Green tea, white tea, black tea… Drinking tea is known to be an English thing especially the cream tea. Tea is supposed to be super healthy; we won’t talk about the scones, cream and jam…. Apparently tea keeps your skin looking younger, prevents wrinkles, and helps to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is too good to be true. But is this information correct and which tea is the best to drink?
What is tea?
Tealeaves grow in a bush; the Camelia Sinensis. The bush mainly grows in subtropical climates and can become 120-140 years old. The bush grows on places up to 2000 metres and can survive up to 4 months in the snow. The leaves are picked and either processed or not.
There are different types of tea. In principal there are 6 main groups of which I will discuss the main 3:
- Black tea, this is the most commonly known tea. After the leaves have been picked by hand, they are flattened, cut and exposed to air (oxidation). Due to this process, a reaction occurs with the enzymes which are the cause of the dark colour and rich taste of the tea. After this this the leaves are roasted and completely oxidised. This oxidation process is sometimes called fermentation. A disadvantage of this process is that the amount of anti-oxidants (protectors of the body cells) is educed considerably..
- White tea: White tea is made from the leaves of the young tea buds. These leaves are dried only. That is why they keep their light colour and contain more anti-oxidants than black tea.
- Green tea: With green tea the leaves are kept intact as much as possible and only lightly steamed or roasted. This tea does not oxidise and therefore contains more anti-oxidants than black tea. Because the tea leaves are heated they keep their green colour. Steamed green tea has a light colour and a light and refreshing taste. Roasted green tea tastes stronger.
My personal favourite is green tea (see above). It is a tea that has many health benefits and is available in many varieties. I had to get used to drinking green tea because of its bitter taste; I had to learn to drink it. The bitterness occurs when you use water that is too hot; tannins are released that cause the bitter taste. The same happens when you let the tea infuse for too long. However I have learned to appreciate the bitter taste. But if you do not like it, you now know what to do about it: Don’t’ use boiling water (70-80 degrees is ideal) and don’t let it infuse to long. You can combine green tea easily with other teas such as a spicy tea.
Green tea can be bought lose and in bags. When you use lose tea, you can buy individual tea bags, use a tea egg or a strainer. Make sure that the tea bags you use for lose tea are unbleached. The same is applicable for pre-packed tea bags. When you buy organic green tea, the teabags are mostly unbleached but just check it when you buy it. Sometimes it is not the case and the tea is packaged in plastic. Because of the hot water, this can release substances that are not good for the body.
The type of water you use is also important. Tap water contains lime scale and is not the best for making green tea. Lime scale and minerals in water will cause a reaction with the enzymes in the tea which will cause a change in smell and taste. There are people that use bottled mineral water to make their tea but that is even less healthy than tap water as it is more acidic. I always use filtered water to make my green tea; it really is the best.
7 Health enhancing benefits
- Green tea contains numerous substances that protect the body against cancer. So much so that consultants discourage drinking green tea when people have chemo therapy treatment. It is very powerful and protects the cells in such a way that the effectiveness of chemotherapy could be reduced.
- Green tea contains polyphenols and plant substances that work preventative on inflammations.
- Green tea has substances in it that prevent the breakdown of proteins that you need to keep your skin looking younger and firmer for longer. Most tea plantations are on slopes that stand in the bright sun. Therefore, under the influence of sunlight, tea makes a substance to protect itself from sunlight. By drinking green tea, you also protect yourself against the harmful effects of UV radiation and thus against ageing of the skin.
- Green tea can help to prevent heart and artery related conditions.
- Regularly drinking green tea is one of the things you can do to prevent diabetes 2.
- The cholesterol level can be balanced by regularly drinking green tea.
- Green tea stimulates the metabolism and can help burn (belly) fat.
Can green tea perform miracles?
There are a lot of people who drink green tea because it is so healthy but do not adjust their lifestyle. Well … then you cannot expect miracles. Adaptation of your lifestyle is the basis. Enough exercise, healthy food (80-20 rule), drinking lots of water … then drinking green tea can really add value. Do you want to know how to change your lifestyle in a simple way? Have a look at the EatWright Plan; it will help you to get in optimum health and weight.
There are a few types of tea that carry the name tea but in reality are not tea because they are not made from the leaves of the tea plant:
- Herbal tea: this tea is made from herbs.
- Fruit tea: this is not real tea either because it is made from fruit and not from the tea plant.
- Flower tea: made from petals.
- Rooibos tea: this tea too has been incorrectly called tea because it does not come from the tea plant. Rooibos consists of the needles that grow on the rooibos plant. This plant only grows in South Africa.
Hope you found this information useful. Feel free to share it with others.
If you are ready to change your lifestyle, stop dieting and want to feel great again you might want to know more about the new, ground-breaking, Dutch healthy eating plan that will be introduced in the UK at the end of April. Information evenings are held from 6.30-9 pm on:
23/4 Hilton Cobham: Book here
24/4 St Alphege Church Hall in Effingham: Book here
25/4 The Willow Health Restaurant Kingston: Book here
To Better Health,