It may come as a surprise, but tea is the most popular beverage in the world. Whether it is to perk one’s morning or to enjoy the company of friends, a cup of tea is always a pleasure to have. Tea comes in many varieties. There are more than a thousand of them all over the world and each one delivers a flavor profile that’s unique to the land where tea grows. One of these varieties is Assam. Most folks who are not familiar with Assam tea would love to know if it can provide the same benefits as other tea varieties. Does it also share the same side effects present in other tea variants? Let’s learn more.
What is Assam Tea?
Known for its strong malty flavor and bright color, Assam tea is the name given to a tea variety grown in the Indian region of Assam. It has this very distinct body and briskness that is very rare in other types of tea. It has a strong taste and aroma that can flood the nostrils in an instant. It’s no wonder that Assam tea is often served as an accompaniment to a healthy breakfast.
On a more historical note, Assam is only one of two regions in the world where native tea plants are grown. The other region is in southern China. Tea plants in other areas often come from other locations. But the teas that grow in Assam and southern China are indigenous to the land. This gives them a more robust flavor profile.
The region of Assam receives plenty of rainfall during the monsoon season. The tea-growing fields also receive fresh water from the mighty Brahmaputra River. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 96.8 ºF, mimicking the conditions in a greenhouse. The tropical climate of Assam is what gives the tea its unique malty taste. If there’s one thing that best describes Assam tea, then this will be its malty nature.
What Benefits Can You Derive from Assam Tea?
Assam tea contains polyphenols, amino acids, caffeine, catechins, flavanols, methylxanthines, and many more. It is the presence of these substances that make Assam tea beneficial in the following ways.
May Help Prevent Premature Aging
Many of the substances found in Assam tea have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are helpful in negating the different effects of free radicals in the human body. In oxidative stress, oxygen molecules split into their component atoms. This leads to the creation of free radicals. These uncharged atoms damage the DNA and structural proteins of individual cells.
In short, free radicals can make you look a lot older than your actual age. The antioxidants present in Assam tea can help neutralize these free radicals. This helps prevent unnecessary damage to cells. In effect, you are preventing premature aging. You won’t have to worry about premature wrinkles, age spots, and other blemishes on the face.
May Provide Additional Protection against Cancer
There are many reasons why people can develop cancer. However, at the root of disease is the sudden change in the structure and function of a single cell. When we recall our discussion about the effects of free radicals on individual cells, we know that these uncharged particles can damage a cell’s DNA. Since DNA contains information on how future cells are to be formed, then DNA damage can result in a dysfunctional daughter cell.
This is one of the most important theories in cancer causation. Because the DNA of the parent cell is already damaged, one can only expect the daughter cells to be damaged as well. Damaged DNA gets handed down through generations. When it comes to a point where succeeding cell lines are already very different from the original, you already have cancer.
Antioxidants found in Assam tea can help prevent damage to cell DNA. In a way, it reduces the risk of developing cancer since there are other mechanisms in which cancer can form.
Improves Cognitive Functioning
There are two important ingredients in Assam tea that can help boost cognitive functions. One is caffeine. This can help improve mental alertness and focus so you can perform more of your tasks. Caffeine can stimulate the more efficient firing of individual nerve cells in the brain.
The other substance is theanine. This is an amino acid that is beneficial in relaxing the mind. A relaxed and peaceful mind is necessary for complex problem-solving skills. This can also lead to the alleviation of stress, allowing you to focus more on a single task at any given time.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
It is true that there are conflicting studies related to the benefits of antioxidants on cardiovascular health. On one side of the debate table is the idea that antioxidants can help protect the heart by addressing the risk factors that often play in heart diseases. On the other side of the equation is the notion that antioxidants do not reduce the incidence of heart disease.
One should take note that antioxidants will not reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events. What they do reduce is the risk of developing such health problems. Antioxidants can reverse the effects of free radical damage to cells. This allows cells to function in a more efficient manner. Not only does it reduce the risk of heart problems, Assam tea can also promote a healthier and stronger heart.
There are studies that show Assam tea can help lower the risk of heart attack. One has to realize that it doesn’t prevent heart attack; it only reduces the risk of dying after an episode of heart attack.
Of course, if you already have a heart condition, it is best to consult with your doctor. Being a stimulant, Assam tea may not be ideal for individuals with preexisting cardiac problems.
Promotes Optimum Oral and Dental Health
One of the things that people don’t know about Assam tea is that it contains fluoride. This mineral is effective in the strengthening of the enamel layer of the teeth. The enamel consists of calcium, phosphate, and fluoride minerals. It protects the inner dentin layer against decay.
While enamel is tougher than bone itself, it is not immune to chemical breakdown. Acids from the food that we eat can somehow weaken the structure of the enamel. Fluoride present in Assam tea can reach the blood and get deposited in the enamel layer of the teeth. This provides strength while facilitating a process called remineralization.
Assam tea doesn’t only contain fluoride that’s beneficial for stronger teeth. It also contains other substances that have antimicrobial properties. These molecules can help fight bacteria in the mouth, especially those that cause bad breath and gum diseases.
When swished in the mouth, Assam tea can serve as a mouth rinse or mouthwash. This helps fight germs in the oral cavity in case you cannot brush your teeth yet. These are some of the ways in which Assam tea can help improve your oral health.
May Aid in Weight Loss Efforts
This may be a controversial benefit. However, some folks can attest to the effectiveness of Assam tea in weight loss efforts. Caffeine and methylxanthines like theobromine found in tea can increase the rate of metabolism of the human body. An increase in metabolic rate promotes the utilization of stored energy molecules from fat storage sites, the liver, and muscles. In effect, you are removing stored fat.
Unfortunately, consuming Assam tea alone will not give you the desired weight loss effects. It has to be part of a more comprehensive weight loss program that includes exercise and diet. The idea here is to facilitate the use of more energy while limiting the opportunities for storing energy molecules. In other words, energy expenditure should be greater than energy intake.
Nevertheless, Assam tea can still be made as an integral part of the diet component of a weight loss program.
Are There Side Effects That You Need to Know?
In general, Assam tea is safe. However, since it can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, it can also produce a number of side effects among susceptible individuals. One of the most common side effects is an increase in heartbeat. Some people may also report palpitations. These are somewhat expected because of the caffeine content of Assam tea. Other side effects can include restlessness and difficulty sleeping.
There are also reports of nausea and vomiting; although these side effects are quite rare. Diarrhea may also occur because of stimulation of peristalsis of the colon. One of the most striking side effects of tea as a beverage is increased frequency of urination. This can be quite troublesome in the night. You may not be able to sleep well because of frequent trips to the toilet.
It should be understood that these side effects are often associated with excessive consumption of Assam tea. Hence, drinking tea in moderate amounts should help ensure more of the benefits and less of the side effects.
Drinking a cup of Assam tea every day can help provide you with a host of health benefits. Limiting it to one or two cups every day should also help minimize the occurrence of side effects.