Tea falls under the category of ‘aromatic beverages’. It is the most consumed drink all over the world. It is a much loved beverage because it can be enjoyed both hot and iced and we have different types of Teas, therefore can be enjoyed in different flavors and in any season. Healthy Tea has got much traction among masses and continue to win hearts all around the world.
To understand a little bit about its history, Tea originated in Southwest China. It was considered a medicinal drink due to the antioxidants present in it. Sometime during the Chinese Tang Dynasty, Tea came to be recognized as a recreational drink. Britishers started wide-spread commercialization of tea. All over the world ‘English Tea’, a blended version made of leaves obtained from Ceylon, Assam, and Kenya became very popular. Britishers in fact made tea a fashionable drink.
Tea is made using the leaves and leaf buds of a plant called Camellia Sinensis. Camellia sinensis have been used to treat conditions like asthma, angina pectoris, coronary artery disease to name few.
The composition of cemellia sinensis includes aluminum, iron, fluoride, oxalates, theanine, and caffeine.
There are different types of teas determined by the method used to process the tea leaves. Due to differences in processing technique, each category of tea consist of different antioxidant levels and provide different health benefits and flavours.
Types of Healthy Tea
Black tea accounts 75% of tea consumption around the world. Black tea is wilted and fully oxidized. It has a bitter taste and each cup of black tea contains around 40mg of caffeine. Black tea contains high amounts of thearubigins and theaflavins, properties which help in reduction of cholesterol levels. Black tea is also said to help reduce stroke by 21%. Black tea is reddish in color. English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and Afternoon Tea are popular brands of Black tea.
The leaves of white tea are harvested while they are still young due to which this type of tea has a mild flavour.The leaves are withered and wilted and then dried.
White tea has very less caffeine content which is about 15 mg per cup. White tea offers good health benefits like reducing risk of cancer, cardiovascular health issues, control of diabetes to name a few. Silver Needle is a popular white tea brand.
Green tea has become synonymous with its health-inducing benefits. This is because green tea is rich in an antioxidant called catechins which can prevent various diseases such as heart problems and cancer.The leaves of green tea are harvested and dried before they undergo heat treatment in order to halt fermentation. Green tea has a light flavour. According to study, one cup of green tea per day could decrease the chances of cardiovascular disease by as much as 10 %. A cup of green tea contains 25 mg of caffeine. Green tea is known to help reduce weight as it raises metabolism levels due to the presence of an Epigallocatechin gallate, a type of catechin.
Herbal tea is not considered to be a ‘real tea’ because it is made using dried herbs, flowers, and fruits and not out of the plant source camellia sinensis. Herbal tea doesn’t have any caffeine in it. Chamomile tea is a type of herbal tea. It is made from the flowers of chamomile plant. Herbal tea is made with fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds, or roots by pouring boiling water. The mixture is allowed to steep for few minutes before it is strained and served. Sometimes sweeteners are added to herbal tea.
Oolong tea is known for its rich and strong taste. It is also clear and fragrant. Oolong tea has the combined benefits of green and black tea. Like green tea it has many health benefits. Also, it is more suitable than black tea because of lesser amount of caffeine in it.
This type of tea is wilted, bruised and partially oxidized during processing. Each cup of oolong tea contains 30 mg of caffeine. Oolong tea contains enzymes that dissolve triglycerides found in cells of fat. As such, people who drink oolong tea burn more calories compared to those who don’t. In fact, this type of tea is more effective for weight loss than Green tea. Oolong tea has benefits for tooth and prevents tooth decay. This is because of the presence of the antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols present in the tea also help protect the skin from any damage that may be caused due to exposure to the sun.
Blue Blossom oolong tea, Darjeeling oolong tea, High Mountain oolong tea are some popular brands of oolong tea.
Other than the above types of teas, we also have many flavoured teas available in the market these days. Flavoured teas are made by combining the usual types of teas like black, green, and white with flavours of fruits, superfruits, herbs, and spices. Ginger tea is an example of flavoured tea. However, it is better to stay away from flavoured teas with artificial sweeteners.
Tea has numerous benefits yet it is important to exercise control to avoid some of its unpleasant side-effects. Excessive consumption of hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Men who drink seven or more cups of tea may develop prostate cancer. Caffeine an important component of tea causes negative side-effects like insomnia, increased heart rate, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and more.
The maximum number of tea per day is no more than five 1-cup servings per day, and it should be Tea that is low in caffeine.
Add jaggery instead of sugar to tea to avoid consumption of sucrose which causes health risks like diabetes.
Also, add one or two teaspoons of ground cinnamon to a hot cup of tea and get double the dose of antioxidants. This is because Cinnamon contains Polyphenols and is a wonderful spice with several health benefits like controlling blood sugar levels and increasing metabolic rate.