During an era marked by scientific studies of foods and drinks that harm human health, one of the few exceptions seems to be a classic drink: tea. Reported tea benefits range from improved mental health to better gut health to lower rates of diabetes.
These tea benefits vary based on the type of tea. Antioxidants in black and green tea have different benefits than the various natural herbs that can be used as tea infusions. Despite differences between teas, tea benefits consistently reflect the importance of gut health for overall health and well-being.
Why Does the Gut Matter So Much?
When you ponder ways to improve your health, the state of their gut is rarely your first concern unless your are suffering from gastro conditions. Wellness experts have recently argued that gut health proves vital for fighting off a range of diseases and for preventing obesity. Scientific researchers also testify to the gut’s important role in human well-being to the extent that they often speak of the gut’s brain.
The gut contains a staggering array of bacteria that shape the systems that are responsible for human health. In exchange for the free housing that your body provides, bacteria fight off toxins, facilitate digestion, and serve as regulators for the immune system.
These bacteria even have a role to play in battling significant diseases such as colorectal cancer. The proper balance of gut microbes can suppress inflammation, which is linked closely with several gastrointestinal diseases.
Scientists now recognize that the gut affects more than just digestion. Its structure and function have led researchers to call it a second brain. This enteric nervous system (ENS) features tens of millions of nerve cells that link this second brain directly with your primary brain.
Experts are beginning to find signs that gastrointestinal issues trigger physical communication between the gut and the central nervous system, a discovery that helps explain the higher rates of depression and anxiety among those with digestive problems. In response to these new findings, doctors are now deploying mind-body therapy that accounts for the link between the body’s two brains.
What Does Tea Have to Do with It?
In many cases, foods and drinks seem to carry negative health risks. Tea drinkers, however, enjoy an extensive list of health benefits. The presence of tea in your diet is linked with positive health outcomes, such as lower rates of diabetes and heart disease.
The presence of polyphenols in many types of tea is the main reason for tea’s positive impact on gut health in particular. These natural compounds serve as a prebiotic, increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut. Polyphenols also perform as antioxidants, stopping the potentially harmful effects of oxidants in the body.
Tea Types and Specific Health Benefits
Different forms of tea affect the gut differently. For example, black tea contains high levels of tannins, chemical compounds which are also present in red wines. Tannins give black tea its characteristic bitterness, but they also assist the body’s digestive process.
Fermented tea serves a probiotic role that aids digestion and benefits the immune system. Given the link between your gut health and your brain, it is not surprising that this tea may also have a positive effect on mental health. Drinking fermented tea can also help you lose weight. This tea’s composition seems to make you less hungry when consumed.
Green tea’s high polyphenol count prevents harmful inflammation in your digestive system and acts as an antioxidizing agent. This helps your body maintain a healthy gut, which in turn contributes to a better immune system and even improved mental health.
Finally, you can opt for a range of tea infusions if you’re looking for improved gut health. Infusions provide unique flavors to tea without contributing the high levels of unwanted carbohydrates or calories that follow other flavor additions.
Natural health practitioners have reported wide ranging health benefits from infusions like oat straw, nettle, comfrey, and red clover. For example, comfrey reportedly soothes inflamed tissues in people’s digestive tracts.
Teas and Guts: Keys to Human Flourishing
When you begin to look for ways to improve your health, particularly your digestive health, you can turn to tea as part of your efforts.
Ongoing scientific research has been highlighting tea benefits, suggesting that a healthy mix of teas can serve as a key to your improved health.