Revista chilena de nutrición
versión On-line ISSN 0717-7518
VALENZUELA B., Alfonso. TEA CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH: BENEFICIAL CHARACTERISTICS AND PROPERTIES OF THIS ANCIENT BEVERAGE. Rev. chil. nutr. [online]. 2004, vol.31, n.2, pp. 72-82. ISSN 0717-7518. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-75182004000200001.
Tea is a widely consumed beverage and most of its chemical components are associated to health benefits. Tea may be consumed as green tea, oolong, and black tea, which contain a variable but important amount of catechins and polyphenols. The final amount of these substances is mainly determined by the degree of oxidation of tea leaves. Green tea is prepared from recently harvested tea leaves, instead oolong and black tea that are prepared from the controlled oxidation of tea leaves. Health benefits from tea consumption are related to the antioxidant properties of its components which acting as oxygen free radical scavengers may protect nucleic acid, proteins, and lipid structures. Tea polyphenols can inhibit in vitro cancer initiation, promotion, and progression by acting over specific enzymes in each stage. Tea polyphenols may have also inhibitory effects in atherogenesis by inhibiting LDL oxidation, and by acting on enzymes and/or metabolites involved in cholesterol, and vascular homeostasis. Tea consumption may improve quality of life by stimulation of fat metabolism and thermogenesis at the adipose tissue, and by promoting the bone remineralization due its fluoride content. Scientific evidence about the biochemical and physiological effects of tea have been obtained mainly from in vitro experiments. However, there are epidemiological studies in populations of different age also providing strong evidence about the health benefits of tea consumption. Tea is a recommendable beverage that helps in maintaining a better health fitness and quality of life.
Palabras llave : Tea and antioxidants; tea and health; polyphenols; catechins.