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It can be argued that one of the most important reasons to drink tea is for health benefits. Pu-erh tea (or pu'er tea) is certainly no exception to this rule, and for centuries it has been cherished as a healthy tea full of benefits for both the palate and the body.
Now, with improved scientific methods and new technologies at the fingertips of curious academics, researchers are finding evidence to support these long-lived claims of impressive wellness boost.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of pu-erh tea.
1. Weight Loss
Studies have shown that drinking pu-erh tea regularly helps weight loss and reduction in the Body Mass Index (BMI).
It prevents the body from absorbing the fats and lipids in the diet which contribute to weight gain. Fats, when absorbed, tend to accumulate along the waist-line. Pu-erh tea helps you control your waist-line by controlling absorption of fat.
2. Digestive Aid
Research has proven pu-erh tea helps digestion of fats and lipids. This is the underlying reason behind the weight loss caused by pu-erh tea. However, this also helps manage symptoms of a condition called Metabolic Syndrome.
Not only that, pu-erh tea helps balance the good, helpful bacteria in the intestine. These bacteria play an important role in maintaining the general health of the digestive system.
3. Diabetes Maintenance and Prevention
The journal Food & Function published a study in 2015 demonstrating that pu-erh tea decreased blood sugar in vitro and in mice. This has incredible implications for those with diabetes and individuals considered “pre-diabetic,” meaning that they are at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.
4. Cardiovascular Wellness
The relationship between pu-erh tea and cholesterol is one of the most popular health discussions around, since drinking pu-erh tea on a regular basis has been shown to lower cholesterol levels in the body. A 2009 study from Experimental Gerontology demonstrated that the “bad” type of cholesterol, called LDL, was lowered in rats treated with extracts of pu-erh tea. On the other hand, “good” cholesterol (HDL) was increased. Due to these lipid-lowering properties, pu-erh can play a significant role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Like other teas, pu-erh tea is rich in antioxidants, meaning that it is capable of protecting cells against something called free radical damage. According to Mayo Clinic, free radicals may be partially responsible for the onset of serious health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
6. Skin Health
Pu-erh tea also protects the elastin in the skin. Progressive loss of elastin is the main cause of skin aging. One of the benefits of drinking pu-erh tea regularly is that it keeps the skin healthy by reducing the effects of sun damage.
Plus, the anti-bacterial characteristics of pu-erh tea may even be able to protect your body from harmful bacteria. While some bacteria live naturally within the body and work for good, other bacteria can cause illness and acne. For this reason, it’s possible that regularly consuming pu-erh tea (or even spritzing it on the face as part of a skincare routine) can improve acne and clear the skin.
7. Cognitive Health
A lot of scientific research has centered around the effect pu-erh tea has on the brain. Pu-erh tea keeps the brain healthy and can help manage brain-related conditions like epilepsy, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease etc.
8. Bone Health
Osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak and brittle, is a particular concern for aging women. Osteoporosis onset may result from hormonal changes commonly experienced during menopause or due to calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Scientists in China designed an experiment to investigate whether or not pu-erh tea could protect against osteoporosis, and their results were promising.
9. Anxiety Reduction
Over 18% of American adults feel the daily effects of anxiety disorders. Pu-erh tea contains a substance called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, for short), which has been known within scientific and medical communities as a potential way to decrease anxiety.
10. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Some compounds found in high amounts within both raw and ripe pu-erh tea are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. A couple of these substances, including compounds called asperglaucide and neoechinulin A, are actually produced by some of the microbes involved in up-erh’s fermentation process.
Clearly, pu-erh tea is not just an enjoyable drink, but it has hidden health benefits also. Of course, if you have any of the conditions listed here, it is important to consult your physician. Let your health provider know if you’re planning on using pu-erh tea as a supplement to benefit your health or improve symptoms of a particular condition.
Trying It Out
When you’re ready to take the plunge and try aged pu-erh tea to improve your health, or if you’re simply excited to experience its smooth, complex tasting notes for the first time, it can be difficult to wade through the pu-erh on the shelves and on the web to decide on a particular selection. If you have not yet settled on where to buy pu’er, our introductory aged tea sampler set can help you out.
Mansa Tea is a handcrafted aged tea company that specializes in aged teas, tea experiences, and education for modern connoisseurs. We aim to elevate tea experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels so that tea enthusiasts can taste aged tea at its peak as part of their fine dining experience.
This article is just one part of the Mansa Tea Education blog series. Subscribe to our newsletter to become a tea connoisseur.