Tea 101: Overview & Health Benefits
Dipping your toes into the world of tea can be overwhelming. Like with coffee, it seems like there is an endless variety of flavors and options. We’ll get into more detail in upcoming posts, but for now, here’s a quick look at the basic categories of teas:
TEA FROM THE EVERGREEN BUSH ‘CAMELLIA SINENSIS’
Fully oxidized, black teas are robust and full-bodied with strong flavor. Black teas have the highest level of caffeine and are the basis for a lot of chai teas and some instant teas. Black teas have displayed evidence of protecting lungs from the damage of cigarette smoke and reduce the risk of stroke.
Basket-tossed and pan-fried to stop oxidation, oolong teas are rare and flavorful with a light body and floral aroma. Packed full of antioxidants, oolong teas are found to lower bad cholesterol levels. Some varieties of oolong tea have even been marketed as a weight loss supplement.
Steamed, baked, or fried to prevent oxidation, then processed uniquely, green teas are crisp and fresh, delicate and refreshing. The health benefits of green tea are numerous. Green teas can help you burn fat, prevent the clogging of arteries, reduce the risk of stroke, improve cholesterol levels and interfere with the growth of many cancers.
The least processed variation with low caffeine content and high antioxidants. White teas have a gentle flavor and sweet finish. Recent studies have shown white teas have the most anticancer effects when compared to other processed teas.
China’s mystery tea, pu-erh is finished tea subjected to a secondary fermentation process, endowing it with a distinctive rich character. One study showed animals given pu-erh gained less weight and had reduced LDL cholesterol.
Traditional South American herb containing caffeine served alone or with other herbs. Yerba-Maté is vegetal and an invigorating infusion! It’s a healthy source of vitamins, including: A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5 and B Complex.
Caffeine free, South African red bush and herbals. Rooibos are nutty, slightly sweet and packed with antioxidants. Health studies have been limited on this variety, however, it does have flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties.
Herbal blends are mixtures of herbs, roots, flowers, spices, fruits or seeds. They are caffeine free and can be uplifting or calming and always aromatic.