Brew Up Your Best Health

In All Health Watch, Alzheimer's and Memory, Anti-Aging, Featured Article, General Health

There’s an all-round wonder drink that can supercharge your brain, improve heart health, and even reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. It’s not an enhanced vitamin drink… it’s not an expensive, multi-formula health drink… it’s not even an all-in-one performance drink.

This special beverage is just plain old-fashioned tea. And before you reach for your glass of green tea… think again. I’m also talking about the simple black and red varieties. Brand new research has just revealed the wide-ranging benefits of these lesser promoted teas. And forward-looking doctors are happy to embrace them.

“After water, tea is probably the most consumed beverage in the world,” says NHD panel expert Dr. Jonny Bowden. “Not counting water, it’s also probably the healthiest. Green tea [gets] most of the hype, and that hype is completely deserved. But let’s not forget that the health benefits of tea drinking are not limited to just the green variety.”

“Tea-ing” Up for Better Brain Smarts

Drinking tea can better your brain power. That’s according to a brand new report put out by the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Aging. The study shows that drinking tea speeds up brain processes… improves memory… and increases cognition and function.

The research team set out to see how drinking tea affected brain power in older adults. They studied 716 adults in Singapore, all of whom were in their mid 50s.  They noted the drinking habits of the participants and then conducted a battery of cognitive tests. They found tea drinkers consistently scored higher across the board.

“There was no [link] between coffee and cognitive function,” noted the study authors. “Tea consumption was [linked to] better cognitive performance.”

They found that the best performers drank a variety of tea… black, green and red.

Red Tea for Healthy Hearts

Another recent study looked at the effect of Rooibos – an African “red tea” – on cardiovascular health.  Researchers took black, green, and red tea and set out to see which promoted better heart health.

After reviewing the effects of each tea on the cardio health of 17 healthy Swedish volunteers, researchers found that both red and green tea significantly inhibited ACE activity within 30 minutes of drinking.

Inhibiting ACE activity is good for your heart. ACE stands for Angiotensin Converting Enzyme. We all have these enzymes in our bodies. They convert angiotensin into angiotensin II. Angiotensin II increases your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder. We don’t want that to happen.

If we can inhibit ACE… we block the conversion from angiotensin I to II.

The important thing to remember is that reducing angiotensin II allows your blood vessels to expand and relax… this reduces your blood pressure… and places less stress on your heart.

And this new study proves that drinking red or green tea inhibits ACE activity.

Reducing the Risk of Ovarian Cancer

An Australian case-control study reviewed 1,386 cases to see if there was a link between tea drinking and ovarian cancer. They reviewed a range of different teas and the effect they had on each case.

They found “support for the hypothesis that tea consumption reduces the risk of ovarian cancer.” They noted that both green and herbal tea reduced risk.

Secrets of Tea

Most varieties of tea come from the same warm-weather planet called Camellia sinensis. That’s right – black, green, or white – they all come from the same plant. What creates the variety is not the source… but the processing of the leaves.

The variation in colors and properties is determined by how long the leaves are allowed to ferment and dry.

But, because they all come from the same plant, they all offer health benefits. And it’s the leaves of the plant that make them all valuable… because the leaves contain polyphenols.

These are health-boosting antioxidants that fight the aging process known as “oxidative stress.” Polyphenols stop free radicals from damaging cells, block enzymes that lead to tumors, and combat cancer.

Types of Tea

Dr. Andrew Weil outlines the different process involved in producing each type of tea:

  • Green tea – The leaves are steamed, rolled, and dried. This method preserves the content of the polyphenols, which is why green tea is often promoted as a health champion.
  • Black tea – Oxidation changes the color and flavor of the leaves… and also reduces the polyphenols.
  • Oolong tea – This tea is an intermediate between green and black tea – in color, flavor, and polyphenol content.

Unlike the other teas, Rooibos comes from a South African plant – Aspalanthus linearis. And while it’s already been shown to improve heart health, it has many other benefits too.

“Rooibos tea [is] used by tribes for medicinal purposes,” says Dr. Weil. “White South Africans [use it to treat] hay fever, asthma, [and] eczema and to relieve nausea.”

Tea Tip of the Day

Dr. Bowden offers the following tip to make sure you get enough tea each day.

“I brew a very strong cup of tea,” he says. He suggests five teabags or more. “After cooling, I put it in a one-quart container and fill with pure water.”

He then puts it in the fridge, which keeps it cool and allows him to measure how much he drinks.

“It’s refreshing and requires no work,” he says. “And it’s a great way to get your tea fix all day without having to stop and brew a cup.”

To your health,

Ian Robinson,
Managing Editor
NHD “Health Watch”

About Dr Jonny Bowden:

Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. is a nationally known expert on weight loss and nutrition and a best-selling author. He has a Master’s Degree in psychology and counseling and a PhD in nutrition.

About Dr. Andrew Weil:

Andrew Weil is the founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, in Tucson. He is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. Dr. Weil received his medical and undergraduate degrees from Harvard University.