Tea and COVID 19
In these trying times of the coronavirus we would like to extend our most heartfelt sympathy for all of those who have fallen ill or who have friends or family members who have.
This insidious global virus has truly changed the way we live from day to day. People & governments are doing everything in their power to avoid contamination and to erradicate COVID-19. Social distancing has become the norm. Schools and many businesses have closed in an effort to contain the virus. We know this is temporary, so the best we can do is try to stay calm and positive, follow the recommendations of the authorities and medical community-- And stay home! But what about in our homes? Needless to say we should disinfect our home as much as possible and wash the heck out of our hands. But there's more. We should also ensure that we are eating a healthy diet that is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that will boost the immune system. A healthy immune system will help your body fight off infection and -- heaven forbid you contract the virus -- it will help you beat it.
So, where does tea come into the picture? Tea is one of -- if not THE -- healthiest beverages on the face of the planet! What's more, recent studies have confirmed that tea catechins and theaflavins have a powerful antiviral effect by combating viruses on a cellular level. It also provides a powerful boost to the immune system enabling the body to more effectively fight off infection.
In order for a virus to propogate in the human body it must breach the cell wall. Once inside the cell the virus releases its RNA (Ribonucleic acid) which is the core of the virus' existence. At this point the Virus's RNA virtually hijacks the cell's RNA and takes over, churning out thousands of replicas of itself. Tea catechins and theaflavins bind with small protein-like protrusions on the virus thus preventing it from entering the cell wall. If it cannot enter the cell the virus cannot propogate. It waits around dormant until it's finally eliminated.
The above is a very simplistic explanation of how the virus spreads throughout the human body, but at least it gives a general idea. The important part is that the virus cannot enter the human cell due to the tea catechins and theaflavins. Normally the body's immune system would fight off infection, however COVID-19 is a new virus that the body doesn't recognize, so the immune system leaves it alone to do what it does best -- make you terribly sick! Fortunately, tea catechins and theaflavins don't care what kind of virus it is, they attack it just because that's what they do!
This is not to say that any old non-tea drinker can consume a couple cups of tea and be protected. Serious tea enthusiasts who drink GOOD QUALITY tea have a much greater chance of benefiting from tea's antioxidant powerhouses. They will also be able to better cope with the stress of the current situation because L-theanine (an amino acid that occurs only in tea) is known to reduce stress and anxiety. I emphasize "good quality" tea -- preferrably whole leaf -- has significantly more antioxidants and theanine than your average supermarket tea, but that's a topic for another time.
For now, stay calm, stay healthy and drink lots of tea!
For more in depth information about this topic:
Tea at the Onslaught of Wuhan Coronavirus
Antiviral Role of Green Tea Catechins
Effect of Tea Catechins on Influenza Infection and the Common Cold