June 3, 2023

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Why is Tea the Healthiest Beverage in the World? Health Benefits of Loose Leaf Teas

After long years of research western medicine discovered what eastern cultures knew for centuries – Tea is the healthiest beverage. There is nothing more satisfying for tea lovers, than to know that experts are supporting our believes.

Multiple publications of the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information show that green tea has endless health benefits. The below list outlining health benefits of regular green tea drinking is based on range of studies that research health properties of green tea.

Green tea, when drunk regularly:

1. has fat-burning properties

Drinking green tea regularly promotes weight loss, especially when combined with increased physical activity and a healthy diet.

2. regulates blood glucose level in blood stream

3. lowers cholesterol level

It is proven that green tea lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels and improves the ratio of HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol.

4. enhances mental performance

One of the important health benefits of regular green tea drinking is improved memory and learning ability.

5. provides protection against coronary artery disease

Japanese studies confirm that the more green tea people consume the less likely they are to have coronary artery disease.

6. reduces inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract

Green tea was found to reduce inflammation by activating intracellular antioxidants.

7. improves bone mineral density

8. provides protection against cancer

As a rich source of polyphenols EGCG, green tea protects against cancer (particularly colon, lung and skin cancers)

9. protects the skin against the adverse effects of ultraviolet radiation, such as UV-induced sunburn, UV-induced immunosuppression and photoaging.

References: publications of the National Center of Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Green tea becomes more and more popular in western cultures. Experts believe that drinking minimum 2 cups of green teas everyday can help you achieve the health benefits outlined above. Eastern philosophers add that meditation over a cup of tea brings happiness and longevity. One is certain – drinking tea follows tested, traditional and natural approach to health and is far less risky than trying all the novelties of today’s medicine.

But what exactly green tea is?

Green tea is the variety which keeps the original colour of the tea. Green Tea is believed to have the most medicinal values. It contains least caffeine of all Chinese tea classes. Since the leaves are not fermented, the taste is pleasantly fresh. Green teas present a broad range of flavour, from sweet and nutty to fruity and floral. The most famous teas in this groups are: Longjing tea of Zhejiang Province, Maofeng of Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province and Biluochun produced in Jiangsu.

The health benefits of green tea are seemingly endless. It is a rich source of antioxidants – called polyphenols – which benefit health in many ways. Studies across the globe proved that Chinese Green Tea helps prevent cancer, aids in digestion, improves weight control and artery health. The ability of green tea to prevent cancer is so well established that new studies are testing green tea as potential cancer therapy.

Researchers have shown that green tea blocks the formation of certain tumours. Green tea also helps in reducing anxiety, while keeping highly alert state of mind, thanks to its high L-Theanine level. It supports metabolism and lowers blood sugar levels. Green tea is rich in catechins that effectively kill almost every kind of bacteria which cause food poisoning. It also inactivates the toxins that are produced by those bacteria. At the same time, it enhances the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

Although green tea seems to be the variety most popular in scientific research, other tea sorts also deserve our attention.

Black tea is known in China as “red tea” (hong cha) in reference to the colour of the infused liquid or to the red edges of the oxidized leaves. This category of tea is fermented before baking. Black teas are generally soft in flavour. The most famous teas in this groups are: Qihong of Anhui, Dianhong of Yunnan, Suhong of Jiangsu, Chuanhong of Sichuan and Huhong of Hunan.

Black tea helps to lower cholesterol and is good for the heart. Drinking black tea helps to prevent deadly clogging of arteries and reverses poor arterial functioning that can trigger heart attacks and strokes. Tea has long been tied to lower risk of stomach malfunctions, colon and breast cancer. Laboratory studies revealed that black tea may even stop cancer growth. Rutgers University researchers showed that a black tea compound called TF-2 caused colorectal cancer cells to “commit suicide” while normal cells were unaffected. Black tea can neutralize germs, including some that cause diarrhoea, pneumonia, cystitis and skin infections.

Pu-Erh (also written Puer, Pu-Er, Puerh) is a very special and unique style of tea. This type of post-fermented tea is processed using only sun-dried large-leaf tea leaves from certain areas. The best quality Pu-erh comes from the Yunnan province in South-Western China, including Xishuangbanna area, Simao and Pu-Er county.

Chinese Pu-erh Tea is the greatest tea mystery, famous for its health giving benefits, very low caffeine levels and rich, unique and comforting flavour. The secret resides in the aging process. Pu-erh is considered a special delicacy and an indispensable part of daily health care. Pu-Er tea is very good for digestive system (helps reduce body weight by increasing the metabolism), reduces cholesterol level in the blood stream, lowers blood alcohol after drinking, prevents dysentery, and stimulates secretions from the spleen and other organs.

Wulong (Oolong) tea represents a variety half way between green and black teas. It is prepared by allowing picked tea leaves to partially ferment before frying. Oolong is a full-bodied tea with a unique and highly enjoyable sweet-flowery character. It is a specialty of the provinces on China’s southeast coast: Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan. Finest varieties are still handmade following the traditional manufacturing process.

Oolong tea enhances the function of fat metabolism, controlling obesity and even contributing to slimming. Oolong Tea may promote healthier and stronger bones, protecting people from such diseases as osteoporosis. As other tea varieties, Oolong can fight against tooth decay and can help prevent heart ailments.

White tea is the least processed of all the tea categories. It is merely withered and dried by steaming. White tea gets its designation from the fine, silvery white hairs found in the unopened buds of the camellia sinensis plant. White tea leaves have a striking appearance. They usually have a light silver colour. White teas are the rarest in the world, produced on a very limited scale in China. Traditionally plucked only at daybreak in four provinces, white tea is delicate and subtle treat for quiet moments. These teas are characterized by an extraordinary fresh fragrance that is both subtle and sweet. The aroma is delightfully gentle with a mellow taste. Well-known varieties include “Silver Needle” and “White Peony”.

White teas are greater source of antioxidants than any other teas. They can lower blood pressure and improve the function of the arteries. They promote strong bones. White Tea helps in protecting the skin from damage and may even reverse some of the damage caused by free radicals. It has great anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects. This group of tea is even more effective than green tea in killing germs. White tea extracts are used in many kinds of tooth-pastes to enhance their anti-bacterial effects. White Tea may reduce blood sugar and help alleviate the symptoms of diabetes.

Herbal teas (also known as a tisane or herbal infusion) contain just herbs or combine herbs with regular tea leaves. Herbal teas are made using scientific technology based on ancient prescriptions by Chinese medicine masters. They have already won many faithful customers around the world due to their reliable qualities and effective function.

When infusing a teaspoon of herbs such as mint, tulsi, ginger, chamomile, jasmine (and many others), their medicinal properties seep into the water giving drinkers the desired effect. Depending on herbs used, it may be laxative, curative, refreshing, sedative or antacid in nature.

Blends It is possible to combine the positive characters of different teas by blending. Tea traders blend teas of different crops or even origins to maintain flavour, aroma, character and price of tea over longer periods of time. English Breakfast is one of the most recognized blends available on the market.

Whichever tea variety is your favourite, remember that it is important to choose only the fresh, good quality tea. Loose leaf tea, containing whole leaves and buds seems to be more effective than tea bags containing fanning of bigger, less fresh leaves.

And remember – tea is there to enjoy it! Enjoy it first ad treat health benefits as a side effect.