Tea.. I’m fuelled by it daily, as most of us are here in the UK. My favourite is the ‘Cleanse’ tea from pukka which is a blend of fennel, nettle and mint. It’s so refreshing and I’ve almost always got a cup of it on the go.
Today’s post is a guest post from Jennifer from Mindfulness Mama, who is talking about the health benefits of your favourite cuppa..
The Health Benefits of Your Favorite Cuppa
There’s nothing quite like a hot cup of your favorite tea — at least, if you manage to drink it while it’s still hot. We’ve all probably forgotten at least one cup sitting on the counter somewhere, right? My husband recently discovered my mug in the microwave a day later. Oops!
In addition to being delightfully calming and relaxing, your favorite cup of tea has some magnificnet health benefits. What is your favorite type of tea to drink, and what is it doing for your health?
If you’re a fan of English Breakfast, Earl Grey, or Chai you’re a black tea drinker. Black tea is probably the most common type of tea in just about every grocery store. Made from fermented tea leaves, it has a strong flavor and a high caffeine content, though it doesn’t contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
When it comes to health benefits, black tea is the best drink for smokers. One study found the antioxidants found in black tea can help prevent damage to the lungs caused by cigarette smoke. Of course, we all agree smoking is a bad habit that you should definitely quit if you still partake in it, but if you’re still in the process of tossing those butts, consider upping your black tea intake.
A European study also found black tea — specifically, the flavonoids it contains — could also help reduce the risk of stroke.
Unfortunately, black teas can cause significant staining to your teeth — almost as bad as coffee — so if you’re worried about your pearly whites, black tea might not be the best option for you.
White tea is probably the subtlest tea. It’s made from unfermented and unprocessed tea leaves, so the flavor is very mild. The lack of processing also leaves the tea’s antioxidants intact, increasing the tea’s potential cancer-fighting properties.
Tea contains a variety of polyphenols shown to fight or prevent cancer. However, during processing and fermenting, these polyphenols oxidize and lose some of their power.
True white teas are only found in or imported from China, so make sure you’re getting the real thing before you start steeping your cuppa.
Green tea falls between white and black tea in terms of processing. The leaves get steamed and then rolled, but they are dried before they can begin to ferment. Green tea is also the most widely studied variety, and has so many health benefits! Some of its benefits include:
A good green tea can be a great addition to your morning or afternoon — many varieties have some caffeine, though, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you might want to avoid it in the evening so it doesn’t affect your sleep.
Oolong tea is definitely an acquired taste, but it does have some fantastic health benefits. In terms of oxidation and preparation, oolong tea falls somewhere between green and black tea — green tea is steamed, but not allowed to ferment, while black tea gets all its flavor from the fermentation process. Oolong is steamed and partially fermented or oxidized before getting dried and packaged.
There are several studies about the benefits of oolong tea, but most of them fall along the same lines — oolong is potentially a fantastic tool for the prevention of diabetes. The polyphenols found in oolong tea have been shown to help reduce blood sugar, improve blood sugar control and even reduce insulin sensitivity.
Red tea, or rooibos, is derived from a native South African plant rather than traditional leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. As such, red tea is an herbal tea.
There aren’t a lot of medical studies on the effects of red tea, but the research that has been done is promising. Unlike traditional tea leaves, rooibos is high in several rare antioxidants. Quercetin, for example, is beneficial to the cardiovascular system and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Aspalathin, another antioxidant, has been shown to reduce the output of adrenaline and other similar hormones, helping it act as a stress reducer. When paired with nothofagin, another antioxidant, aspalathin has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar, and possibly reduce the impact of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Herbal teas can be a fantastic way to improve your health, fight colds or even sleep better, depending on the tea’s ingredients.
With herbal teas, you want to make sure to avoid teas that have ingredients like aloe or other plant-based laxatives — companies often market them as diet teas, but they can have negative side effects, and the FDA hasn’t regulated them, so it’s best to choose a different kind of tea.
Your daily cup of tea is definitely doing more for you than just settling your nerves — it’s probably helping ensure your continued health as well.