Tea is considered one of the most popular drinks in the world after water. Americans are slowly starting to include tea in their diets because of its potential health benefits.
THE STORY OF TEA
The history of tea dates back 5,000 years ago. It was discovered by Emperor Shen Nung when leaves from a wild tree suddenly fell into the cup of his boiling water and created the first brewed leaves. The brewed leaves created a pleasant smell which intrigued him and so he tried it. He described the brewed drink as a “warm feeling” that investigates every part of his body every time he drank it. He eventually named the brew “ch’a”, meaning to investigate or check.
Ever since the discovery of tea, tea has been recognized around the world for its calming, soothing, and refreshing capabilities. Tea is a great non-calorie alternative for water which has diverse flavors and provides functional elements in nourishing our bodies.
WHAT IS TEA? HOW IT'S MADE?
Tea is produced from the plant Camellia Sinensis. The four main types of tea are: black, green, white, and oolong. The type of tea is determined by how the leaves are processed, specifically by drying and fermenting methods. Black tea is produced by fully-fermented leaves, while oolong tea is produced by partially-fermented leaves. Green tea is produced from mature leaves without fermentation, and White tea is processed the least by using young leaves and leaf buds.
Black tea is an excellent source of caffeine if you are looking for an alternative for coffee or energy drink. Not only is it a non-sweetened and less-calorie drink, it also provides several health benefits. Studies have shown that drinking black tea reduces the onset of cardiovascular diseases. (Rasheed, 2019) Furthermore, including black tea in the diet reduces the low-density lipoprotein in humans with hypercholesterolemia (high levels of cholesterol in the blood).
Drinking black tea also improves cholesterol levels in obese adults and adults at risk of heart disease. Other benefits include improvements in blood pressure levels, reduce risk of stroke, prevention from the onset of cancer, and decrease in blood glucose in diabetic patients.
Green tea contains the highest levels of EGCG catechins. The catechins found in green tea may reduce the risk of various types of cancers such as skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
Green tea consumption may also reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, ischemic stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Oolong tea has the same health benefits as black and green tea. It reduces stress, the risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, oolong tea contains theasinensins which has promoting health effects. It also has anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects which inhibits angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) resulting in weight loss. (Weerawatanakorn et al., 2015)
Just like other teas, white tea is rich in catechins as well as polyphenols. These compounds are important in preventing cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and congestive heart failure.
White tea also reduces the risk of diabetes, lung cancer, and skin cancer. The role of white tea polyphenols in obesity needs further research because it is not fully understood yet.
Herbal tea is made of ‘tisanes’ which are combinations of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other plants that give them their flavor and provide health benefits. Unlike other teas, herbal tea does not have caffeine. Herbal teas intend to bring relaxation, rejuvenation, and relief among other things.
Chamomile is one of the most common herbal teas. It is commonly used for stomach pain, muscle spasms, inflammation, menstrual cramps, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids.
There are many herbs that can be found in herbal tea and each have its own unique purpose and can be used in different ways. If you want to know more about herbal teas, this is a good read about it: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/02df/54a634240e726ff38095c768d21701232b9a.pdf
A cup of tea goes far beyond than just providing health benefits in our body. It is a wholesome experience that nourishes our mind and soul.
Tea Fact Sheet 2018-2019. (n.d.) Tea Association of the USA Inc. Retrieved from http://www.teausa.com/14655/tea-fact-sheet
The History of Tea. (n.d.) Coffee Tea Warehouse.com. Retrieved from http://www.coffeeteawarehouse.com/tea-history.html
Cochran, N. (2018, January 30). The Health Benefits of Tea. Retrieved November 1, 2019, from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/the-health-benefits-of-tea
Rasheed, Z. (2019). Molecular Evidences of Health Benefits of Drinking Black Tea. International Journal of Health Sciences, 13(3), 1 – 3.
Reygaert, W. (2018). Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases. Biomed Research International, 1 – 9. Doi: 10.1155/2018/9105261
Khan, N. & Mukhtar, H. (2013). Tea and Health: Studies in Humans. National Institutes of Health, 19(34), 6141 – 6147.
Weerawatanakorn, M., Hung, W., Pan, M., Li, S., Li, D., Wan, X., & Chi-Tang, H. (2015). Chemistry and Health Beneficial Effects of Oolong Tea and Theasinensins. Food Science and Human Wellness, 4(2015), 133 – 146.
Dias, T., Tomas, G., Teixeira, N., Alves, M., Oliveira, P., & Silva, B. (2015). White Tea (Camellia Sinensis (L.)): Antioxidant Properties and Beneficial Health Effects. International Journal of Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics (IJFS), 2(2), 19 – 26.
Priya, J., & Veeranjaneyulu, C. (2016). Comparison of Herbal Teas for Obesity. International Journal of Research in Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, 5(1), 82 – 93.
Ravikumar, C. (2014). Review on Herbal Teas. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 6(5), 236 – 238.
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