Want to cool down in a hot summer month or warm yourself up in winters – Tea is an enticing brew.
Personally I love tea and that’s how I begin my day.
From centuries, people all over the world have been using various types and mixtures of tea not only for its essence and taste but also for remedial purposes. So you all must know that whenever you have a cold or a bad throat – what you need is just a cup of hot tea.
People in the East consider tea as a fundamental aspect to their good health. It has now come to the notice of researchers in West who are now trying to discover the health benefits associated with various types of teas.
Some studies reveal that tea reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer. It also plays a vital role in reducing weight and maintaining the cholesterol levels. Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, LD, the spokeswoman of American Dietetic Association says, “There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea. I think it’s a great alternative to coffee drinking. First, tea has less caffeine. It’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea – their flavonoids – are good for the heart and may reduce cancer.”
How are different types of Tea made?
There are different varieties of tea such as green tea, black tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, white tea and many more. But do you know that all these kinds of tea are produced from the same plant called Camellia sinensis.
But it’s true.
The difference lies in the way the leaves of this plant are processed. It is the way of processing that gives the leaves of same plant, a distinctive flavor and color.
For instance, green tea is prepared when the plant leaves are partly withered. These party withered leaves are plucked and then heated to almost 200 degree Celsius. They are then rolled up to give them a proper shape and heated again. On the other hand, in preparing black tea, the leaves after being withered are not heated. They are heated only once after being rolled up.
So a different process gives a different flavor!
Now let’s have a look at how these different kinds of tea not only quench our thirst but also improve our health.
Healthy Teas you should drink
1. Green Tea
Green tea is the most popular and the healthiest brew on the planet. The withered leaves are dried and heated to prepare this tea. It contains around 25 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Popular types: Sencha, dragon well, and gunpowder
- It is rich in polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which are powerful antioxidants and prevent cancer and heart diseases.
- If you consume a cup of green tea daily, it can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by almost 10 percent.
- The presence of L-theanine and the small amount of caffeine improves the functioning of brain and makes you smarter.
- Boosts metabolism and burns extra fat in the body thus helping in weight-loss.
- It has a defending effect on neurons and thus reduces the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s( common neurodegenerative disorders).
- Lowers risk of Type II diabetes
2. Oolong Tea
Sometimes referred to as “Black Dragon” tea, it was greatly admired by Buddhist monks. It is quite similar to black tea but is fermented for a short time. One cup of oolong tea contains 30 milligrams of caffeine.
Popular types: Wu-Yi, Red Robe, and cassia
- It boosts metabolism and help in losing weight. “Oolong activates an enzyme responsible for dissolving triglycerides, the form of dietary fat that’s stored in fat cells,” says Baer.
- It is slightly antiseptic and aids in digestion.
- The high amounts of antioxidants present in it can prevent hair loss.
- It contains niacin, which helps in detoxifying the body.
- Stabilizes the blood sugar and prevents tooth decay.
- Prevents cellular damage and increase immunity.
3. White Tea
It is the nature’s greatest gift. It has a mild flavor because the young leaves are used to prepare it. The amount of caffeine present in a cup is about 15 milligrams.
Popular types: Silver needle and white peony
- It contains the highest antioxidant properties and its ultimate power lies in preventing disease and disorder.
- The antioxidants present in it give a healthy and a youthful skin. It also protects your skin from harmful UV rays.
- The presence of polyphenols prevents the growth of bacteria which causes plaque.
- Just like green tea, it also helps in preventing cancer like lung cancer.
4. Black Tea
It is the most common variety and accounts for about 75 percent of world-wide tea consumption. It is also processed from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plant which after fermenting are dried and crushed. It has the highest amount of caffeine. A cup of black tea contains about 40 milligrams.
Popular types: Keemun, Darjeeling, and chai
- It contains high amounts of antioxidants such as theaflavins and thearubigins, which lowers cholesterol level. According to the studies, three or more cups of black tea in a day reduce the risk of stroke by 21%.
- It contains polyphenols which block DNA damage caused by tobacco or other toxic chemicals.
- A research revealed that consumption of black tea on a regular basis reduces around 70% chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
- It improves the immunity levels and also acts as a stress buster.
5. Herbal Tea
Theoretically, herbal teas are not teas. They are actually a combination of dried fruits, flowers, and herbs. They do not contain caffeine.
Popular types: Chamomile, echinacea, cinnamon
- Laden with many health benefits, chamomile tea decreases the growth of cancer cells. It eases pain and gives a sound sleep.
- Cinnamon tea is simple to make and helps fighting viruses and maintaining blood sugar. It also helps in reducing weight and gives relief from menstrual cramps. Blended with other, this tea is a powerhouse.
- Ginger tea is perfect when you have a cold. It also stops nausea, reduces the pain of arthritis and rheumatism and lowers cholesterol.
- Feeling stressed? A cup of peppermint tea can give you peace at mind. It provides relief from severe cold and a stuffy nose.
A word of advice
Just like any other natural substance, there are certain components I the tea that can have harmful effects. The FDA, therefore has warned people to avoid the consumption of teas that contain ingredients like comfrey, ephedra, lobelia, willow bark, chaparral and germander.
To sum up:
People often criticized my choice of caffeinated drink such as tea. No doubt over-indulging can have a bad effect but having an extra cup of tea is not as bad as it seemed to be.
So ditch your soda and enjoy healthy teas!