Tea is a well known traditional beverage across the world and has been enjoyed for centuries. It’s a simple preparation of brewing cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant with hot water. Flavor of tea varies depending on where the tea leaves are grown, the specific blend of tea leaves, type of processing, and addition of ingredients such as milk, honey, and lemon.
Enjoyed both hot and cold, tea is not just a delicious drink, but it also offers numerous functional benefits. Besides caffeine various polyphenols called flavonoids are found in tea which make it a healthful drink. There are several different types of tea, each with its unique set of benefits:
Green tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to improve brain function, reduce the risk of cancer, and aid in weight loss. It also contains caffeine, which can help increase alertness and mental clarity.
Black tea: Black tea is another popular variety of tea and is rich in antioxidants called theaflavins. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood pressure.
Oolong tea: Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that falls somewhere between green and black tea in terms of oxidation levels. It is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve brain function.
White tea: White tea is the least processed of all teas and is rich in antioxidants. It has been shown to improve heart health and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Herbal tea: Herbal teas are made from breing various dried herbs, spices, flowers, fruit, seeds, roots, or leaves of other plants; they typically do not contain Camellia sinensis plant leaves. They contain polyphenol antioxidant depending on the plant origin. From wellness aspect, herbal teas have wide range of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to aiding digestion
These various tea polyphenols are:
Flavonols – Myricetin, Quercetin, Kaempferol
Theaflavins – black tea is richest in these. Theaflavins are formed when black tea leaves are oxidized during curing
Catechins – Epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) is the main flavonoid found in green tea
Free radicals from environment can cause cellular damage by impacting DNA and lead to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.The polyphenols catechins and flavonoids found in tea, can help neutralize these free radicals and prevent damage.
Some research suggests that when milk is added to tea, the protein and fat in milk may reduce the antioxidant capacity of tea. Scientifically speaking flavonoids are known to get “deactivated” when binding to protein. According to another study that skimmed milk significantly reduced the antioxidant capacity of tea while higher-fat milks reduced the antioxidant capacity of tea to a lesser degree
One of the most significant benefits of tea is its thermogenic effects. Thermogenesis is the process by which the body produces heat, and it plays an important role in metabolism and weight loss. Tea, particularly green tea, has been shown to boost thermogenesis, which can aid in weight loss. Green tea contains a compound called EGCG, which has been shown to increase the body's metabolism and fat-burning abilities.
Oolong tea has also been shown to have thermogenic effects. Studies have shown that oolong tea can increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, which can help with weight loss.
In conclusion, tea is not only a delicious beverage but also has numerous health benefits. From its high antioxidant content to its thermogenic effects, tea can improve heart health, brain function, and aid in weight loss. Whether you prefer green, black, white, oolong, or herbal tea, incorporating tea into your daily routine can be a simple and effective way to improve your overall health.
Especially in summers you can cold brew ice tea. Cold brewing is nothing but keeping tea leaves dipped in water overnight at cold temperatureo and next day adding lemon juice for freshness and a sweetener like honey or stevia. This results in smooth, light, and refreshing ice tea, enjoy!