Drink to Your Good Health at Sylhet’s Tea Gardens
The scenic Sylhet Division in Bangladesh is well-known for its flourishing tea plantations and tea gardens, serving up the delicious and refreshing brew that is enjoyed by millions of people around the world. It is widely accepted that tea originated in the Yunnan province of China at the time that the Shang Dynasty was in power, between 1500 and 1046 BC. But the first verifiable record of drinking tea for medicinal purposes dates back to the 3rd century AD in China. Portuguese traders are believed to have been the first to take tea out of China in the 16th century and over the years the popularity of tea continued to grow along with its geographical distribution. In 2012 Bangladesh produced a record 63.85 million kilograms of tea as reported by the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute.
While there are a host of different brews parading as tea in retail stores and health shops, true tea is made from the leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis which have been cured and prepared in different ways. Apart from water, tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, and many proponents of the aromatic brew are quick to point out the health benefits of their favorite refreshment.
Benefits of drinking tea include the fact that tea contains antioxidants that can protect our bodies from free radicals which cause aging and disease, and while tests are inconclusive, there are numerous studies that show these same antioxidants, along with the polyphenols found in tea can protect us against cancer. Depending on how the two beverages are brewed, tea generally has less caffeine than coffee, while having a similar stimulant effect on concentration and mood. In a 6-year study carried out in the Netherlands it was discovered that people who drank two or three cups of black tea per day had a 70 percent lower risk of having a fatal heart attack, leading researchers to the conclusion that tea may reduce the tea drinker’s risk of heart attack and stroke. This is apparently because tea helps to keep arteries smooth and prevents blood clots from forming.
The many beneficial phytochemicals in tea may protect our bones. In a 10-year study comparing tea drinkers with non-tea drinkers it was found that those who drank at least two to three cups of tea per day had the strongest bones. However, piling sugar into your tea will counteract the benefits, while adding milk may be beneficial. Also, the natural fluoride and tannins in tea can strengthen teeth, but once again, skip the sugar. If you’re hoping to boost your metabolism and aid weight loss, add five cups of green tea to your daily routine. Green tea is also made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, but undergoes minimal oxidation during processing.
When traveling through the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh, be sure to stop of at one of the many tea gardens and enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of tea, knowing as you do, that it’s doing you good.