The Cure for Fire: How Tea Can Heal You
In Ancient China, they called tea, “[that which] is cold and lowers fire.” Inflammation was known as “fire” in China, which is understandable given inflammation's symptoms (feeling of heat, redness, and etc.) But the Ancient Chinese knew tea heals your body in many more ways – here's a bit about the health benefits of tea and what scientists have found.
Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that tea can cure inflammation, cancer, metabolic syndrome, diseases of the heart, and more. Does science back up these claims? Yes! Two groups of mice were injected with carcinogens from cigarettes: a control group and a group with tea extracts in their drinking water. The group of mice that drank tea extract-infused water daily developed fewer lung tumors than the control group. Researchers, across many animal studies, also found that tea inhibits tumors in almost every organ. In humans, researchers found that drinking tea lowers the risk of pancreatic cancer in women by over 30 percent. Other studies found that drinking tea daily actively prevents prostrate cancer in men. But there's a catch: Tea's cancer-fighting effects are negated if you're a smoker.
When it comes to TCM's claims that drinking tea can help prevent and treat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and promote weight loss, many studies have found that drinking tea does lower weight gain and blood levels of insulin and sugar. It also lowers amounts of your excess body fat tissue and boosts your cells' insulin sensitivity. These findings held despite participants and animals in these studies eating a Western, high-fat diet!
As for tea's heart benefits, studies from China, Japan, Europe, and America found that drinking about 5 cups of tea or more a day lowers your risk of dying from heart disease. Tea's polyphenols and catechins lower inflammation, which play a role in protecting your arteries from blockages arising from blood vessel inflammation. Tea has also been found to protect your liver from toxins, like alcohol.
Tea has also been found to help protect you from neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's. It's also been linked with lowering your risks for developing depression. Tea's theanine crosses your blood-brian barrier and works miracles on your brain, which is why it's being studied as a potential treatment for insomnia, anxiety, and some schizophrenia symptoms.
Tea has all these great benefits, but what's missing? Researchers believe that Western tea drinkers aren't receiving the significant benefits found in these animal and human studies because they're simply not drinking enough! In the Orient, drinking tea is a custom, tradition, and a cultural practice – with people actually learning tea ceremony in school. They drink more tea because it's part of their daily mandatory practice and customs, much like how Americans leave tips for wait staff – it's almost required.
Experts recommend drinking four to five cups of tea daily to experience a significant amount of tea's benefits without causing gastrointestinal irritation. Also, don't try overdosing on green tea extract because doing so has been found to harm your liver. Start drinking the cure for fire (and many more ailments) today!
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