Tea, a drink with multiple benefits
Along with water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world and has been for thousands of years. Whether green, black, white, or yellow, it is appreciated for its aromatic, taste, and thirst-quenching qualities.
A plethora of scientific studies highlight its benefits, particularly for metabolic and cardiovascular health. And this is thanks to its richness in beneficial molecules, such as polyphenols.
But its benefits seem to go beyond these two areas. Indeed, the ingestion of the beverage could also positively influence intestinal health.
A review to identify the effects of tea on the gut microbiota
Two British researchers have carried out a review of all the scientific publications examining the effects of tea consumption, its beneficial molecules, and their effects on the intestinal microbiome.
24 studies (including 6 clinical trials and 18 mechanistic studies) were selected according to the authors’ inclusion criteria. Most of these studies reported green tea consumption.
Thus, according to the results of clinical studies, consuming 4 to 5 cups of green tea daily (corresponding to 0.4 to 1 L) would positively modulate the composition of the intestinal microbiota, by increasing the proportion of Bifidobacteria.
Mechanistic studies suggest that tea consumption improves microbial diversity and contributes to the balance of the Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes ratio, thus preventing dysbiosis. The results indicate that drinking the beverage may help ameliorate some of the adverse changes in microbial diversity induced by high-fat diets and/or obesity.
These results are promising. However, more research is needed to understand how teas alter the gut microbiota. Evidence on healthy, normal weight adults should also be considered.