It is tea time somewhere in the world right about now. That late afternoon ritual to stop your hectic day for a bit and refresh with a cup of tea and conversation. The Brits may have started the custom, but they certainly are not the only ones who are high consumers of tea. Although the charts vary on this, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Ireland top the list of highest consumers of tea. And well they should because tea is brimming with numerous health advantages.
WHAT IS YOUR CUP OF TEA?
All teas carry some level of health benefits but depending on how the tea leaves are processed largely determines to what degree. All teas stem from the same plant: Camellia sinensis.
Below are the four main types of tea most commonly offered worldwide. The many flavored teas on the market all originate from these four. (For example, Chai is a black tea flavored with cardamom and other spices.) So, lift that pinkie and fill your cup to the many health rewards listed below:
- Black Tea: This tea is the most common and most consumed and contains a higher caffeine count. Several cups a day could lower stroke risk and your cholesterol with high concentrations of several antioxidant compounds.
- Green Tea: The much paler and delicate tea with a tinge of green has a lower caffeine rate but loaded with EGCG, which has been called a cancer fighter and heart disease deterrent. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of cancers of the bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreas, and colon. It may even prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, and reduce the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- Oolong Tea: This tea, much like black tea, could aid in weight loss a bit. It can contain high levels of antioxidants and can trigger enzyme activity that dissolves triglycerides, a form of dietary fat.
- White Tea: For such a delicate flavor, it sure carries a heavy load. In fact, one study showed that white tea has the highest anticancer properties compared to more processed teas. It offers the same studied cardiovascular rewards as other teas as well. Animal studies also show an additional possible benefit of improving glucose tolerance and reducing LDL cholesterol.
3 OTHER TEAS TO TRY FOR GOOD HEALTH
- Pu-erh Tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves, this black tea has devotees that say it has helped deter weight gain and reduced their LDL cholesterol.
- Herbal Tea: If you must call them tea, then do, but technically herbal teas are not made from the tea plant so it only makes sense that they do not share the health benefits of real tea. Depending on the herb that is being steeped, other types of benefits can be shared with herbal teas such as peppermint tea calming a stomach.
- Yerba Mate Tea: Another “tea” imposter as this is made by steeping the ground leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant in South America. This smokey and rather woody tasting tea is distinct. It is a central nervous system stimulant containing caffeine, but it also contains a number of other nutrients, including antioxidants, amino acids, as well as vitamins and minerals. The jury is still out on this tea, however, as some studies are pointing to an association with higher rates of cancer for those who consume large quantities of it.
WHICH IS BEST: LOOSE OR BAGGED TEA?
Tea purists will tell you loose has it in the bag. The tea in tea bags primarily contain the bits and leftover specks of dust that do not provide the full flavor a loose tea preparation allows.
If you must bag, though, these bags* allow you to load your own and could be a bridging alternative to better flavor while keeping the mess of loose tea at bay.
HOW TO BREW LOOSE TEA THE BEST WAY
Watch this for great tips on how to brew loose tea and get it right:
Do you have a favorite tea or brand to share? Please share in the comments!
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