What you may not know about tea…

You’ve heard a lot about tea, and you may have images of dress-up tea parties and fancy tea houses swirling around your definition of the word.

But did you know that all teas come from the same tree? All leaves come from the Camellia sinensis tree, but the way the leaves are dried determines the different types of tea. These types each have their own specific benefits that may help your body feel better and help you reach your health goals.

BLACK TEA

  • Health Benefits:
    Many people think that black tea is the worst for your health, but this tea has many overlooked health benefits.First, black tea contains many flavanoids, an antioxidant, that help to lower LDL cholesterol, lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack.Black tea, with only one-fifth the caffeine of coffee, can still boost energy This low amount of caffeine increases blood flow to the brain without increasing heart rate, sustaining energy without the crash of coffee.
  • Drying Process:
    The tea leaves for black tea are withered for several hours then rolled to start releasing the sugars necessary for fermentation. Fermentation means the leaves are left in a humid environment to transform their flavor and color. This process also makes black tea more aromatic than green tea.
  • Preparation:
    The best way to prepare all teas is to bring water to a boil and then let it cool to the correct temperature. The correct temperature for black tea is 200° F. Steep the tea leaves (1 tsp/ 8oz) for 2-3 minutes.

OOLONG TEA

  • Health Benefits:
    Oolong tea is less familiar, but it is still worth including in your diet. A study done in Japan proved that polyphenol, a chemical compound found in Oolong tea, reduces stress up to 20% in regular drinkers of oolong tea.All teas contain antioxidants that lower the risk of skin cancer, but the polyphenol compound in oolong tea specifically fights types of stomach cancer. It also combats type 2 diabetes, bone loss, and various skin problems.Oolong tea also increases energy, but not through its caffeine content. While it does contain some caffeine, the polyphenol compound found in oolong tea speeds up metabolism, aiding in weight loss. One study showed that participants who drank oolong tea lost more weight compared to the participants only drinking water.
  • Drying Process:
    Oolong tea combines the technique for making green tea and black tea to produce the best elements of both. The tea leaves are only withered for around 20 minutes, then they are lightly bruised to begin breaking down the enzymes and left to ferment. Next, the leaves are pan-fired, rolled and dried.The process, similar to green tea, allows oolong to keep many of its antioxidants, but the withering gives the tea its dark color and fruity aroma, like green tea.
  • Preparation:
    The water temperature for brewing oolong tea leaves is 185° F and they should steep for 2-3 minutes. Because of the full flavor of this tea, the leaves can be steeped more than once.

WHITE TEA

  • Health Benefits:
    Because white tea is the least processed, it retains many of its antioxidants and polyphenols. A study by Pace University shows that the tea fights infection and protects your immune system because of these antioxidants. White tea also contains fluoride, preventing dental plaque and tooth decay.
  • Drying Process:
    The white tea leaf is plucked from the tea tree when it is still immature, usually when the bud has just begun to open, giving the leaf its white color. This tea is the least processed because instead of withering and crushing the leaf, it is only steamed and then dried without rolling. This gives the tea its delicate flavor and light color.
  • Preparation:
    The water for white tea should be 175° F. Because of the light flavor of the tea, try adding 2 teaspoons of tea to every 8 oz for a fuller flavor. The tea leaves should be steeped for 4-5 minutes, but some flavors only need 1 minute, so check the packaging for specific instruction.

GREEN TEA

  • Health Benefits:
    Green tea recently became famous for its many health benefits. Some people even claim it’s a miracle tea that will cure cancer. While it may not cure cancer, the antioxidants in green tea, catechins, seek out and fight compounds that cause damage to DNA and eventually cause cancer.Women with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer participated in a Japanese study of green tea. The results showed that green tea lowered the possibility of recurrence of the cancer.These catechins also prevent cell death, which often lead to the signs of aging. By drinking 4 cups a day, you can slow down the signs of aging in your body.Green tea also helps the heart with its many antioxidants. Antioxidants make the blood more flexible, or slightly thinner, preventing blood clots and heart disease.
  • Drying Process:
    Green tea leaves are withered and then heated in a pan. This tea is not fermented, preventing the loss of the antioxidants. Finally, the leaves are rolled and dried. Even though white tea is the least processed of the teas, green tea keeps most of its antioxidants by skipping the fermentation step.
  • Preparation:
    Green tea should be steeped in water at 165°F for only 2 minutes.

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