A powerful immune system not only prevents the attack of any foreign invaders like bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites but also can protect against degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease. There are many beverages that can support a healthy immune system and black tea is one of them. The health benefits of black tea have been attributed to it’s decent amount of polyphenols and a wide range of flavonoids—particularly thearubigins, theaflavins, flavonols and flavones. These phytochemicals have shown antimicrobial, anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory activities.
Black tea has beneficial physiological effects like the prevention of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease by easing inflammation and supporting the flexibility of blood vessels, which can reduce risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke. Researchers at Harvard University have found 10 times more virus-fighting interferons in the blood of people who drank black tea in comparison to people who drank placebo beverages. The researchers attributed this to an amino-acid, L-theanine found in ordinary black tea.
Various studies over the years have also linked drinking Black Tea to reduced risk of certain types of cancers, and increased number of immune cells, antioxidants that protect cells against free radical damage. The antimutagenic effect is well documented for the black tea polyphenols, namely theaflavins and thearubigins and attributed both to the inhibition of the oxidative DNA damage as well as, considerable literature demonstrates their inhibitory effect on the tumor cell proliferation. Latest research also suggests that these polyphenols even affect the balance of gut bacteria that enhances immune functions, encouraging short-chain fatty acids formation that support liver’s function.
Tea drinkers have shown lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, after an exposure to a stressful situation. Stress can suppress the immune response of the body. Thus, indirectly by managing stress, tea again improves the effectiveness of the immune system.
Tips To Include Black Tea In Your Diet
- Infused Tea: Add 3-5g or one black tea bag into a cup. Fill to the top with 85-90c boiling water and steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bag or strain and serve hot or over ice.
Optional: You can add half a cup of fruit pieces into a one-quart Mason jar with tea and, later cover and let the fruit steep for another ten minutes in hot infused tea, after removing the tea bags.
- You can add some lemon juice or crushed ginger or a pinch of cinnamon to infused black tea for additional antioxidant activity and flavour.
- Japanese researchers have found that even gargling with black tea extract twice a day was less likely to catch flu by flushing microbes trapped in the throat area.
- Inhaling boiling water mixed with Black Tea can facilitate the clearing of the passages towards the lung and facilitate the removal of bacteria/viruses trapped around the nasal area and opens a pathway for the Theaflavins to reach the lungs and protect it from infection.
Word of Caution
- Adding milk may diminish the disease-fighting potential of the tea as various studies have not observed the beneficial effect of black tea consumption on the risk of coronary heart disease in subjects consuming tea with milk.
- Avoid having tea with meals due to the presence of Tannins, an anti-nutritional compound, which has inhibitory effects on absorption of protein and certain minerals from food like, Iron, copper, sodium and aluminium.
- Do not drink tea close to bedtime as another compound in tea called Caffeine could keep you from falling asleep.
Don’t miss on physical activity, adequate sleep and Dietary Diversification, that is, include a variety of food in your diet ranging from whole grain/pulses to coloured fruits/vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, to add a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants in diet, to enhance body’s disease-fighting capabilities.
Enjoy your cup of tea 1-2 times a day in snack time away from meals. We hope this article helps you. Do leave your thoughts in the comments below. For more immunity-boosting tips, check out Healthy Reads or tune in to our experts on GOQii Play.
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Stay safe, boost your immunity and #BeTheForce!