The Truth About Tea and Learning to Love It
The Many Healthy Benefits of Drinking Tea
If I asked you which beverage is the most consumed in the world, excluding water, what would your answer be? Coffee? Soda? Beer? It may surprise you, but that honor belongs to none other than tea! Depending on where you live, you may be skeptical. After all, Americans love their coffee while Germans love their beer. While different countries have their preferences, it doesn't change the fact that tea is still the heavyweight champion in the beverage department and luckily for us, that's a good thing.
Although there have been many studies showing the benefits of drinking coffee or beer, tea is also good for your health for various reasons. Now, if you don't like drinking tea because it's too watered down or the taste is not to your liking, you are not alone. I personally hated drinking tea, I preferred soda or water (even though my mother was a huge tea drinker and constantly tried to make me drink it with her). After hearing about the many benefits of tea combined with my mother's continuous nudging, I made the decision to force myself to love drinking it. And guess what? You can do it too!
One way to make it easier to love tea is to understand the different kinds that exist and the benefits you can reap from drinking them. Knowing that your goal is for your own good will make it easier to continue drinking it, and believe me the payoff is amazing. A good way to start is by mixing it with milk, adding honey or cooling it off with ice cubes and adding sugar to it. These additions will help you get accustomed to the tea but remember: the final goal should be for you to be able to drink your tea with nothing added to it. I achieved this and now I can't get enough of it! Now, pick one of the many teas available and start your tea loving journey today!
Green tea is extremely popular in Asia and for good reasons. Green tea is the least processed of the teas; remember, all teas come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. What makes them different is how the leaves are processed and oxidized. This gives green tea a very delicate and nice flavor.
The benefits of green tea are considerable: it's packed with antioxidants such as polyphenols and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both which help protect your cells from damage. These antioxidants work hard by helping stimulate hair growth and leaves you with softer hair. Green tea also helps you lose weight due to it being calorie free, as well as helping lower your cholesterol levels, which in turn, helps your heart. In some cases, green tea revs up your metabolism, making weight loss easier to achieve. It also has catechins, which decrease inflammation, leaving you with younger looking and beautiful skin.
Caffeine wise, it's on the lower side of teas, with about 25mg per cup. Another type of green tea is macha tea, it's very popular in Japan and used in powder form. It has good amounts of Vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and selenium. This helps prevent disease but may not be the best choice for tea beginners due to its grassy taste.
Black tea is the most common type of tea and is fully fermented; it's also the tea with the highest caffeine content with about 40mg per cup. Black tea, like green tea, is also great for lowering your cholesterol levels. This is because it contains the antioxidants theaflavins and thearubigins, which helps your heart's health and even decreases your risk of having a stroke. Some reseach shows that the antioxidants in black tea can help prevent ovarian cancer, making it great for women to drink. If you're having problems with cavities, polyphenols will help kill the bacteria which causes cavities, leading to a healthier mouth. It also helps prevent that sticky plaque which appear on our teeth, so if you want a beautiful smile, black tea is for you!
Oolong is like a hybrid between black and green tea, this is because its leaves are partially oxidized. Since oolong tea is fermented for a shorter amount of time, it makes it taste richer than black or green tea. If you regularly find yourself stressed out, you'll find that drinking oolong tea will help reduce your stress levels by up to 18%! Unless you can't take caffeine, oolong tea will help your digestive track by reducing inflammation and also helps with stomach ulcers and acid reflux. A cup of oolong tea has about 30mg of caffeine.
White tea is a great one to begin with because it's one of the mildest tasting teas; this is because the leaves are picked very early on and they are unfermented. White tea will help eliminate free radicals in your body, which can lead to damaging your DNA, making it a great immune booster for your body. Many love drinking white tea because it helps relieve arthritis pain, so getting some loose white tea leaves for your grandparents as a gift would probably be highly appreciated. White tea also has the lowest caffeine levels with about 15 mg per cup.
Herbal Tea (Tea?)
You may have seen plenty of herbal teas at your market but I have news that may surprise you: herbal teas are not real teas! They are simply infusions of leaves, barks, fruit or roots in water. Even if they are not traditional teas, they can still have health benefits (although not nearly as much as the traditional teas listed above).
A popular herbal tea that is regularly used to help digestion and gas is peppermint tea. You'll also find that ginger tea can help quiet your upset stomach and motion sickness symptoms. Chamomile is a soothing and calming tea, usually reserved for right before bedtime and as a tool to help insomnia. Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and are a great source of Vitamin C, which helps your immune system work more efficiently.
If you've managed to make it to the bottom of this post, then I hope I've convinced you to go out and try a cup for yourself. Giving tea a chance and learning to love it will make you healthier and feel better overall, and really, what's better than that? Steeping and choosing the right temperature for tea can be tricky but with practice, you can become a master brewer. If you're already a tea lover like myself, tell me your favorite tea; mine is green! Happy drinking!