Tea is one of the most common beverages, but many of us are not aware of the different kinds of tea and their many health benefits. Green tea is becoming popular, while white and red teas are lesser-known varieties. They are all high in antioxidants and have preventive and curative properties. Moreover, each one has a unique aroma and flavor.
Green tea is made from fresh, unfermented dried leaves, and thus retains medicinal properties that are lost in the process of fermentation used for black tea. Green tea is one of the world’s richest sources of antioxidants: a hundred times more effective than vitamin C, and 25 times more than vitamin E. Antioxidants are chemical substances that interact with free radicals, which are cell damaging molecules. Therefore, antioxidants prevent cellular damage and degenerative conditions like mental decline.
Among its many benefits, green tea prevents cancer, improves the cardiovascular system, reduces blood sugar, prevents arthritis, and even helps in weight loss. It contains natural fluoride, which strengthens bones. Moreover, it is low in caffeine, yet energizing, so one can have three or four cups a day without any adverse effects. Half a spoon of green tea can be used per one cup of water. It can be taken with sugar or some sweetener like honey, but without milk.
White tea is actually very pale green, and not white. It is not fermented, but left to dry in the shade. The buds and young tea leaves are present in the dry leaves. This gives it a delicate flavor and exceptional aroma, which is best enjoyed if taken without anything added to it. White tea is supposed to have health benefits like lowering blood pressure, raising “good” cholesterol and fighting infections. This is due to its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The antioxidants present in white tea neutralize the free radicals which damage the skin and hasten aging, so it contributes to a healthy skin.
Red tea is also known as Rooibos tea. It is brewed from the leaves of a natural herb unique to the South African Cedarberg mountains. Red tea is extremely rich in antioxidants. This is because Aspalathin, which is found only in red tea, reduces damage from free radicals by almost 90%, and the risk of skin cancer by 60%. It can also be used to cure problems as diverse as headaches, insomnia, and anxiety attacks. Rooibos tea has very little tannin and no caffeine. Moreover, it does not contain oxalic acid, which is found in some other varieties of tea. It has a natural sweetness and a refreshing flavor.
It might be difficult choosing other kinds of tea over the regular black tea, but the effort is worth it in view of the greater health benefits associated with them. Green, white, and red teas are rich in antioxidants, prevent cancer and degenerative conditions, and contribute to general good health. The effects of these healthy varieties of tea have to be felt to be believed.
Nita Mukherjee holds degrees in teaching, English, creative writing, and distance education. She enjoys reading and writing, particularly in the areas of health, travel, and lifestyle related issues. Currently she is focused on developing English language modules for the National Open University and authoring educational books in English for national and international publishers.
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