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Different Types Of Tea And Their Wonderful Health Benefits

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Tea has been a part of our culture for thousands of years. When you wake up to a cup of tea, you know that it boosts your mood. But, do you know other amazing things it can do for your overall health?

All non-herbal teas are made from the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The variations in the processing steps make them different. For example, some of them undergo oxidation, while others don’t. The caffeine in these teas improves your brain function.1 Other herbal teas like peppermint tea and chamomile tea are made from the infusion of herbs, fruits, or spices in hot water. And they do not contain caffeine. Stay here to know more about different types of tea and their benefits.

1. Green Tea

Green Tea prevents heart disease and aging

This is one of the least processed teas. The amount of oxidation green teas undergo is very less. After picking, the fresh leaves are heated to inactivate enzymes, preventing oxidation.2 Thus, they retain most antioxidants, which make them special.

  • Green tea is rich in powerful antioxidants called polyphenols.3 These antioxidants are capable of neutralizing free radicals, thus, preventing damages they create such as heart disease and aging.
  • The presence of catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea lowers bad cholesterol (LDL).4
  • Apart from lowering cholesterol, this widely consumed beverage may reduce blood pressure, another heart disease risk factor.5
  • Also, the polyphenols play a role in protecting you from cancer. According to various population-based studies, both green tea and black tea help protect against cancer.6 A research study has indicated a lower risk of breast cancer with green tea consumption.7 However, whether green tea can cure cancer is still not proven. If you have diabetes, rely on green tea polyphenols and polysaccharides to control your blood sugar levels.8
  • You may have heard green tea can burn calories. The catechins or EGCG – caffeine mixture may have a small positive effect on weight loss and weight management.9 However, more research is needed to prove it.

Caution:

  • Children should not drink green tea as there are no studies on its pediatric use.10
  • Sometimes it may interact with other medications like adenosine, benzodiazepines, and birth control pills.11
  • If you suffer from liver problems, kidney problems, heart problems, or high blood pressure, talk to your practitioner before you use green tea.12
  • Drinking more than five cups of green tea a day may lead to more risks rather than benefits.13

2. Black Tea

Black Tea decreases cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure

The tea leaves are oxidized completely during the production process of black tea. And this oxidation stage provides the aroma, flavor, and color to it.

  • Drinking black tea with your normal diet can decrease cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure because of the antioxidant effects of tea polyphenols.14
  • It also improves the overall antioxidant status in humans.
  • Moreover, polyphenols may limit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. Thus, it significantly lowers LDL cholesterol, especially in people with higher cardiovascular risk.15
  • Are you worried about cigarette smoke-induced lung injury? Include black tea in your diet. A research study on animals has indicated that supplementation of black tea can prevent such damage.16
  • Apart from these benefits, the presence of fluorine in black tea can prevent your teeth from decay.
  • Supporting beneficial intestinal microflora, it also protects you from intestinal disorders.17

Caution:18

  • Too much black tea (more than five cups a day) is not safe.
  • Black tea which contains more than 10 grams of caffeine is likely unsafe. This high amount may cause death or other harmful side effects.
  • Small amounts of black tea are possibly safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Limit to 3 cups of black tea a day.
  • People who have anemia, anxiety disorders, bleeding disorders, diabetes, heart problems, diarrhea, and glaucoma should use black tea with caution.

3. White Tea

White Tea increases metabolism, promotes weight loss

Young leaves or growth buds undergo minimum oxidation in the production of white tea. Dry heat or steam are used to stop the oxidation process.

  • Like green tea, white tea can increase the antioxidant capacity.19
  • It contains catechins, a specific type of polyphenol, which can improve your cardiovascular function.
  • These catechins may also increase metabolism, promoting weight loss.20
  • The preliminary research found that white tea extract has more effective anti-cancer properties. However, more studies need to be done to recognize this property of white tea.21

Caution:

  • The usual consumption of white tea is safe.
  • However, high intake of it may affect absorption of iron. But, more detailed studies are required on this.22

4. Oolong Tea

Oolong tea reduces your diet-induced overweight or obesity

This tea is the most complex of all the tea categories. It is partially oxidized with characteristics of both green and black tea.23

  • By drinking oolong tea, you can reduce your diet-induced overweight or obesity. It reduces body fat content and body weight through improved lipid metabolism.24
  • Like green tea, the presence of powerful antioxidants, polyphenols in oolong tea enhances your digestive system.
  • In addition, they help in preventing cancer and heart disease.25
  • If you suffer from eczema, you can rely on oolong tea to get relief.26 The antiallergic properties of tea polyphenols might be the factor behind this.

Caution:

  • Long-term intake of oolong tea may increase the risk of developing diabetes.27 Further studies are required on this.
  • Massive ingestion of oolong tea leads to high caffeine intake, which may result in rhabdomyolysis – a condition that affects muscle tissue.28

5. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea prevents progress of hyperglycemia and diabetic complications

This is one of the most popular herbal teas. It is prepared from the dried flowers of Matricaria.

  • Chamomile tea is an effective sleep-inducer. Traditionally, chamomile tea has been used to treat insomnia.29 The flavonoids, a group of antioxidant phytonutrients are believed to be responsible for the sedative effect.
  • It is also claimed that the tea fights cold, sore throats, acne, eczema, digestive problems, and boosts immunity. However, more studies are needed to establish these health benefits of chamomile tea.
  • Animal studies have indicated that German chamomile improves inflammation, wound healing, and muscle spasms.30
  • Chamomile tea is also effective in preventing the progress of hyperglycemia and diabetic complications.31
  • And the good news is that if you wash your face with chamomile tea, it will leave a healthy glow on your face.32

Caution:

  • Large amounts of highly concentrated chamomile tea may cause nausea and vomiting.33
  • Do not drive after drinking the tea as it causes drowsiness.34
  • Pregnant women, people with asthma, and those who are allergic to ragweed should not drink chamomile tea.35
  • Most chamomile-induced reactions occurred because of Roman chamomile than German chamomile, the type typically grown in the United States.36
  • Talk to your doctor for pediatric use. You should not give more than half a cup of tea for children under five.37
  • Be careful of possible interactions of this herb with a few drugs like those for blood pressure and diabetes.38

6. Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea strengthens your bones

Consumed in South Africa for centuries, this red in color tea is made by fermenting the leaves from a shrub called Aspalathus linearis. The caffeine-free herbal drink with low tannin level is an alternative to black or green tea.

  • If you want to strengthen your bones, drink this tea. The protective antioxidant effect of its polyphenols could benefit your bones.39
  • Even though many consider it as a source of vitamins and minerals, studies prove it wrong. Except for copper and fluoride, it does not have any other minerals.40
  • But, it can be a source of dietary antioxidants in humans. The antioxidant properties of aspalathin and nothofagin may benefit the treatment of diabetic complications.41
  • Moreover, raising the good cholesterol level and improving blood pressure, it can reduce the risk for heart diseases.42
  • Also, quercetin and luteolin, the two flavonoids present in rooibos tea are potent antioxidants that can inhibit the growth of pancreatic tumor cells.43

Caution:

  • A case study has indicated that large amounts of rooibos tea may increase liver enzymes.44

Tea Leaves vs Tea Bags

Now that you know the benefits of tea, you must be wondering about the best way to make a tea? Tea bags or tea leaves? The debate whether tea bags are as good as tea leaves is going on for a long time. Tea phytochemicals such as catechins degrade over time.45 Also, catechins are higher in the whole leaf than in the pieces and dust. Hence, tea bags may lack some of the benefits. Moreover, tea bags itself may absorb some of the catechins, thus, making the tea less nutritious. And they may restrict leaves from interacting with water.46 However, tea bags are not without merits. The dust and fannings in the tea bag are more likely to interact with the water.47 Even though there are no studies to back up, it is believed that tea tastes best when made with tea leaves.

Brewing a tasty cup of tea brings you many health benefits. But, make sure that you brew it the right way. Use fresh cold water, bottled or filtered water instead of hot tap water, which has less oxygen. For a cup of tea, heat about 8-ounces of water and use 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose tea.48 However, if the tea is too strong or too weak, you can change the amount accordingly. Also, preheat the teapot or cup in which your tea leaves will be steeped by filling it with hot water. Cover the tea mug when you steep tea leaves directly in it. For the correct brewing time and temperature, follow the directions as prescribed in the tea package.

References   [ + ]

1. Currell, Kevin. Performance Nutrition. The Crowood Press, 2016.
2. Preedy, Victor R., ed. Tea in health and disease prevention. Academic Press, 2013.
3, 6, 10, 11, 12. Green Tea. University of Maryland Medical Center.
4. Muirhead, William E. Green Tea- Its Hidden Benefits. Lulu.com, 2008.
5. Green Tea. National Center For Complementary and Integrative Health.
7. Sun, Can-Lan, Jian-Min Yuan, Woon-Puay Koh, and C. Yu Mimi. “Green tea, black tea and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies.” Carcinogenesis 27, no. 7 (2006): 1310-1315.
8. Green Tea Lowers the Blood Sugar Level. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
9. Hursel, R., W. Viechtbauer, and M. S. Westerterp-Plantenga. “The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis.” International journal of obesity 33, no. 9 (2009): 956-961.
13. Green tea may lower heart disease risk. Harvard Medical School.
14. Bahorun, Theeshan, Amitabye Luximon-Ramma, Vidushi S. Neergheen-Bhujun, Teeluck Kumar Gunness, Kreshna Googoolye, Cyril Auger, Alan Crozier, and Okezie I. Aruoma. “The effect of black tea on risk factors of cardiovascular disease in a normal population.” Preventive medicine 54 (2012): S98-S102.
15. Zhao, Yimin, Sailimuhan Asimi, Kejian Wu, Jusheng Zheng, and Duo Li. “Black tea consumption and serum cholesterol concentration: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Clinical Nutrition 34, no. 4 (2015): 612-619.
16. Banerjee, Shuvojit, Palas Maity, Subhendu Mukherjee, Alok K. Sil, Koustubh Panda, Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, and Indu B. Chatterjee. “Black tea prevents cigarette smoke-induced apoptosis and lung damage.” Journal of inflammation 4, no. 1 (2007): 3.
17. Crum, Hannh, Alex LaGory. The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea. Storey Publishing, 2016.
18. Black Tea. MedlinePlus.
19. Koutelidakis, Antonios E., Konstantina Argiri, Mauro Serafini, Charalambos Proestos, Michael Komaitis, Monia Pecorari, and Maria Kapsokefalou. “Green tea, white tea, and Pelargonium purpureum increase the antioxidant capacity of plasma and some organs in mice.” Nutrition 25, no. 4 (2009): 453-458.
20. Tea: Drink to your health?. Harvard Health Publications.
21. Preedy, Victor R., ed. Tea in health and disease prevention. Academic Press, 2012.
22. Pérez-Llamas, Francisca, Daniel González, Lorena Cabrera, Cristobal Espinosa, Jose A. López, Elvira Larqué, M. Pilar Almajano, and Salvador Zamora. “White tea consumption slightly reduces iron absorption but not growth, food efficiency, protein utilization, or calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc absorption in rats.” Journal of physiology and biochemistry 67, no. 3 (2011): 331-337.
23. Donaldson, Babette. The Everything Healthy Tea Book: Discover the Healing Benefits of Tea. Simon and Schuster, 2014.
24. He, Rong-rong, Ling Chen, Bing-hui Lin, Yokichi Matsui, Xin-sheng Yao, and Hiroshi Kurihara. “Beneficial effects of oolong tea consumption on diet-induced overweight and obese subjects.” Chinese journal of integrative medicine 15, no. 1 (2009): 34-41.
25. Rogers, Aimee. Tea, Nature’s Wonder Drink: The Natural Way To Drink Yourself Healthier & Slimmer. BookBaby, 2013.
26. Uehara, Masami, Hisashi Sugiura, and Kensei Sakurai. “A trial of oolong tea in the management of recalcitrant atopic dermatitis.” Archives of dermatology 137, no. 1 (2001): 42-43.
27. Hayashino, Y., S. Fukuhara, Tomonori Okamura, T. Tanaka, and H. Ueshima. “High oolong tea consumption predicts future risk of diabetes among Japanese male workers: a prospective cohort study.” Diabetic Medicine 28, no. 7 (2011): 805-810.
28. Kamijo, Y., K. Soma, Y. Asari, and T. Ohwada. “Severe rhabdomyolysis following massive ingestion of oolong tea: caffeine intoxication with coexisting hyponatremia.” Veterinary and human toxicology 41, no. 6 (1999): 381-383.
29, 31. Srivastava, Janmejai K., Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular medicine reports 3, no. 6 (2010): 895.
30, 34, 37, 38. German chamomile. University of Maryland Medical Center.
32. Finlay, Sandra M. Home Remedies to Indulge Your Skin, Scalp and Hair. Lulu Press, 2013.
33, 36. Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs: The Essential Guide to More Than 125 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies. Rodale, 2010.
35. German chamomile. University of Maryland Medical Center.
39. Nash, L. A., and W. E. Ward. “Comparison of black, green and rooibos tea on osteoblast activity.” Food & function 7, no. 2 (2016): 1166-1175.
40, 43. Erickson, Laurie. “Rooibos tea: Research into antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.” HerbalGram 59 (2003): 34-45.
41. Ku, Sae-Kwang, Soyoung Kwak, Yaesol Kim, and Jong-Sup Bae. “Aspalathin and nothofagin from rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) inhibits high glucose-induced inflammation in vitro and in vivo.” Inflammation 38, no. 1 (2015): 445-455.
42. Marnewick, Jeanine L., Fanie Rautenbach, Irma Venter, Henry Neethling, Dee M. Blackhurst, Petro Wolmarans, and Muiruri Macharia. “Effects of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) on oxidative stress and biochemical parameters in adults at risk for cardiovascular disease.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 133, no. 1 (2011): 46-52.
44. Sinisalo, Marjatta, Anna-Liisa Enkovaara, and Kari T. Kivistö. “Possible hepatotoxic effect of rooibos tea: a case report.” European journal of clinical pharmacology 66, no. 4 (2010): 427-428.
45, 46. Does tea lose its health benefits if it’s been stored a long time? And is it better to use loose tea or tea bags? Tufts Now.
47. Bagged tea versus loose leaf: Which is better? Go Ask Alice.
48. Brewing A Tasty Cup Of Tea. University Of Nebraska-Lincoln.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.