The truth about teas. Let’s get right down to business on this one. Tea is great for you. For over 4,000 years people have been drinking tea strictly for its health benefits and in countries (like China) where tea is consumed excessively, they have lower rates of heart disease and most types of cancer! Now, there is some confusion on which tea is best to drink. Well that all depends on what you’re looking for it to do. Here’s the breakdown of some different types of tea and their benefits.
The first group is made up of the “true teas” from the plant Camellia Sinensis each one goes through a different process to produce the varieties as we know them.
- White Tea is uncured and unprocessed and therefore has the highest concentration of cancer fighting anti-oxidants.
- Green Tea is high in anti-oxidants and in fact has been shown to fight and prevent several types of cancer as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Green tea also helps with weight management and mental alertness.
- Oolong Tea comes from the same plant as green and white tea but goes through a slight fermentation process that increases the caffeine level but slightly lowers the anti-oxidant levels. It is, however very effective at aiding in weight management as well as reducing bad cholesterol levels.
- Black Tea is again, the same tea, but fermented for a longer period of time. This tea’s health benefits are extensive including protecting the lungs from damage caused by cigarette smoke as well as preventing stroke and heart disease. The caffeine content in black tea is the highest of all the teas.
The second group, known as herbal teas, are not true teas in that they are not made of tea leaves. They are simply brews made from dried botanicals and could be made from soaking any plant in hot water (although I don’t recommend doing so.) There are many herbal teas out there and some are beneficial I’m sure. Below, however are listed the ones that I have seen the most benefit from personally.
- Hibiscus tea has been shown to alleviate blood pressure levels when consumed in moderation but should not be consumed excessively without consulting your physician.
- Chamomile tea is widely regarded as having de-stressing properties, as well as reducing the risk for certain types of cancer, complications from diabetes, kidney damage, nerve damage and vision loss.
- Dandelion root tea has been known to be helpful to the entire body but most specifically the liver and gallbladder and has actually in some cases helped with chronic hepatitis.
Herbal teas generally do not contain caffeine.
- Yerba Mate is one of the most beneficial teas in the world. It is one of the few that is actually nutritious in addition to being full of anti-oxidants. This tea contains 24 vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A, C, E, several B vitamins Calcium,Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium and Potassium as well as additional nutritional compounds such as Carotene, Tannins, Amino Acids and Fatty Acids. Plus the mateine and caffeine content combined with nutrients gives you a longer lasting pick-me-up with less of a crash than caffeine alone.
There are some teas that I would recommend staying away from. Many “dieter” teas are simply herbal and sometimes chemical laxatives, which I promise is not a pleasant, practical or healthy long term diet plan. Also, decaffeinated tea is usually processed through the same paint remover chemicals that decaffeinate coffee. Unless the tea specifies being naturally decaffeinated, don’t drink it.
So there it is, friends. The low down on tea. Try to drink at least one cup a day, although I recommend drinking much, much more. Remember not to sweeten it with artificial sweeteners or processed sugars. If you can drink it unsweetened, all the better. So, sit down, relax and have a cup of tea.