Drinking tea is a “must” in any healthy lifestyle program or diet. With less caffeine and greater anti-oxidant content, teas can replace that morning cup o’ joe. For many individuals that are stressed, fatigued and/or have heart disease, coffee should be avoided as it acts like a stimulant and stressor on the body. The caffeine content, responsible for its stimulant effects, is 95-200 mg for coffee. Compare this to black tea: 14-61 mg; oolong tea: 50 mg; green tea: 25-40 mg; and white tea: 5-25 mg of caffeine, its clear that teas are a great alternative.
All non-herbal teas come from the Camilla sinensis plant, and the leaves are green at harvest. The different types of teas are created based on their processing and fermentation. Green tea does not undergo fermentation, whereas black tea receives the longest fermenting, causing its deep, black colour. Oolong tea is fermented less than black tea. White tea is made when buds are picked at a very young stage and have not full opened; similar to green tea, it is not fermented.
Teas contain antioxidants known as catechins, the most popular being epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. EGCG has been extensively studied as an extract from green tea. There is some evidence that EGCG is helpful for heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol and imrpoving the ratio of good to bad cholesterol. It’s also shown to inhibit abnormal blood clot formation, which has implications in reducing stroke & heart disease risk. Research also shows benefit in overweight and obese individuals; when EGCG is taken with caffeine, individuals lose more weight than caffeine alone or placebo. Lastly, EGCG is extensivlystudied for its use in cancer prevention and treatment, particularly in blocking the growth of blood vessels that supply cancer cells with the nutrients cancer needs to grow and spread. because green and white tea are the least processed and fermented, they contain the highest levels of anti-oxidants.
Herbal teas are a wonderful way to receive medicinal benefits of herbs. Chamomile tea is particularly popular as it has anti-spasmodic effects, especially for the digestive system when individuals experience an upset stomach and cramping. Lemonbalm tea has gentle anti-anxiety and sedative effects which can help individuals relax and fall asleep.
Enjoying a cup of tea is as easy as 1-2-3. 1) Add boiled water to 1 tsp loose tea leaves. 2) Let steep for specified amount of time: white and green tea: 1-3 mins, oolong: 3 mins, black tea: 3-5 mins and herbal teas: 5-7 mins. 3) Remove tea leaves and enjoy!