The Seven Essentials: firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and tea. Tea holds a significant position in daily life, offering numerous benefits. It possesses various health-promoting functions attributed to its active components, including antioxidants such as catechins, amino acids, caffeine, flavonoids, theine, theanine, vitamins, and minerals.

Green tea, the earliest type of tea, serves as the foundation for other varieties. Tea absorbs the essence of heaven and earth, embodying the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. From a simple leaf, tea undergoes processes involving fire and water, ultimately transforming into a beverage that encompasses all five elements.

Tea contains three treasures: tea polyphenols act as natural preservatives, caffeine serves as an anti-fatigue agent, and theanine acts as a calming agent. Let’s categorize its benefits:

1. Rich in antioxidants such as tea polyphenols, catechins, and flavonoids, tea helps eliminate free radicals, slowing down cellular oxidation and delaying skin aging. It also possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, inhibiting and eliminating pathogens.

  • Tea polyphenols inhibit atherosclerosis and strengthen bones by suppressing substances that damage bone cells.
  • Catechins accelerate metabolism, promote fat burning, aid in weight loss, and brighten the eyes.
  • Catechins and flavonoids help prevent certain cancers, particularly oral, esophageal, gastric, colorectal, and rectal cancers, by clearing free radicals and slowing down cellular oxidation. Long-term tea consumption reduces the risk of cancer and exhibits anti-tumor effects.
  • Tea polyphenols act as antioxidants, contributing to a youthful appearance. Studies suggest that two cups of green tea are equivalent to the antioxidant content of four apples, five onions, or seven cups of orange juice, owing to its high tea polyphenol content (18%-36%).

The saying goes, ‘It’s not that your appearance is aging, but that you’re drinking too little tea.’ The unsung hero behind this is tea polyphenols.

2. Tea contains caffeine, also known as theine, which acts as a stimulant and anti-fatigue agent. Caffeine itself has sterilizing and virus-inactivating functions, effectively preventing colds and boosting immunity. It stimulates the central nervous system, enhancing alertness and memory. Caffeine also has a fatigue-reducing effect; many people feel energized after drinking tea, thanks to its contribution. Here’s an interesting fact: tea contains more caffeine than coffee, although it was first discovered in coffee.

3. Tea contains theanine, a unique amino acid found in tea leaves, which has calming and soothing effects, allowing us to relax and focus. Have you ever noticed that after drinking tea, your mind feels serene, and previous worries and anxieties seem to dissipate? That’s the effect of theanine.

4. Tea contains 11 essential trace elements needed by the human body, with potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and manganese being the most abundant. Other elements include zinc and selenium, as well as vitamins C and E. These trace elements and vitamins contribute to a more balanced nutrition. Tea can strengthen bones due to its polyphenols, and it also contains manganese, an indispensable element for bone structure.

5. Tea has various other health benefits: it effectively eliminates smoke toxins by promoting diuresis and detoxification, allowing toxins from smoking to be excreted through urine, thus reducing the harm caused by smoking. Drinking tea can regulate blood lipids and reduce the body’s absorption of fat. Tea has cosmetic functions; certain types like green tea and white tea contain natural moisturizing ingredients that help moisturize and protect the skin, making it soft and smooth. The polyphenols in tea have a cleansing effect, helping to remove dirt and residues from the skin’s surface, keeping it fresh and clean. Some teas, such as green tea, have a pore-tightening effect, helping to reduce pore size and sebum secretion, thus improving skin texture. Caffeine in tea can absorb heavy metals and alkaloids, precipitating and decomposing them. Tea also protects the gastric mucosa and has a stomach-nourishing effect. Tea’s slimming effect can help achieve a more perfect body shape. Moreover, tea can promote blood circulation. Caffeine increases alertness and energy, to some extent, enhancing libido and sexual performance. Drinking tea helps lower cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of hypertension. Compounds in tea leaves can help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing diabetes and controlling blood sugar.

6. Introduction to various types of tea: Green tea has strong antioxidant properties and a refreshing taste. The production process involves no fermentation, making it believed to help refresh the mind, detoxify, lose weight, and beautify the skin. White tea is rich in polyphenolic compounds and amino acids, with antioxidant, antibacterial, and cardiovascular protection effects. It has functions such as detoxification, refreshing the mind, lowering blood pressure, and reducing blood lipids. White tea is not processed with direct fire, retaining the natural fresh flavor of the tea leaves. Yellow tea, with fermentation levels between green tea and oolong tea, has a unique fresh taste and elegant aroma. It contains abundant amino acids and polyphenols, offering antioxidant, lipid-lowering, and refreshing effects, helping to relieve stress and improve sleep quality. Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea with a unique floral and fruity aroma, fresh taste, and lingering sweetness. It contains rich polyphenolic compounds and caffeine, helping to increase alertness, boost immunity, aid digestion, and control weight. Black tea is fully fermented, with a rich aroma and mellow taste. It contains abundant polyphenols and caffeine, helping to refresh the mind, enhance memory, aid digestion, and combat aging. Pu’er tea is a long-fermented and stored tea, with a unique aged fragrance and flavor. It contains abundant polyphenols and microbial metabolites, helping to regulate gastrointestinal function, detoxify, lower blood lipids and blood pressure, and combat aging. Each type of tea has its unique characteristics and benefits. Choose the tea that suits your taste and needs, and enjoy the health and pleasure brought by its aroma!