You may know that I am a little obsessive about tea. Maybe because I’m a Brit, and a cuppa is the panacea of all ills for us. Seriously, a strong, sweet, cup of tea is prescribed for everything from migraines to menopause. But, I’m not necessarily talking about a cup of PG Tips, or even a gourmet English Breakfast blend, I’m actually talking about a whole other bunch of teas with extraordinary health benefits…too numerous to document in one short blog. So, for now, here are my favorite 5 teas with extraordinary health benefits.
All tea, with the exception of herbal teas and tisanes, is made from the same plant. Yes, you read right, all tea, whether it’s black, oolong, green, or white, comes from the Camellia sinensis plant in the same way that all wine comes from the grape, albeit different varietals.
The difference between green, white, Oolong, and black is how how long they are oxidized for. White tea is where the leaves are not oxidized, green tea is where they are steamed (not oxidized), Oolong leaves are oxidized, and black is fully oxidized. Oxidization will lose you some of the anti-oxidant properties, but release taste and other health benefits.
My recommendation is that you experiment will all the different kinds of teas until you find the one or two you love.
The caffeine content differs according to the type of tea with the least in white tea, and the most in black. Remember, there is still less caffeine in black tea than there is in coffee.
Brewing temperature and time is vital when preparing different kinds of tea. If the water is too hot, it might burn the delicate white tea leaves, or if you over steep certain teas, the flavor will be bitter. Check out this useful chart.
- Green: It makes the world of difference to invest in a good-quality tea. It’s literally the difference between drinking something grassy and sweet, and a cup of dishwater! Poor quality green teas are tasteless, which is why most people don’t like green tea. I prefer to find loose leaf green tea, but there are a few brands that carry good quality bagged green tea. I like Choice Organics Tea, There are extraordinary wellness benefits of consuming green tea, because of its antibacterial, antitoxin, antiviral, and antifungal activity. 5 cups a day could increase your lifespan. The greatest benefits (that also boosts your metabolism), comes in the form of a Matcha Green Tea, because this is where the entire leaf is ground up into a fine powder. Thus you get the fiber too!
- Oolong: I love the taste of Oolong because it’s oxidized a little more than green, which brings out a deep, nutty taste. It also has different health benefits: it’s full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It helps you to maintain healthy bones and skin. It’s soothing to your nervous system despite containing a little caffeine. And it’s a PRE-biotic, so helps to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. I love this Rishi Iron Goddess with Apricot + Fig.
- White Tea: This is the least oxidized, and thus has the most subtle flavor, which is why it’s often flavored with artificial flavors, or mixed with other teas or herbs. The only white tea that has an exquisite flavor (for my taste buds), is Silver Needle Tips. Benefits of white tea include include reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disorder and improvement in oral health. It has antioxidant and anti-aging properties which help in maintaining good health and healthy skin. It protects skin from the harmful effects of UV light.
- Black Tea: Black is the most oxidized, and thus has the deepest color and flavor of all the teas. There are many different kinds of black tea, including Assam and Darjeeling, and you generally get what you pay for. Black teas are often blended, and also blended with aromatic oils such as Bergamot, for a traditional Earl Grey flavor.
- Hibiscus: Hibiscus is not technically a “tea” because obviously it doesn’t come from the same plant. It’s obviously a flower, but the reason I’m including it in my line-up is because of it’s outstanding anti-oxidant profile. I also drink it as a tea, by steeping in in boiling water. I love the sweet, fruity taste, and often drink it after dinner with a little raw honey (in place of dessert).
I also like Pu-erh tea, with is the most fermented of them all. It’s little more rare to find. It has been linked to both weight-loss and lowering cholesterol, although there are no scientific studies to support these claims right now.
Rooibos tea is from the Red Bush in South Africa. It is caffeine-free and full of anti-oxidants. I love to drink Rooibos with a little non-dairy milk.
Ultimately tea confers a lot of health benefits without the caffeine jolt and acidity of coffee. This is why I made the switch permanently:)