Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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What’s the Healthiest Kind of Tea?


For years tea got a bad press. If it was ordinary black tea it was bad for you and could dehydrate you (a myth that turned out to be false) and herb teas were viewed with suspicion, with some doctors declaring them a fad at best or dangerous to health at worse, so what is the truth about tea and is there a healthier variety you can try?

People have been studying the health benefits of tea since some tea leaves famously fell into Emperor Shennong’s cup of boiled water almost 5,000 years ago, turning it brown. Inquisitively, he tasted the liquid and liked the refreshing taste and so the world’s very first cup of tea was made. Shennong, a health nut, had insisted his water was boiled to prevent illness and there began a thousands of years debate over the health properties or pitfalls of tea.

Why is Tea Good for You?

Tea is good for you because it is abundant in catechins, polyphenols that are powerful antioxidants and part of the flavonoid family. These help in the fight against the free radicals that cause aging and disease and can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cancers. Teas also contain caffeine which reduces tiredness and heightens your concentration, making it a great drink to have when at work. The general rule of thumb is, the less processed the tea is, the more catechins it contains so green teas are better for you than black or oolong teas. How you drink your tea can also have an impact.

White Tea

This is one of the most pure teas as it has not been cured or fermented and is in its natural state. White tea can kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. The Department of Biology at Pace University in New York City found that white tea destroys microorganisms responsible for strep, staph and pneumonia. It boosts the immune system and regular consumption may reduce the need for antibiotics. It contains the most polyphenols than any other kind of tea.

Green Tea

This tea has attracted much attention from the medical community. It is a powerful anti-cancer remedy which is probably why people in Japan have a lower rate of cancers compared with western countries. Green tea has been shown to have cancer busting effects in breast malignancies, inhibiting tumor growth so that women who drank the most tea had the least spread of cancer. Women who drank five cups or more every day were also less likely to have a re-occurrence of their cancer once they had been given the all clear.

Ovarian cancer patients, who have a poor prognosis due to the late stage at which the disease is normally discovered, can survive longer if they drink green tea, according to Chinese researchers and men with bladder cancer had a greater chance of a five year survival rate compared with men who didn’t drink the tea. Its anti-inflammatory properties protect the skin and may prevent the development of skin cancers. Women fans of the tea slash their risk of getting pancreatic cancer by 50%! The refreshing beverage can also reduce unpleasant symptoms in inflammatory bowel disease, help you burn fat and lose weight, regulate blood sugar levels and even prevent type one diabetes.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is made from the buds, stems and leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, the same plant used to cultivate both black and green teas. It is partially fermented, which makes the difference. Oolong tea improves mental alertness and can lower levels of bad cholesterol. One study showed it halved the rate of ovarian cancer in women who drank it.

Pu-erh Tea

This tea is made with fermented leaves that have been aged and then pressed into cakes. It has been shown to control weight gain and reduce bad cholesterol so for this reason it is often used as a slimming and detox tea.

Black Tea

The most commonly consumed cup of tea, loved around the world since the Boston Tea Party, when a tax put on coffee led people to drink tea instead. Black tea reduces fatigue, has less caffeine than coffee and still contributes to your hydration. Tea phenols protect against fractures by strengthening bones. UCLA researchers also say that drinking at least three cups of black tea per day can reduce the risk of having a stroke by 21%. This discovery excited the team because strokes occur so fast and can do so much damage that treatment is difficult. A simple and cheap prevention is a far better alternative.

Black tea can also prevent the damage to the lungs that is caused by cigarette smoking so scientists suggest that smokers regularly drink black tea to detox. Don’t put milk in your tea, though. The casein in it will stick to the polyphenols and prevent them from their antioxidant action. If you’ve been drinking your milky brew for years and you haven’t noticed any benefits, that’s probably why. There’s also another way you can ruin a perfectly good health beverage: sugar.

Pearl Milk Tea

Pearl milk tea or ‘bubble’ tea is another example of a tea that could be good – or not – depending on how it is prepared. Bubble tea is a cold black or green tea with sugar, milk and tapioca pearls to fill you up. Some teas are fruit flavored and have natural fruit or artificial flavorings in them. This drink is loaded with calories and enough sugar to send you into a coma – not good for weight control, diabetes or heart disease. You can have a healthier bubble tea by doing without the pearls, asking for less or no sugar and opting for natural fruit instead of fruit syrups. You can also ask for low fat milk.


this is a guest post by Helen Pratt
photo credit: americanpregnancy.org


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1 comment:

  1. very informative post for me as I am always looking for new content that can help me and my knowledge grow better.

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