The health benefits of different teas
We’ve all heard that drinking tea is good for you. Packed with antioxidants and healthy flavenoids, these steeped leaves have been linked to numerous health benefits. According to recent studies, tea drinkers have stronger bones, less body fat, lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, and even lower risk of certain types of cancer. From black to green to red, the huge number of teas can be overwhelming. With so many options, what is the best tea for you? In this article we will explain the differences between different varieties, and the health benefits of each.
Black Tea: Great for your heart
This is the most common type of tea, accounting for 3 out of every 4 cups consumed worldwide. Like most teas, it comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea is made black when the picked leaves of the plant are fermented and toasted, resulting the distinctive black color.
Black tea has high levels of antioxidant compounds called theaflavins and thearubigins. These two compounds have health benefits for your cardiovascular system and heart. Research shows that theaflavins help lower ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol. In one study people who drank black tea regularly for 90 days successfully lowered their LDL cholesterol levels by 16%. What’s more, levels of HDL (the ‘good’) cholesterol also rose slightly.
White Tea: For beautiful skin
White tea comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are picked very young and not fermented, however, resulting in a light, delicate color and flavor.
Researchers have found that the antioxidants found in white tea are especially beneficial for skin and complexion. A study done at Kingston University of London showed that white tea inhibited the action of two key enzymes involved in producing wrinkle and aging skin. Regularly drinking 3-4 cups a day could help prevent the signs of aging and reduce the development of wrinkles.
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Green Tea: Potent cancer fighter
Green tea is much like its white sibling, but is harvested when the leaves are slightly older. It is delicate than black, but is slightly more flavorful and bold than white.
Most of the scientific research on tea has focused on the green variety, and specifically its potential as a cancer fighter. In countries where green tea consumption is widespread, the occurrence of cancer is lower overall. In a study of more than 70,000 women conducted in China, those who drank green tea more than three times a week had a significantly lower risk of colon, stomach, and throat cancers.
Red Tea: Relieves allergies and boosts the immune system
Red tea – also known as rooibos (roy-bose) – does not come from the same Camellia sinensis plant as black, white, and green teas. The rooibos plant is a shrub native to South Africa. Its needle-like leaves turn red after being fermented, and produce a deep red, flavorful infusion.
In traditional African culture, rooibos is used to treat asthma, allergies, and skin problems. It is thought that compounds in the plant have immune modulating effects. The high levels of antioxidants in red tea are immune boosting, but is also appears that it has the power to help regulate the immune system, thus providing relief for immune-related ailments such as allergies and asthma.
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