Tea lays claim to many health benefits. This magic elixir has been touted to have anti-cancer effects, aid in weight loss, prevent osteoporosis, lower blood pressure among many others. But, are all of these magical properties true? Is tea the magical elixir to the fountain of youth?
I looked at different articles online and I can say not many held a lot of clout in regards to tea being a magical elixir but this common drink does offer many health benefits.
Tea should not be confused with herbal teas. Herbal teas are not made from tea leaves they are mostly an infusion of fruits, herbs and/or flowers. Teas that are touting many health benefits are black, white, oolong and green. Each of these teas are made from the same leaf but harvested differently to get their names.
Tea leaves after harvesting begin to wilt and oxidize. During oxidation chemicals in the leaves are broken down by enzymes resulting in darkening of the leaves which results in tea’s aroma and taste. The amount of oxidation will determine if you will be drinking an oolong, white, black or green tea. Black tea is made when tea leaves are bruised, wilted and fully oxidized. Green tea is made from unwilted leaves that are not oxidized. Oolong tea is made from wilted, bruised and partially oxidized leaves and white tea is made from young tea leaves.
Of these varieties the polyphenols in green and black tea are shown to have anti-cancer capabilities. Although the amount to consume daily is uncertain their antioxidant ability should not be overlooked. The substances found in these teas may have proven beneficial in protecting cells from damage.
Oolong tea is thought to pack a punch on weight loss by speeding up our body’s fat burning metabolism. White tea is shown to saddle up close to green tea with the amount of polyphenols specifically catechins, and some research reports that white tea has a higher amount of polyphenols than green tea which help reduce the amount of DNA cell destruction. Further research is needed on this.
What it all comes down to is tea can be a good add on to a healthy diet, but caution should be taken as tea’s many health benefits can easily be negated by other items you put into it. Light and sweet, 3 teaspoons of honey or agave. All of these in excess can pack on the calories and also fight against teas added beneficial effects.
Whatever tea variety you choose, you can count on having an extra added health benefit. Is it the magic elixir that everyone thought? The jury is still out. In practice I have encouraged the intake of tea to help curb appetite and cravings when trying to lose weight. Whatever your tea flavor keep it simple with little to no added sugar to enjoy the many health benefits this drink can offer.
Mint Tea Refresher
6 cups black or green tea
4 lemons cut into slices
1 bunch mint
Brew tea, and place in jug. Squeeze the juice of two lemons into the tea and place the mint leaves in. Slice the remaining two lemons and place on top. Enjoy this drink on a hot day!
Add mint and lemon to tea to spice things upice some white, green,oolong or black tea