Is a tea break good for your health?

A doctor has suggested that a tea break can improve gut health.

There has never been a better time to pop the kettle on, video call or facetime a friend as a new report by the Tea Advisory Panel suggests we should drink tea to great gut health.

The body suggests that four to five cups of tea a day could boost ‘friendly’ gut bacteria, subsequently boosting our health.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, the dietitian for the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) explains that: “Tea has a prebiotic effect in the gut thanks to the polyphenols it contains. These polyphenols help to encourage an increase in positive bacteria strains including Lactobacillus, Faecalibacteria and Bacteroides.

“And with research showing 36% are willing to pay more for products that boost our digestive health, it seems like a far cheaper alternative to boiling up a brew!”

Although you might associate your gut with your tummy, it actually starts at your mouth and even encompasses your oesophagus too. In fact, your mouth also harbours oral bacteria, which can make it’s way further down into your gut.

Dr Carrie Ruxton from the TAP reveals: “Tea is known to have anti-microbial effects in the upper gastrointestinal tract, namely the mouth, oesophagus, and stomach helping to prevent dental decay and bad breath.”

We’ve never been more conscious of maintaining a healthy immune system, but while supplements naturally have their place, tea could also play a part. Green, oolong, black and pu-erh teas were shown to increase bacterial diversity; important for strengthening immunity, and therefore helping to prevent illness.

If lockdown has meant you’re moving less, you might have noticed your clothes feeling a little snug. But a shift in gut bacteria could help keep unwanted weight off. Emerging research shows how polyphenols in green and black tea positively adjusted the balance between Bacteriodetes phyla and Firmicutes, bacteria associated with obesity.

Natural health chemist and adviser from the Tea Advisory Panel, Dr Tim Bond explains: “Studies show that obese people have low levels of Bacteriodetes and high levels Firmicutes which put the two types of bacteria out of balance. Tea drinking seems to help reverse this problem. What’s more, green tea consumption lead to changes in the gut microbiome linked to a reduced obesity risk.”

Scientific evidence has shown that tea polyphenols, through their role in a gut-friendly diet, could help protect against cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline (including Alzheimer’s), cancer, type 2 diabetes and inflammatory disorders.

Whether it be constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, or irritable bowel syndrome, a negative balance of gut bacteria can wreak havoc with our tummies. However, promoting good bacteria can help prevent these issues occurring.

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