Posted in Drinking Tea

Tea of the Week – An Introduction

Since we live in a world of soda and beer, I’ve decided that once a week I will introduce you to a new tea and share with you the benefits of that particular tea.  There are so many teas out there, yet all people are really familiar with are black and green.  But did you know that there are eleven varieties of black tea?  And eleven different kinds of green?  And how much do you know about white and red teas?  And what on earth is Rooibos?

Let me educate you.

Black Tea

Black tea is the most popular and most commonly used tea in the West.  Black Tea undergoes full oxidation and fermentation, letting the leaves turn black, and that’s how they get their strong, typical flavor.  It’s what the Brits drink during afternoon tea, and it’s what constitues most iced teas (like at Starbucks).  Some people drink it black, and some people (Brits) prefer to add milk and sugar.  But no matter how you drink it, you can’t deny it’s benefits.  According to leading medical journals, black tea is known to be a heart tonic, cancer blocker, fat buster, immune stimulant, arthritis soother, virus fighter, and cholesterol detoxifier.

Here are the eleven popular varieties of black teas that you may be interested in trying:

Green Tea

Green tea is pretty awesome.  It’s my tea of choice, and also the choice of most of China and Japan.  To some, green tea is a wonder drug.  It has been known to lower the risk of cancer, lower the risk of stroke and heart disease, lower blood pressure, prevents tooth decay, and inhibits viruses. Seriously, people.  It does all that!!  And yet most of us prefer sugary soda-y drinks.

I first started drinking green tea ten years ago when a girl who worked at the Health Bar at Equinox Fitness Club (where I was also employed) told me that green tea speeds up your metabolism, thus causing you to lost weight.  Well, I was 23 at the time, so of course I was all for being skinny (I know better now).  I don’t know if it really did speed up my metabolism, though studies have shown that it does, but it did get me addicted to the tea.  It just made me feel better.  I started drinking it everyday, and to this day I still have a cup in the morning and a couple cups at night after dinner.  And I may be jinxing myself as I type, but since I started drinking green tea, I rarely get sick.  If I get a cold, it only lasts a couple of days.  Is it because of a boosted immune system due to the green tea?  Perhaps.  If not, well, I’m going to keep drinking it everyday anyway because I love it so much.

You can probably find these varieties of green tea at local health food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts.  If you can pronounce them.

White Tea
White tea has become more popular over the past few years due to studies that have shown it’s even more healthier than green tea.  Unlike other teas, white tea doesn’t go through any oxidization or fermentation.  While green tea leaves are roasted in a pan, white tea leaves are fast-dried, which keeps in most of the antioxidants in the tea.  White tea also has a slightly lower caffeine level than green tea, for those of you who don’t need the extra energy boost (even though tea in general has much lower caffeine content than coffee).
Red Tea
Red Tea got its name from the rich amber color that most red teas give off once steeped.  It’s derived from herbs grown in South Africa, giving it a smooth, almost fruity taste.  I personally haven’t had much experience with red tea, but it’s something I’m interested in.  Red tea has lots of antioxidants that provide protection from free radical damage, not to mention is filled with vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, vitamin c, and zinc.  It also may help calm and soothe the nervous system, helping you relax during the day.
Rooibos Tea
This tea, like black and green, is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids.  Besides containing antioxidants that’s not found in other teas, rooibos tea can limit the effect of free radicals and slow the process of aging.  Rooibos tea is also recommended for people suffering from irritability, headaches, disturbed sleeping patterns, insomnia, nervous tension, mild depression, and hypertension.  A couple more crazy benefits?  It also contains lots of fluoride for healthy teeth, and has a soothing effect on the skin, relieving itching and and certain skin irritations like eczema, diaper rash, and acne when directly applied to the affected area.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I want to start drinking rooibos today, like, TODAY.
Herbal Tea
Although people think of herbal tea as a type of tea, it really isn’t, not in the true sense.  It doesn’t contain tea leaves, it only contains an infusion of herbs.  When the herbs are heated in water, their medicinal properties seep out.  Herbal tea can provide people with laxative, curative, sedative, refreshing, or antacid effects.  Some popular herbal teas include chamomile, mint, ginger, and jasmine, all which have different kinds of healthy effects on people.
There are many, many different kinds of herbal teas, and it would take forever to list them here in this blog.  Which is why I will introduce you to a new kind of tea every week.  One week it might be as common as chamomile tea, the next week it might be something you’ve never heard of, like boneset tea, and each tea will come from the categories I mentioned in this blog.  So prepare yourself for lots of learning, and prepare yourself for a healthier lifestyle.  You might be surprised at yourself for finding a new favorite drink!
Happy drinking!
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Author:

I have way too much information floating around in my head, which is why I write things down. I find that books, movies, music, and television are much more interesting than my local news.

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