties of black tea. Like most tea, rooibos works equally well when consumed hot or iced.
As recently as 1999, rooibos exports to the United States made up only about one percent of South Africa’s total. This amount lagged considerably behind exports to Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, which accounted for more than four-fifths of all rooibos exports. Since 1999, Rooibos sales in the United States have quadrupled annually. Nowadays buyers are likely to find a respectable selection of this product in their local grocery store, in loose, bagged and flavored varieties.