Tea certainly didn’t begin as an American thing, but we have enveloped the tea drinking tradition and have made it wildy popular as a society over the years. Legend has it that the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea in 2737 BC while boiling water under the shade of a tree. A slight breeze came along and caused some leaves to fall into the water, which the emperor tasted and found to be quite delicious. Through the ages, further experimentation has clearly revealed the natural health properties and benefits of tea from a simply delicious beverage to a powerful herbal tonic.
There are a bunch of “teas” on the market today, especially those weight loss and fit teas, but purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea the “real thing.” After taking a look at all of the tremendous health benefits of these teas, you will understand why!
This post is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice.
Tea #1: Black Tea
Black tea is the most common variety of tea and accounts for about 75% of global tea consumption! Like many of the teas here, it’s made from the leaves of the “Camellia Sinensis” plant, where it is then typically rolled and fermented, then dried and crushed.
Taste Factor: Is It My Cup Of Tea?: Black teas are stronger tasting teas that can be a little bitter. Most black varieties have a more deeper and richer flavor which can range from being malty, earthy, citrus-like, rocky, smoky, and even chocolaty.
Tea #2: Green Tea
I bet you have heard of green tea! It has a pretty well-deserving reptuation for health and wellness. This is all rightfully so, because green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. Some companies have turned green tea into a dollar sign and have added it to weight loss drugs and other stimulants on the market, but none of that is needed. This tea is amazing all on its own!
Taste Factor: Is It My Cup of Tea?: Green tea has a more delicate flavor than black. The leaves are dried and heat-treated soon after they’re picked, which stops the fermentation process
Tea #3: Oolong Tea
If you want to hit the “motherload” of healthy teas, go with Oolong. The health benefits of oolong tea are basically doubled because of the combined qualities of black tea and green tea. According to the Tea Association of the United States, oolong tea falls somewhere between green and black teas, as its leaves are only partially oxidized. oolong tea might very well be one of the most beneficial teas out there.
Taste Factor: Is It My Cup of Tea?: Very mild tasting. Some versions can be on the sweeter side and others can be more earthy.
Tea #4: White Tea
White tea contains nutrients and antimicrobial qualities that protect the body against occurrence of diseases. Green and black teas are equally beneficial but it is the white tea that undergoes less processing which helps in retaining high levels of phytochemicals. Due to minimal processing the production of white tea requires much lesser time and labor as computed to black tea or green tea production.
Taste Factor: Is It My Cup of Tea?: White tea is vaguely naturally sweet, slightly malty, almost like water after you have boiled pasta in it! It’s not bitter or acidic tasting.
Tea #5: Pu’erh tea
Pu’erh tea is a form of black tea which undergoes a special fermentation process – usually for 30 to 40 days, although sometimes for years or even decades – which gives it a unique flavor and some potential health benefits not present in other forms of tea. Pu’erh originates from the Yunnan province in China and has been prized for its health benefits for over 2,000 years. because it is fully oxidized, pu-erh has a lower antioxidant content than white or green tea, but Chinese people credit it with many health benefits.
Taste Factor: Is It My Cup of Tea?: A mellow taste with thick body. The good quality ripe pu-erh gives out a flavor like dried Chinese dates.
Top 5 Teas for Your Health: Health Benefits
Although the teas mentioned all have slight differences between them, they all promote much of the same truly amazing health benefits. So pick a tea that you like best and get your drink on!
Super Antioxidant Power – These top teas all have high concentrations of the antioxidant compounds known as theaflavins and thearubigins, which can prevent certain types of cancer. Black tea contains also contains polyphenols, which are also antioxidants that help block DNA damage associated with tobacco or other toxic chemicals. These antioxidants are different from those you get from fruits and vegetables and therefore as a regular part of our diet, they can provide additional benefits towards a healthy lifestyle. Green tea is full of antioxidants called catechins; a subgroup known as EGCG may ward off everything from cancer to heart disease.
Lower Cholesterol Levels – Black tea has been linked to lower levels of cholesterol in studies.
Heart Health– Research has shown that people who drink three or more cups of black tea daily may cut their risk of stroke by 21 percent. As identified by Arab L. et al. in their 2009 research paper called, “ Green and black tea consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis”, it is seen that regardless of people’s country of origin, individuals who consume 3 or more cups of tea had a 21% lower risk of a stroke than people who consume less than 1 cup of green or black tea per day.
Oral Health – Oral Health: Studies funded by the Tea Trade Health Research Association suggests that black tea reduces plaque formation as well as restricts bacteria growth that promotes the formation of cavities and tooth decay.
Lowers Risk of Diabetes – Based on a research study conducted of elderly people living in the Mediterranean islands it was discovered that people that had been consuming black tea on a long-term basis on a moderate level (i.e 1-2 cups a day) had a 70% lower chance of having or developing type 2 diabetes. Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes. When you have type 2 diabetes, your blood glucose levels are elevated. Studies have shown that those suffering from diabetes could also benefit from drinking oolong which, in studies, has decreased blood glucose to a healthy level. The antioxidants in oolong, which comes from polyphenols, does wonders for metabolizing sugar.
Stress Relief – Not only does black tea help slow you down after a long day, studiesshow that the amino acid L-theanine found in black tea can help you relax and concentrate better. Black tea has also been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol when consumed in moderate amounts on a regular basis.
Immune Booster – Black tea contains alkylamine antigens that help boost our immune response. It also contains tannins that have the ability to fight viruses and hence keep us protected from influenza, stomach flu and other such commonly found viruses in our everyday lives.
Brain Power – Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function. Also, the bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders.
Fitness Goals – If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there. This is because green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate, in human controlled trials.
Cancer Fighter – Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer. A meta-analysis of observational studies found women who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women . One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Boosts Metabolism & Aids Weight Loss – Oolong tea helps you burn fat faster by raising your metabolism for up to two hours after drinking it. Oolong also contains polyphenols that are able to block enzymes that build fat. This means you can lose weight with oolong tea, so long as you don’t load it with refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Lowers cholesterol – Oolong is known to reduce cholesterol levels and promote heart health. Because oolong tea is semi-oxidized, it produces a perfectly sized polyphenol molecule that is able to activate the enzyme lipase, which is known to dissolve body fat.
Helps The Belly – Oolong can help aid digestion for those not sensitive to caffeine. The tea alkalizes the digestive tract, reducing inflammation in those with acid reflux and ulcer problems. It is also mildly antiseptic which in turn can clear bad bacteria from your belly. Its calm, smooth flavor can soothe the stomach when consumed hot.
Skin & Aging – Eczema often occurs in conjunction with allergies or sensitivities. Oolong tea is able to suppress those allergic reactions because it combats free radicals, which is a healing property of an antioxidant. Also, the antioxidants found in oolong are essential for vibrant, healthy and young looking skin.
All Teas Are Not Created Equally
These teas are great, but like everything else on the market, they are not all created equally. There are cheap brands that won’t offer as much benefit to your health and other ones and the cheaper brands have even been said to have high levels of fluoride when brewed, which we want to steer clear of. Here are a few of my recommendations:
Oolong Tea: Oolong Tea.org
Green Tea: Hibikian
White Tea: Rishi Tea
Pu’erh Tea: Rishi Tea
Everybody loves tea, right!? Now that you have discovered all of the amazing health benefits of these 5 teas, you have dozens more reasons to get sipping! What is your favorite type of tea??