For every coffee drinker, there is a tea drinker but for some reason, coffee just gets a lot more screen space. So today we are going to dissect this popular hot beverage!
What is Tea Exactly?
We are inundated these days with all these 'weight losses', 'detox', fruit, seed and flower teas. Technically speaking none of these other plant infused 'herbal' teas count as tea. Tea, in the pure sense, is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, and at varying degrees of fermentation. This produces green, black, white, oolong and pu-erh teas.
The health benefits of tea have been attributed to the presence of antioxidants (flavonoids), catechins, polyphenols, and phytochemicals. Amongst tea’s most potent antioxidants is EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate - the most abundant catechin) which helps with reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular issues.
Tea Health Benefits
While there are specific health benefits of each variant of tea, which we will cover in a while, there are some benefits that are typical of all types of teas.
• The antioxidants in tea help neutralize the damage caused by free radicals. Examples of this include an attempt to counteract the effects of aging and the ravages of pollution.
• Tea contains lesser caffeine than coffee. This makes it a great alternative for those who still need a shot of caffeine but have side effects such as anxiety, disruption of sleep and headaches with coffee consumption.
• Drinking tea reduces the risk of heart attacks by 70% and also minimizes the chances of having a stroke. This occurs because tea has the potential to keep the arteries free from clogs caused by cholesterol.
• The beneficial phytochemicals in tea have also been associated with improved bone health.
• The fluoride and tannins in tea help keep plaque at bay, giving you a better smile.
• Tea improves immune system functioning. It is also highly anti-inflammatory.
• The antioxidants in tea have known to help reduce blindness caused by cataract formation.
• Tea reduces cortisol spikes in the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone associated with storage of fat around the mid-section and accelerated aging.
• The combination of the caffeine and an amino acid, L-Theanine, present in tea helps improve memory, focus, reaction time and concentration.
• Tea has also been associated with reduced risk of various cancers due to the presence of polyphenols.
• Tea helps keep you hydrated, so long as you do not consume more than 5-6 cups at a stretch.
• Tea is calorie free and helps boost metabolism, making it the ideal drink to add to a weight loss regimen. Just ensure that you do not add too much milk, cream or sugar as they will negate the positive effects of tea on weight loss.
Types of Teas
The difference in character and properties between the various types depends solely on when they are plucked and how they are processed. All types of teas have flavonoids that promote cellular health.
| White Tea
White tea is made from the youngest leaves are put through minimum processing to ensure high antioxidant yield. It has a pale in color and has a light yet refreshing taste.
Its extraordinarily high level of antioxidants make is brilliant for everything from skin radiance to strong bones, cardiac health to bone health. It has to be shown to have the most potent anti-cancer properties. It has also been known to inhibit the formation of wrinkles by increasing the collagen and elastin levels in the skin. White tea is also considered to be able to reduce stress on joints and keep them younger. It is considered a prized tea.
| Green Tea
Green tea is also very lightly processed, but the leaves are only plucked after full bloom. The leaves of green tea are steamed, rolled into different shapes and after all dried. This method of processing green tea allows to retain high levels of polyphenols (EGCG or other catechins) and has a multitude of benefits.
It has been shown to reduce the risk of various types of cancer, burn fat, boost metabolism, reduce the risk of neurological disorders, prevent arterial clogging and reduce cholesterol levels. It also improves endothelial health and allows better cardiac health. Green tea has also been credited with improved functioning of retinal tissue.
Matcha is a powered variety of green tea that considered to be the most potent green tea across the globe. The way it is harvested, prepared and consumed promotes a variety of health benefits.
| Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea is made from semi-oxidized leaves where they have been left to wither but plucked before full oxidation can take place.
It is known particularly to aid weight loss by boosting metabolism and burning fat. It has more caffeine and lesser antioxidants than green tea. It helps in the reduction of cholesterol, strengthens the immune system and preserves cardiac health.
| Black Tea
Black tea contains leaves which are fully oxidized before plucking.
It contains the highest amount of caffeine among all variants. It also contains tannins but has the lowest level of antioxidants. It is used for all breakfast teas and chai as it has the most robust flavor. It is known to reduce blood pressure and stress. Black teas have polyphenols, but less than green tea. This tea as known as red tea in Chinese.
| Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea is a variety of aged fermented tea from Yunnan province in China. The tea leaves have undergone a natural microbial fermentation process and oxidation that takes 6 months to a year. Over time tea leaves have become dark, and after that, they are dried and rolled.
This tea as known as dark or black tea in Chinese and have a sweet, smooth and mild taste. Traditionally, Pu-erh Tea was used to help support digestion.
Overall, as it may be clear by now, whichever variant you choose Tea has a plethora of health benefits to offer. There is no right or wrong choice, it all depends on what you are looking for at the moment. Are you still reading? Rush along now, brew yourself a cup of tea!
• The antioxidants in tea neutralize the damage caused by free radicals
• Tea consumption reduces the risk of heart attacks by 70%
• Tea is associated with the risk of cancers reduction
• White and green teas are lightly processed.
Tea is widely regarded to be one of the most consumed beverages in the world...
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