People all over the world have been drinking tea for thousands of centuries, and for good reason, as there’s plenty of evidence that regularly drinking tea can have a lasting impact on our wellness.
There are 4 main types of “true” tea; all come from the same plant – the Camellia sinensis. What makes it white, green, oolong or black is how it is processed and oxidized. All are rich in antioxidants as well as l-theanine, an amino acid that reduces anxiety and increases alertness and attention.
Health benefits of tea:
- Support heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and reducing blood clotting – as well as improving blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.
- Linked to a reduction in risk for certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes
- Combat inflammation and support a healthy immune system.
White Tea is the least processed tea variety. The tea leaves are not heat treated, which also means that white tea has among the highest levels of antioxidants.
Green Tea is heat-dried, and includes matcha tea, a form of green tea that contains as much as 10x the antioxidant capacity of regular green tea.
Black Tea leaves are dried and oxidized, giving it a darker color and richer flavor. Black tea doesn’t get the glory that green tea does, but it’s still rich in antioxidants.
Oolong Tea: While Green tea is not allowed to oxidize much, and black tea is oxidized until it turns black, Oolong tea is somewhere in between the two.
Herbal Teas – these aren’t true ‘tea’, they are typically a blend of herbs, spices, fruits or other plants. Herbal teas don’t contain caffeine, which makes them a fantastic option for hydration and all-day sipping.
Do’s and Don’ts of Tea
Steer clear of adding dairy milk to their tea, says Mimsie Ladner, owner of Gachi Tea, as several studies have found that adding cow milk to tea decreases its antioxidant capacity because the milk protein casein binds with antioxidants, reducing their ability to fight harmful free radicals. (Consider adding non-dairy milk instead.)
A squeeze of lemon brings out green tea’s antioxidants, making them more available for your body to absorb.
Cooking with Tea: Add tea to sauces, marinades, dressings and curries. Here are links to recipes and inspiration, here and here.