If you were to ask people around the world to name activities commonly associated with the English, chances are drinking tea would figure quite highly on the list. And if recent research is anything to go by it might be one activity worth imitating.
Now it is worth pointing out that the tea the English have commonly preferred is black, more often than not taken with milk, and in many instances a spoon or three of sugar. Making sure that the variety of tea you use is strong, serve it in a mug, make the sugar virtually a must and you have yourself the beverage known affectionately as "Builders Tea". A favorite on construction sites the length and breadth of England. And probably much of Scotland, Wales and Ireland too. But tea, as previous data has already confirmed, can be more than just a source of refreshment.
Whilst, in these particular instances it is green tea that is the variety in question, two more stories have emerged of the possible health benefits of a plant which bears the scientific name Camellia Sinensis.
The first story concerns the benefits that green tea might bring to your dental health and in it The Open Press cites a report published in the Journal of Periodontology which details a study carried out on 940 men aged between 49 and 59.
This study found that those men who regularly drank green tea enjoyed a lower incidence of three factors by which periodontal disease is usually measured. Namely gum tissue bleeding, depth of the periodontal pocket and detachment of gum tissue. It is believed that Catechin is the specific antioxidant found in tea that is principally responsible for the better level of periodontal health enjoyed by regular green tea drinkers.
Whilst not mentioned in this particular study, it has also been suggested that bad breath and plaque may be other aspects of dental health that can be alleviated by the consumption of green tea. The Open Press story adds that the study's findings are likely to find support from Dr Farnoosh, a man considered as being near the very top of the dental profession in the USA by organizations such as the Consumer Research Council and the American Academy of Periodontology, and who has spoken before of the dental benefits that can arise from drinking green tea on a regular basis.
According to the Daily Mail a second study carried out by the Feist-Weiller Cancer Centre in Louisiana, and reported in the Cancer Prevention Research journal, has spoken of the potential green tea consumption has to slow the advance of prostate cancer in men. In this instance 26 men, varying in age from 41 to 72 and facing imminent surgery for their condition, were given a daily dose of the supplement Polyphenon E over a period of approximately a month.
Polyphenon E contains the active compounds found in green tea and the daily dose administered to the men in the study equated to them drinking roughly 12 brewed cups of green tea concentrate. In some of the men the prostate specific antigen score, a protein marker used in monitoring the progression of prostate cancer, and the scores of two other biomarkers used for the same purpose, were reduced by more than 30%. What is more any side effects from what might be considered an unusually high intake of tea were minimal.
These latest studies, and those before them, may not necessarily be conclusive but they do provide hope that there are certain foods and drinks we currently consume for mainly enjoyable purposes that can also quite easily provide relatively inexpensive benefits to our health.