It seems I’m on a beverage kick with posts these days, so I thought I’d continue on that streak by talking about coffee’s better half – tea.

As mentioned in the previous post on coffee, tea is the third most consumed beverage in Canada and the second worldwide. Canadians consume an average of 0.7 cups of tea per day. However, this number is rising because knowledge of health benefits of tea is increasing, as well as the increasing availability of specialty teas.

Tea has been found to:

  • Produce a calmer, relaxed and more focused state of mind
  • Has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects
  • Improve antioxidant status
  • Improve mental performance
  • Decrease risk of heart disease
  • Increase bone density
  • Help prevent dental cavities and other dental problems

BUT…like coffee, the effects are dependent on several factors:

  • Amount required to see effects ranges from 2-6 cups/day
  • Antioxidant content depends on:
    • Where tea is grown (geographic location)
    • How leaves are processed prior to drying
    • Type of tea (decaf, instant, blended)
    • Preparation (amount used, steeping time, whether tea was stirred or not, whether bag was squeezed or not)

Types of Tea:

1. Black tea

  • Most common type of tea in North America and Europe
  • Made from fully oxidized leaves
  • Produces a deep, rich flavor and brown color

2. Green tea

  • Most popular type of tea in Asia
  • NOT oxidized! (This is believed to be the reason behind all the health benefits associated with green tea)
  • Light taste with light green color

3. Oolong tea

  • Most popular in China
  • Partially oxidized
  • Combines the taste and color of black and green tea

4. Herbal tea

  • Is NOT actually “tea”! Herbal teas do not come from camellia sinensis– the plant all other teas come from. These teas are made from fruits, berries, roots, flowers and herbs. As such, they don’t contain any caffeine or antioxidants like other teas do. (Kind of depressing really, they can be so tasty!)

What’s all the hype about green tea?

There have been a lot of studies and research lately about green tea and it’s benefits. I’ve heard many people say they swear by green tea and drink it daily. Green tea is the least processed type of tea and this is believed to be the reason for the health benefits linked to it. Some of the said benefits include:

  • Increases your metabolism, which in turn aids in weight loss
  • Helps regulate glucose levels by slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can help prevent diabetes problems.
  • Reduces bad cholesterol in the blood
  • Reduced risk of high blood pressure
  • Has anti-inflammatory effects that may help with wrinkles and signs of aging
  • Increases mental performance
  • Prevents several types of cancers

Here is a great website with more information about green tea if you’re interested!

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