Learn All the Benefits of Tea
Ancient cultures have always proclaimed the benefits of tea and many people today are discovering tea’s unique qualities.
The black, oolong, green and white teas are derived from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis and are high in beneficial polyphenol antioxidants, which help block fat-building enzymes! Although these teas contain caffeine, some are available in decaffeinated forms. You can also pre-steep the tea in hot water for 20 seconds to remove most of the caffeine. Studies show the tannates/tannins in these teas interfere with iron absorption, so, if you suffer from anemia, be sure to drink these teas either one hour before or after your meal.
Green teas contain phytonutrients EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and/or ECG (epicatechin gallate). These are powerful flavonoids known as catechins. They help fight inflammation, so they may also help battle cartilage and collagen destruction in arthritic joints, including issues of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies suggest that EGCG may potentially prevent the onset or slow the progression of dementia. Catechins may also reduce the risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer, and diabetes.
Herbal teas come from herbs and other plant sources. Their benefits are so vast that some of them are listed with each tea below. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine, but some varieties may have side effects for some people with certain health issues or taking certain medications. Be sure to read the tea’s packaging and consult with your doctor before trying an herbal tea.
Keep in mind different teas required different temperatures of water to bring out their benefits. Black and oolong prefer boiling water while greens, whites and herbals are best suited for warm to hot water. No matter what type of tea you choose, never store your tea near a heat source or in the freezer. Tea should be stored in a double-walled stainless steel tea tin to retain the tea’s flavor, scent, and benefits.
The teas I’ve listed are only a small sampling of the many varieties available today. I have denoted the type of tea with a capital in parentheses after its name: B for Black, G for green, H for herbal, and W for White. Here are just a few teas and their known benefits*:
Ashwagandha (H) – Excellent at bedtime for those with insomnia. An immune stimulant in patients with low white blood cells due to radiation treatments or chemotherapy.
Black (B) – Helps inhibit bacteria growth in the mouth, so your breath smells sweeter. Contains polysaccharides that have glucose-inhibiting properties, so it may also help to prevent diabetes. Helps stops belly-fat before it starts. Some examples of black teas are English Breakfast, Earl Grey, etc.
Chamomile (H) – Known for its relaxation benefits, it can also be used to relieve upset stomach, menstrual cramps, and promote quality sleep. New studies indicate it may steady blood sugar and guard against the damage high blood sugar can impart.
Dandelion (H) – Helps digestion issues, alleviates liver complaints, and regulates blood glucose. Can also be used as a diuretic.
Ginger (H) – Contains an anti-inflammatory agent to block the chemical messengers that cause a slight swelling in the brain. At onset of headache or migraine, drink a cup to stop the pain in its tracks. Also aids in digestion, too.
Ginseng (H) – Enhances the libido! Contains ginsenosides that help both women and men! Enjoy a cup after you read our article “Valentine’s Day Ideas.”
Green (G) – Contains EGCG that increases the hormone CCK, which creates the feeling of satiation. May be beneficial to prevent eye diseases, such as glaucoma.
Hawthorne (H) – Contains flavonoids that help keep the blood vessels strong. It may also balance total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad (LDL) cholesterol. It may even help in congestive heart failure. Can have a gentle relaxant effect on the vascular system for those with higher blood pressure due to stress hormones.
Hibiscus (H) – Can help lower systolic blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension or mildly elevated blood pressure.
Licorice Root (H) – Contains therapeutic compounds that soothe sore throats.
Matcha (G) – Boosts your metabolism, it’s a fat-blocker, and reduces anxiety. Plus it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help fight disease. It has three times the polyphenol catechin of regular green tea. Contains L-theanine, an amino acid which promotes a tranquility effect. Because it is ground into a powder, you ingest the tea leaves and all their healthful nutrients. You can even add a scoop to a smoothie!
Nettle (H) – Has antihistamine properties and can prevent hay fever or allergy attacks from happening in the first place. Relieves allergy symptoms like stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Brew a large pot and keep the tea in the refrigerator during allergy season.
Oolong (B) – Its unique catechin and caffeine combination raises your metabolism for two hours after drinking.
Peppermint (H) – Soothes an upset stomach and relieves constipation.
Rooibos (H) – Has a variety of minerals, such as calcium and zinc, to help make your hair shinier, your skin more radiant, and help your nails grow stronger and healthier.
Siberian Ginseng (H) – It’s commonly called eleuthero (eleutherococcus) and not a true ginseng. It contains triterpenoid saponins that have a stress relieving effect on the body. It improves blood circulation and enhances mental and physical prowess. It may also help the immune system fight common viruses like rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza. It may lower blood pressure and eliminate symptoms of angina.
Safflower (H) – The antioxidants help prevent heart disease by decreasing inflammation in the arteries, keeping them flexible and less likely to clog.
Turmeric (H) – Lubricates the joints and helps relieve pain of arthritis, osteoarthritis or other chronic joint pain. Aids liver cells by helping clear bad cholesterol from the body. Also aids in indigestion, stomach ulcers, and ulcerative colitis. Powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help fight cancer.
Valerian Root (H) – Its natural compounds are used as a sedative, as they may help you fall asleep faster when ingested two hours before bedtime.
White (W) – Less processed, so the polyphenols are extra potent and it contains EGCG. Fights signs of aging and it may also protect from colon cancer.
No matter which one you decide to try, I hope you enjoy a delicious cup of tea soon. After all, the benefits are endless.
*Some of these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
© By Kathleen R. McKissick