Health Benefits of Tea
For thousands of years, the East has regarded tea as a key to wisdom, happiness and good health. In recent years, researchers based in the West have started to analyze the various properties of tea in an effort to discover the multitude of health benefits that it can provide. There have been studies performed that indicate certain types of teas can be beneficial to people suffering from diabetes, heart disease and cancer. With obesity already an epidemic in the United States, researchers were happy to discover that tea can help to promote weight loss. Tea also has the ability to enhance mental alertness and lower a person's cholesterol level. There are recent studies that have revealed antimicrobial qualities in tea.
Based on the research that has been performed so far at various respected facilities around the world, there does not seem to be any downside to drinking tea. Science has proven that flavonoids, the compounds contained in tea, may reduce the free radicals that cause cancer and are excellent for the heart. Flavonoids have also been shown to unblock clogged arteries. The general consensus among scientists and professionals in the healthcare industry is that people should avoid drinking bottled teas. This is because they contain a large amount of sweeteners and calories. Instead, people should drink brewed teas.
Tea is a name that is given to a multitude of different brews. However, many people consider pu-erh tea, white tea, green tea, oolong tea and black tea to be the only real types of Chinese tea. All of these five teas are derived from the Camellia sinensis. This is a shrub that can be found in India and China. Each type of Chinese tea contains varying amounts of theanine and caffeine. Both of these affect the human brain and are believed to heighten a person's mental alertness. As the tea leaves are processed to a greater degree, they contain a lower amount of polyphenol and flavonoids. Black and oolong teas are both fermented and oxidized. Therefore, they contain a lower polyphenol concentration than green tea. However, they both still have a considerable antioxidizing power.
The specific way in which the leaves are processed following their harvesting will determine which type of Chinese tea is produced. There are various methods of processing the leaves that are capable of giving them their own unique flavor and color, even though they all come from the same plant.
Let's take a look at some different types of tea and the specific health benefits that each one provides:
1. Black tea
Black tea is the most popular type of tea. 75 percent of the tea consumed around the world is of the black variety. In order to make black tea, the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are first rolled and fermented. Following this process, they are dried and crushed. There is a slightly bitter flavor contained in black tea. It has the highest amount of caffeine of all types of tea, which could account for its great popularity. Black tea contains roughly 40 milligrams of caffeine per cup, compared to 50-100 milligrams for a cup of coffee.
Antioxidant compounds called thearubigins and theaflavins can be found in high concentrations in black tea. These have been linked to reducing a person's cholesterol level. There has also been studies indicating that individuals who drink at least three cups of black tea every day have a 20 percent less chance of suffering a stroke. One of the health benefits of black tea that has only recently gained the attention of the medical community is its ability to protect lungs from the harmful side effects caused by prolonged exposure to the smoke from cigarettes. Since tests in this area are relatively new, more data is being compiled to determine how long a person's lungs will be protected.
2. Green tea
There is a more delicate flavor contained in green tea than there is in black tea. After the leaves are picked, they are immediately dried and heat-treated. This method brings the fermentation process to a halt. 25 milligrams of caffeine per cup are contained in green tea.
There are many antioxidants known as catechins contained in green tea. There is also a subgroup called EGCG that has been shown to help fight heart disease. A study was conducted that showed evidence that simply drinking a single cup of green tea on a daily basis can provide people with a 10 percent less chance of developing cardiovascular disease. The antioxidants contained in green tea are thought to be helpful in preventing the growth of colorectal, stomach, breast, pancreatic, lung and bladder cancers. They can also help to burn fat, making green tea popular among people who are trying to lose weight. Green tea has also shown to lower the risk of various neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. As if that wasn't enough benefits, green tea can also help to lower a person's level of cholesterol and decrease their chances of suffering a stroke.
3. Oolong tea
Oolong tea has some distinct similarities to black tea. However, oolong tea has a taste that is much richer than black tea. This is caused by the fact that oolong is fermented for a much shorter period of time. There are 30 milligrams of caffeine in every cup of oolong tea.
Research has been conducted that shows scientific evidence that oolong tea can help people to lose weight. This is because oolong tea has the ability to activate an enzyme that causes triglycerides to dissolve. This is the type f dietary fat that is contained inside of fat cells. A study indicated that when women consumed oolong tea, they were able to burn a greater amount of calories during a period of two hours than other women who drank water during the same period of time.
4. White tea
The picking of white tea leaves occurs when they are very young. This provides white tea with a flavor that is significantly more mild that all of the other types of tea. This also reduces the level of caffeine to only 15 milligrams per cup, the lowest amount of any tea. Tea that is loose could possibly have a larger amount of antioxidants than tea that is placed in bags. This is a result of the leaves not being processed as much.
The health benefits of white tea have been widely known in China for centuries. However, they have only recently started to be studied in other regions of the world. White tea is considered to be excellent at health multitasking. It contains the identical cancer-fighting and cardiovascular benefits as other varieties of tea. As a result of white tea leaves only being minimally processed once they have finished being harvested, this allows them to retain the vast majority of the antioxidants that occur within them. These antioxidants can help your body to fight inflammation, lower the chances of you getting a chronic disease, make your immune system strong and keep it functioning properly. White tea contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities. This means that it has the ability to deactivate bad fungi, viruses and bacteria. However, there is also research to suggest that it can provide benefits to individuals suffering from diabetes. According to a study conducted on animals, the drinking of white tea lowered LDL cholesterol and improved tolerance to glucose. There are many respected scientists who believe these results could one day have implications for people.
5. Pu-erh tea
The distinct deep and rich flavor is a trademark of pu-erh tea. Some people compare the flavor to mushrooms. Coffee drinkers often prefer this type of tea. People in Hong Kong and China will frequently drink it during and after a meal that is particularly greasy or heavy. Leaves are aged for as many as 15 years in order for them to develop the proper dark color and flavor that people who drink this type of tea are looking for. The fermentation process for pu-erh is the slowest out of all the types of tea. However, there was a processing method known as "shou" that was invented in the 1970s that enabled the fermentation process to be sped up considerably.
According to traditional Chinese herbalism, this type of tea is thought to be able to benefit digestion and clean the blood. It is also believed to assist in the calming of the stomach and opening the meridians. These are the primary reasons that this specific type of tea is consumed after heavy meals in various parts of Asia. It is also used to cure a hangover or to prevent a hangover from occurring in the first place. There are studies that show evidence that pu-erh tea can increase a person's metabolism, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol.