Page 9 - preparation of tea
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Tea’s Role in Cancer Risk Reduction
Preliminary research suggests that the flavonoids in tea could play a role in human cancer risk reduc- tion possibly by combating free radical damage, inhibiting uncontrolled cell growth (cell proliferation), by promoting programmed cell death (apoptosis) and boosting the immune system to help fend off the development and promotion of cancer cells. Leading scientists worldwide are actively studying these potential mechanisms, and clinical trials and population studies are underway. More evidence is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Tea’s Role in Immune Function
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University recently published novel new data indicating that tea contains a component that can help the body ward off infection and disease and that drinking tea may strengthen the immune system.
The researchers identified a substance in tea, L-theanine, which primes the immune system in fighting infection, bacteria, viruses and fungi. A subsequent human clinical trial showed that certain immune cells of participants who drank five cups of Black Tea a day for two to four weeks secreted up to four times more interferon, an important part of the body’s immune defense, than at baseline. Consumption of the same amount of coffee for the same duration had no effect on interferon levels. According to the authors, this study suggests that drinking Black Tea provides the body’s immune system with natural resistance to microbial infection.
Attention and Focus
Tea polyphenols are bioavailable to the brain and can act through iron-chelation, signal transduction modulation, and other mechanisms to effect neuroprotective and/or neurorescue action, with potential implications for age-related dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. A unique tea amino acid, L-theanine (-glutamylethylamide), plays a role in attentional processing in synergy with caffeine.
Tea’s Role in Oral Health
Tea may also contribute to oral health. The flavonoids in tea may inhibit the plaque-forming ability of oral bacteria and the fluoride in tea may support healthy tooth enamel.
Tea and Reduced Risk of Kidney Stones
Increased intake of fluids is routinely recommended for people who have had kidney stones to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. A recent study that followed 81,093 women for eight years suggests that beverage choice may also affect kidney stones development. The study found that for each eight-ounce cup of tea consumed daily by female participants with no previous history of kidney stones, the risk of developing stones appeared to be lowered by eight percent. An earlier study of 45,289 men reported a similar relationship, suggesting that for each eight-ounce serving of tea consumed daily, a 14 percent decrease in risk of stone development was observed.
Tea and Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis
Although high caffeine intake has been suggested to be a risk factor for reduced bone mineral density (BMD), research indicates that drinking tea does not negatively affect BMD, and while it may be too soon to state definitively, findings suggest that tea may even play a role in bone health.

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