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Getting The Tea

Did you know that ‘Chai’ is the word for tea in Hindi? The most heartwarming drink and very common in different cultural traditions, tea spans thousands of years and millennia. It originated in southwest China as a medicinal drink and is now enjoyed in all parts of the world. This magnificent drink has been purported to cause rifts and wars between nations in the past, as empires strove to secure it for the consumption of the elite. Entire practices have been formed around tea ceremonies and tastings the world over as this highly coveted commodity keep growing in popularity. There are over 20,000 different teas in the world. The four types of tea from the Camellia sinensis plant are; White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, and Black tea, and all contain caffeine. The rest are variations depending on how they are processed or where they are grown. Herbal tea is applied to products that are steeped in a manner similar to tea but are not from the Camellia sinensis plant. These can include chamomile tea, peppermint tea, rooibos tea, lavender tea, hibiscus tea, ginger tea, and so on. Going back to its original value, tea lovers gather around, we will look at different types of teas and herbal teas and the benefits we obtain from them.

Black Tea

Black tea is the most oxidized of the Camellia sinensis plant and the most popular morning beverage in the world. Next to water, 80% of our global population drinks this beverage and for good reason:

 

  • Full of antioxidant properties
  • Promotes good heart and cardiovascular health
  • Reduces risk from chronic disease
  • Great for mental focus and clarity

 

Tea drinkers around, this beverage has a myriad of scientifically proven benefits. Drinking black tea on a daily basis, as well as incorporating other lifestyle modifications like stress management strategies, nutritionally rich foods and regular movement may benefit everyone and especially those with high blood pressure. The antioxidants known as polyphenols found in black tea promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria and hinders the growth of harmful bacteria like salmonella. This is helpful in maintaining good gut health. Other polyphenols, including catechins, theaflavins and the arubigins, may promote overall health and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and elevated cholesterol. They may also help prevent cancer cell survival by regulating cancer cell growth. Black tea contains flavonoids that can also be found in vegetables, fruits, red wine and dark chocolate. Consuming tea on a regular basis may help reduce many risk factors for heart disease, stroke and potentially reduce your risk of future health complications. Some of us like to add some sugar to sweeten our tea, however, too much sugar in the system has been shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Drinking unsweetened black tea has been found to help enhance the use of insulin in the body and effectively reduce blood sugar. If you find coffee too harsh on the system, black tea will provide you with a better-sustained caffeine supply. It contains an amino acid called L-theanine which increases alpha activity in the brain, that can help improve focus and alertness.

Green Tea

Flavors of green tea vary from region to region; with more grassy-flavored green teas coming from Japan, peachy and chocolaty teas from China and gunpowder flavors coming from Taiwan. Its health-boosting benefits:

 

  • Immune-boosting antioxidants
  • Weight management and reduced cholesterol
  • Improved brain function
  • Protection from cancers

 

Green tea was associated with royalty when it was first discovered in China and consumed as a luxury item. The green leaves are dried and steamed and do not undergo the process of oxidation to get that pale yellow to green hue once brewed. This more commonly accessible drink is a great alternative to coffee with much less caffeine and with the amino acid L-theanine which increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain. This combination helps to keep you alert, may boost brain function including mood, vigilance, reaction time, and memory as well as reduce the risk of dementia, a common neurodegenerative disorder in older adults. Green tea contains antioxidants in the form of catechins and its most powerful compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which gives it its medicinal properties that can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage and boosting your overall health. These same antioxidants in green tea have been found to lower the risk of breast, prostate and colorectal cancers and help you live longer than non-tea drinkers. In order to enhance your fitness levels, drink green tea to boost your metabolic rate and observe significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference, and belly fat as well as in bad cholesterol (LDL). All this is beneficial for great cardiovascular health. With so many benefits, it’s a no-brainer making this drink a regular part of your life.

Oolong Tea

Oolong teas can contain full branches with leaves and buds with light floral tones to cinnamon, toasted bread, ripe fruit, and caramel notes made from a combination of green and black tea leaves. Benefits:

 

  • Aids in weight loss
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves quality of  sleep
  • Improves gut microbiome

 

This partially oxidized tea has similar benefits to its green and black counterparts and then some. Along with caffeine, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and beneficial tea polyphenol antioxidants, Oolong tea has a higher antioxidative capacity than dark, white, black, or green teas. If you are looking to wind down after a long day, the amino acid theanine is responsible for the tea’s relaxing effect. The polyphenol antioxidants found in oolong tea are thought to help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity beneficial in the prevention of diabetes. Regularly consuming oolong tea may reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke. Speed up your metabolism and see increased weight loss as the compounds in this tea help to increase calorie burn when you move. The caffeine and antioxidants in oolong tea help with alertness as well as enhanced mood which leads to improved cognition, memory, executive function and information processing speed. Drinking oolong tea regularly may help in reducing the risk of ovarian, oral, lung, esophageal, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers. The positive effects of this tea on increasing bone mineral density is another reason to consider it as part of your daily beverage. It may also strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the formation of dental plaque. Relieve symptoms of eczema with this special drink as the polyphenol antioxidants work to provide long-lasting results.

Purple Tea

A genetic mutation of the Camellia sinensis plant causes the leaves of this tea to turn purple. Purple tea’s anthocyanins, composed of many phytochemicals, exhibit extraordinary health benefits:

 

  • Detoxifies and improves liver health
  • Prevents hair loss and improves scalp health
  • Anti-viral properties
  • Boosts cognitive function

 

Predominantly grown in the plains of Mt. Kenya and the Nandi hills, the unique hue of purple tea is where its strength lies. It contains anthocyanin, the same potent antioxidant found in blueberries and red grapes. It has a sweet woody flavor and a lovely light purple hue that can be enhanced when brewed with a splash of lemon juice. Want to maintain that youthful vitality? Purple tea benefits go well beneath the skin’s surface resulting in younger-looking skin and true wrinkle-fighting power. This goes even further by evening out the skin tone, oxygenating the skin, and serving as a tonic to soothe the scalp and aid with the prevention of hair loss. Drink your way to better health with this tea due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties that helps you fight off fevers, flu, and inflammation. It also contains more antioxidants than black and green tea, which may help prevent several types of cancer such as; breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, oral cancer, and tumor metastasis. These same antioxidants may help prevent the formation of chronic disease, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol (LDL), and diabetes. Purple tea contains a compound called delphinidin that helps control blood sugar and also contributes to improved eye health. It improves the metabolism of hepatic fat, which helps detoxify the liver. This, in turn, helps the body lose unwanted fat and other dangerous toxins in the body. Drink this amazing tea to enhance cognitive function and mood as well as reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. With lower caffeine than its counterparts drinking it will help you feel relaxed and will ease your nerves. Need any more proof?

White Tea

White tea undergoes the least processing, which helps in retaining high levels of phytochemicals. It has relatively low levels of caffeine and plenty of health benefits:

 

  • Protection against osteoporosis
  • Combat skin aging
  • Prevents the growth of bacteria
  • The powerful combination of antioxidants

 

It is prepared from immature or young buds covered in fine white hairs, which leads to a milder flavor of the brewed tea. This unique beverage is well known for its antioxidant properties such as polyphenols which help in cell neuroprotection. It aids in reducing the effects of free radicals and helps delay premature aging. This includes external damage from the sun’s UV rays and internal damage from cellular components that may harm the skin’s fiber network. White tea helps lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as helps the body burn fat and boost metabolism due to a combination of caffeine and catechins like EGCG. Adding white tea to your weight loss regime is a great way of shedding extra pounds. It contains compounds like tannins that help improve oral health as well as a great source of fluoride and catechins that strengthen teeth by fighting bacteria and sugar. Its anticancer properties may trigger cell death in several types of lung and colon cancers. Polyphenols found in white tea may help relax blood vessels, boost immunity and may help lower the risk of heart disease along with a healthy lifestyle. The powerful compounds found in white tea may lower the risk of osteoporosis by promoting bone growth and suppressing bone breakdown. As the least oxidized tea, EGCG, which is found in plenty in white tea, has been linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. White tea may lower the risk of insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control which is linked to many chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Consumption of white tea helps in protecting our body from infection-causing bacteria and other microorganisms and is used topically in skin-care products for the same reason.

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