Drinking Tea for Health
Drinking tea has become popular again recently. When I was growing up we used to think of tea as “grandma's” drink but now it’s new and trendy with just as many tea shops popping up as coffee shops. Tea has a history stretching back thousands of years and with many quality brews comes many quality nutrients that your body can benefit from.
Tea is an infusion of dried leaves of a camellia bush. The basic preparation of dried mature leaves is green tea. Freeing enzymes in the cells of the tea leaves produces darker teas, transforming simple phenol's into more complex ones.
The main varieties of tea include the ever popular black, green and oolong but there are also white tea varieties, yellow as well as pu-erh. The main varieties of tea are determined by the maturity of the leaves when picked. It also depends on how much and how long the tea has been processed.
- Black Tea – These leaves have withered, been rolled an are left to ferment for several hours before firing and drying.
- Green Tea – Mature leaves are steamed, or pan fired to deactivate enzymes. This prevents fermentation so that the leaves can be rolled and dried without oxidation.
- Oolong Tea – These tea leaves are semi-fermented. It is made from withered mature leaves that are bruised and oxidized for a short time before being pan fired and dried.
- White Tea – The buds or very young leaves are used in this variety. They are steamed to deactivate the enzymes so that only a slight fermentation takes place before the leaves are dried.
- Yellow Tea – Mature leaves are pan fired, lightly rolled and dried. They are allowed to partially ferment after heating and then are dried some more.
- Pu-erh Tea – Sometimes referred to as “Dark Tea”, it, like yellow tea, undergoes a secondary fermentation after heating and rolling but for an even longer period of time.
What about herbal teas? Herbal teas are actually “infusions” referred to sometimes as tisane. They are made from infusions of herbs, spices or fruit extracts in hot water. They can be taken hot or cold and do not contain caffeine.
What’s Healthy About Tea?
The health benefits of tea are numerous but not always proven by science...yet. Like I stated in the beginning, tea has been around for thousands of years and used for many varieties of uses. The studies we do have on tea show there are compounds, vitamins and minerals that can contribute to our health. Some of these include phenols called catechins that are found in green tea. When enzymes are released to make darker varieties of teas these catechins are converted to theaflavins. There are flavonoids in tea that are thought to have antioxidant and immune boosting properties. The catechins, the most prevalent type of phenol flavonoids in green tea may be anti-carcinogenic. Tea also contains theanine which is a relaxant amino acid. Vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin B2 along with folic acid and vitamin E are also found in tea. Saponins are compounds which are said to help lower blood pressure and even fight tooth decay. Tea is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium as well as a whole host of other trace minerals. Finally, there are xanthine derivatives like theobromine (also found in coffee and chocolate) and caffeine which are stimulants.
Brewing the perfect cup of tea can be an art and a science. The final brew should be slightly acidic with a pH close to 5. White tea is the easiest with short brewing times and cooler water. Herbal tea takes the longest to infuse all the goodness into the water with brew times of 3 to over five minutes in water temperatures close to boiling.
There are specific teas that can help with specific nutritional needs. Are you dealing with inflammation, do you need to lose weight? If you are stressed there are even teas to help calm you and help you sleep. Want to learn more and get even healthier? Would you like to improve your health with nutrition and holistic practices? Curious about how health coaching can help you reach your personal goals? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. I work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!