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Identifying the Best Beneficial Teas for Good Health

Posted Nov 25 2009 10:01pm

While the rest of the world has been benefiting from a variety of teas for years, the United States is just now getting wise to its many beneficial and healthy qualities. Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world and the varieties grown and available for consumption are staggering. Green tea is known for its beneficial qualities but did you know that white, oolong, black and herbal teas can be just as good?

Identifying the Best Beneficial Teas for Good Health

Fundamental Tea Benefits

Tea is full of antioxidants, particularly polyphenols. These polyphenols contain a number of cancer fighting components and research bears out that certain types of cancer are either prevented or greatly reduced. Digestive cancers and esophageal cancers rank high on this tea-fighting list. There are a number of research studies looking into teas beneficial effects against ovarian and breast cancer.

Some antioxidants like those in green tea have been proven to be beneficial to heart disease. The chemical components of these antioxidants produce anticoagulant effects which help reduce cholesterol and improve blood flow. There is still a lot of research conducted throughout the world testing healthy teas to determine how effective they are against other ailments and diseases.

Which Tea Should You Choose?

An evergreen tree called the Camellia sinensis grows in warm areas and its leaves produce white, oolong, green and black teas. Tea derived from this tree has far more beneficial polyphenol’s curative properties than what you could consume from eating vegetables and fruits. How the leaves of the Camellia sinensis are prepared accounts for the different varieties of healthy teas produced and the different tastes and colors. While the process may vary, these restorative antioxidants are present.

The lightest tasting tea derived from the Camellia is white tea. The leaves are harvested while still white or light in color and young. Green tea is picked when the leaves just start producing some color on the leaves. The black and oolong teas are picked when the Camellia leaves are dark in color. These dark leaves are then crushed, dried and fermented to create their full-bodied, strong flavor.

Herbal teas are not actually teas as they are not derived from the Camellia evergreen tree. Instead, herbal teas are harvested from other plants and then infused with spices, flowers and herbs. This type of tea is actually referred to as tisane and two of the most popular versions include chamomile and red Rooibos. These tisane teas do not have the healing properties that the teas derived from the Camellia do. However, tisane teas do provide other benefits such as relief from stress and upset stomach.

Tea blends featuring tisane and Camellia are the exception to the beneficial rule. Green, oolong, black and white teas you find in the stores that are infused with spices, flowers and herbs will have the restorative antioxidants like polyphenols.

Additional Tea Information

A cup of coffee contains two times more caffeine as a cup of tea. Unfortunately, not much is known in regards to the decaffeinated varieties of the Camellia sinensis-based teas. For now, if you are seeking the restorative effects of green, white, black and oolong teas, stick with the caffeinated blends.

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