When I was young I associated tea with old people (donâ€™t judge, my grandparents drank copious amounts of the stuff). Later, I began to think of Jane Austen novels and British scones every time I saw someone sipping from a tea cup. It wasnâ€™t until recently that I began to correlate tea with health. And lately, my eyes (and taste-buds) have been opened to the wonderful world of tea and its many surprising benefits.
Hereâ€™s what Iâ€™ve learned so far:
Types of Tea
- Green - a quickly dehydrated form of tea. Because the tea is quickly dried it doesnâ€™t have time to oxidize and thus loose its many health properties (such as anti-aging antioxidants). Consequently, green tea is one of the healthiest forms of tea.
- Black - a tea made from leaves that are allowed to oxidize. This means that black tea contains less antioxidants, but has a distinctly robust and rich flavor.
- Oolong - a tea that is between green and black when it comes to oxidation time. Oolong comes in a variety of flavors and levels of oxidation.
- White - a type of tea that is made from tea leaf buds that are picked before fully bloomed. White tea contains the highest amount of antioxidants and is often the most expensive type of tea.
- Herbal - although itâ€™s found in the same section of the supermarket as green, black, oolong, and white, herbal tea is not actually tea at all! Herbal tea is made from roots, seeds, flowers, herbs, and plants, as opposed to being made from the tea bush (Camellia Sinensis).
Health Benefits of Tea
- antioxidants - these substances are found naturally in tea and have remarkable anti-aging properties.
- cancer prevention - teaâ€™s antioxidant properties have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
- boosted immune system - research indicates that tea helps cells to better fight off infection.
- stronger bones - studies show that tea drinkers have stronger bones than non-tea drinkers.
- reduced risk of heart attack and stroke - tea helps to keep arteries clear and and reduces the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body.
- weight loss - tea increases metabolic rate, fat oxidation, and energy expenditure.
- cleaner teeth - sugar-free tea contains tannins and fluoride that help to reduce plaque.
- increase of alertness - tea contains a special amino acid, L-theanine, that has been shown to work in the brain to create a sense of calm alertness.
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