Tea is a widespread name given to anything really that is jiggled in hot water but purists only consider the black, green, white, oolong and Pu-erh to be ridgy didge. The tea leaves are derived from a plant native to China and India and contain antioxidants called flavonoids which can help fight against free radicals in the body. Of course all of these teas contain caffeine as well, so if you are sensitive to insomnia it is best you drink up in the morning.
From what I can see here are some health benefits of so called ‘real’ tea and some plant infusions.
Tea Varieties and Health Benefits
+ Green tea – can contain as much caffeine as a coffee, so take it easy. Brew it twice to lessen the strength if need be. It is a high antioxidant which may interfere with the growth of some cancers and may also help with the burning of fat after a meal and improve your cholesterol.
+ White tea – This is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidants levels. It has many of the benefits of normal tea but one that stood out is that it is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. The antioxidants are so abundant in white tea that it helps guard against the common cold and flu. Great drink for winter time! I love white tea because it has quite a mild taste.
+ Black tea – Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavoured teas like chai, along with some instant and flavoured teas (not to be confused with herbal ones).
I prefer herbal teas,
which have a lower concentration of tannin than the ones above, yet still have some of their own unique benefits.
Here are some of the varieties in my cupboard.
+ Rooibos tea – I first tried this when I was travelling in South Africa many moons ago, but has stayed firm as one of my favourites. It is a herb that is fermented and best enjoyed with milk added. It does contain flavonoids.
+ Peppermint – a nice little pick me up and refresher. The active ingredient in peppermint, menthol, has an anti-spasmodic effect so it explains why it relieves stomach upsets so quickly and may help to relax muscles and reduce stress.
+ Chamomile – It has a reputation as a drink to have before bed due to its relaxing effect but I just enjoy it for its smooth taste.
+ Roasted Dandelion – I like the roasted variety that comes in granule form and you just add water. As I don’t drink coffee (just don’t enjoy the taste) this is my alternative. It is one of the most effective herbs for getting the bloat out and helping relieve water retention. It works great to purify the blood and cleanse the system. Again I drink with a little milk and stevia.
+ Chai – I am talking tea bags here, not the westernised milk powder or syrup forms. It is made up of the spices cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Indian chai produces a warming, soothing effect and acts as a natural digestive aid. Cinnamon also helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
So there you have it. What is your favorite tea? Do you have any outlandish ones you would like to share?
Written by Karla Gilbert, certified Lifestyle Food & Wellness Coach and Level III and IV fitness coach. Karla blogs at Ironmum Karla where you can catch more healthy eating tips, fitness news and yummy recipes!
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