Nutrition

Which teas you should be drinking: The health benefits of tea

Author: Canadian Living

Nutrition

Which teas you should be drinking: The health benefits of tea

Did you know that after water, tea is the most highly consumed beverage in the world? In fact, tea has been touted as a superfood for nearly 5000 years. From protecting against heart disease, promoting weight loss, boosting immune system function plus anti-cancer effects, the heath effects of a humble cup of tea are well documented.

Whether you prefer your tea hot or cold, black, green, white or herbal – each type of tea contains a unique blend making it the perfect compliment to any diet.

One plant - three teas
Black tea, green tea and white tea are all made from the same plant (the Camellia sinensis plant), although they undergo different processing. All three types of tea contain significant amounts of catechins, a type of disease-fighting flavonoid and antioxidant that help to fight off cellular damage in the body. As a general rule, the longer you steep the tea, the more flavonoids you'll get in your brew.

The difference between black and green teas
Black tea is the most processed of all the teas and has undergone an intense crushing and fermentation process. Green tea is a lightly processed tea that is not fermented at all. The leaf is either baked, roasted, sun dried or steamed after harvesting to stop the fermentation process. When the leaves are sufficiently dried, they are rolled into a variety of shapes.

Green tea for weight loss
In terms of weight loss, green tea contains high concentrations of catechin polyphenols. These compounds work in the body with other chemicals to heighten levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis (a state created in the body by burning fat as fuel). On average, you should try to consume a minimum of 3 cups of green tea per day for weight loss effects. Green tea has also been shown to be preventative against cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol.

Page 1 of 2: Read the benefits of white tea on page 2
White tea
White tea leaves are the least processed and are picked and harvested while the leaf is still in bud form. The buds are covered with fine white hair giving the tea its white look. Although similar to green tea, white tea does not have the same “grassy” taste and contains a lighter, sweeter flavour.

In terms of health, white tea has been shown to contain even greater anti-oxidant capacity versus green tea, and studies have shown white tea to have a potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral effect. Although terrific for overall health, the effects of white tea and weight loss have not been documented. Thus, a mixture of green and white tea can be consumed throughout the day for optimal health and weight loss benefits.

Milk with that?
When adding milk to your tea, you may want to think twice. A study conducted at the Charite Hospital at the University of Berlin showed that adding milk to tea would block the healthy effect that tea has in protecting against heart disease. This occurs because the casein (a protein) in milk binds to the molecules in tea that helps the arteries to relax, specifically, EGCG (found in high amounts in green tea). In a nutshell, it is best to drink your tea with little to no milk.

Herbal tea
If opting for an herbal tea, there are a variety to choose from these days such a mint, berry options, peach, orange, lemon, vanilla and even chocolate! As a hydrating and tasty option, drinking herbal teas is a terrific way to warm up over the winter months. 

Herbal teas also possess numerous health benefits such as;

Ginger tea – aiding with nausea
Mint tea – optimizing digestion and settling stomach upset
Berry teas – helpful in curbing night time cravings

Whether stocking up your own cupboards with tea or creating a healthy gift basket for a friend – keeping several varieties of tea on hand is the perfect way to increase your daily anti-oxidant intake all the while staying hydrated and healthy!

Try some delicious tea recipes by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen:

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Dr. Joey Shulman is author of the national best seller The Natural Makeover Diet. Her new book The Last 15 – A Weight Loss Breakthrough is due out Jan. 08. For more information, please visit www.drjoey.com
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Nutrition

Which teas you should be drinking: The health benefits of tea

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