It is the world’s most sought after beverage with statistics indicating that an estimated 160 million American drink tea on any given day. That begs the question, what’s with this drink that can be served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, on any occasion?
For starters, tea is linked with an array of health benefits ranging from the ability to increase mental alertness, lowering cholesterol, encouraging weight loss and reducing the intensity of ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. The truth is, tea there are very few if any downsides to tea.
Even though it’s not known how long you need to steep tea to maximize on its health benefits, and how much you need to drink, dietitians concur that any tea is good. Still, they recommend brewed teas over bottled, primarily to avoid sweeteners and extra calories.
To help you derive the most benefits from your cup of tea here is an overview of different types of teas and their health benefits.
Black tea contains the highest level of caffeine and is the primary content of sweetened and instant teas. Of all teas, black tea is the most popular, accounting for 75% of the world’s tea consumption. One cup of black tea contains about 40 milligrams of caffeine.
Black tea is full of antioxidant compounds called theaflavins and thearubigins. Both compounds are said to have properties that can lower cholesterol levels. Repeated research indicates that drinking black tea on a regular basis can lessen the likelihood of lung damage as a result of smoking. Additionally drinking at least three cups of black tea every day can reduce stoke risk by 21%.
Made using steamed tea leaves, green tea has a relatively delicate flavor in comparison to black tea. One cup of the tea contains about 25 milligrams of caffeine.
Green tea boasts a high concentration of a compound called EGCG that is linked to helping with a variety of health benefits from warding off cancers such as pancreatic, lung, stomach and breast cancer. The high levels of antioxidants in green tea may help lower the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, stroke, as well as clogging of the arteries. Drinking two to three cups of green tea every day may help improve your cholesterol levels.
An animal study established that oolong tea might reduce high levels of bad cholesterol thanks to its antioxidant concentration. Wuyi, a type of oolong tea, is said to help in losing weight due to its ability to activate an enzyme that dissolves triglycerides, the form of dietary fat stored in fat cells. One study showed that women who drink Wuyi burned more calories over a two hour period in comparison to those who drink water only.
One cup of oolong tea contains about 30 milligrams of coffee.
This is the least processed form of tea and has a milder flavor in comparison to other types of tea. One cup contains about 15 milligrams of caffeine.
According to the findings of a study carried out at Kingston University London and published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, drinking white tea can help preserve the skin’s natural elastin and collagen. Some studies suggest it can help manage diabetes while an animal study published in the journal Phytomedicine established at White tea can reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
Flavored teas such as orange peel, lavender and cinnamon are combined with black, white or green tea leaves.
Flavored teas may have the same concentration of antioxidants and health benefits as unflavored types, but those mixed with fruits such as blueberries may contain slightly more antioxidants. But, forget the flavored tea in bottles. Go for the varieties with no sugar additives because sweetened tea drinks are typically watered down. In essence, it means that you may have to drink up to twenty bottles of flavored tea to get the same amount of antioxidants you would get in a single brewed cup.
Technically, these are not teas but a mixture of dried fruits, herbs, and flowers. Take note that herbal teas contain no caffeine.
While there has been less research on herbal teas compare to other types of traditional teas, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that drinking at least two cups of hibiscus tea every day can help lower blood pressure. Besides, there is proof that chamomile tea may improve sleep and peppermint tea may enhance bowel movements.
Made using fermented and aged leaves, Pu-erh tea is considered a black tea and its leaves are pressed into cakes. According to the findings of an animal study, the tea can help in weight loss and reduction of LDL cholesterol.
• Be sure to store your teas in an airtight plastic jar to preserve aroma and flavor
• Loose teas are of higher quality in comparison to tea bags. Nonetheless, most people prefer tea bags due to the convenience, ease of use and the fact that there is a wide selection.
• You’re better off with organically produced tea as they are not tainted with herbicides and pesticides.
Over the years, there has been a lot of research on tea in a bid to discover its many health benefits. Some researchers have even suggested that tea can be a good alternative to coffee because of the less caffeine and well-established compounds that are safe for human health. That said, grab a cup of coffee today, it’s good for your overall well-being.