With the exception of water, tea is consumed in larger amounts than any other type of beverages. The Chinese have been drinking this beverage for over 5,000 years. The main tea producing countries include China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Japan. With lower death rates due to cardiovascular disease among Asians compared to the rest of the world, we should learn from them by including tea in our daily diets.
A majority of the tea that is provided worldwide come from a tropical evergreen tree that is native to China and Japan. This tree, which is called camellia sinensis, is a producer of several thousand different varieties of tea. “How can one tree produce so many types of tea?” You may wonder. It all depends on a few factors. The first factor is how the leaves are processed and prepared. While tea leaves are withered and dried, some types of tea, such as black tea go through an oxidation or fermentation process. Another factor is which part of the tree is harvested for the tea. While some is made from the leaves of the tree, other types of tea come from the buds and bark. Other factors include time of year, soil conditions and climates. All these factors determine what type of tea is being made.
If you do not already drink tea, there are many healthy reasons why you should start. Replacing you daily cup of coffee with a cup or two of your favorite tea can:
- Decrease the risks of having a heart attack, having high blood pressure and having high levels of bad cholesterol-and even plays a role in increasing levels of good cholesterol
- Decreased the risk of having a stroke since tea improves the functioning of blood vessels
- Decrease the risk of developing blood clots
- Decrease the risk of you developing rheumatoid arthritis
- Decrease the risk of getting bad breath, cavities and gum disease-the bacteria fighting properties may even fight the bacteria that causes food poisoning before you get sick from the tainted food you eat
- Decrease the amount of free radicals in your body
- Decrease the chance of getting diabetes
- Decreases the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease
- Decrease in the amount of cortisol which is the stress hormone
- Reduces the symptoms if asthma and hay fever.
- Make you more immune to a variety of colds, the flu and viruses
- Increase mineral bone density in your spine
- Increase metabolism in your body which in turn increase the chance that you lose weight-and helps your body burn more calories
- Increase of mental awareness
- Increase of energy
- Contains anti-spasmodic properties-helps relieve heartburn, nausea and vomiting
- Contains anti-inflammatory properties-excellent pain reliever
- Loaded with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, fluoride, zinc and alpha hydroxy acid
Not all tea comes from the camellis sinensis bush. Some tea, such as herbal teas, are made and infused the same way tea is made. However, they come from different plants, fruits and flowers. Some of the unique flavors include lemongrass, cinnamon, orange peel and chamomile. However, do not be afraid to drink these herbal infusions; these teas have their own health benefits as well. These include:
Soothing the Stomach
Relieving Cold Symptoms
Calming the Nerves
Aiding the Cardiovascular System
Relieving Nausea and Vomiting
High in Vitamin C
While you may enjoy drinking tea with some milk or cream added, it is best to drink it without adding anything to it. Tea contains compounds called catechins. These compounds are excellent disease and infection fighters. If you want to add flavoring to your tea, try adding a tablespoon of lemon to it. Since many teas are a natural source of fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay, it is best to drink tea without adding sugar. Adding sugar will counteract with the benefits of fluoride.
If you do not care for the strong taste of tea, you can try a milder version called white tea. This type of tea comes from the same bush as the other teas. However, in making this tea, the younger, immature leaves are used. It has a liter flavor . Since it does not go through as much extensive processing as the darker teas, most of the health benefits are retained.
Always bring you water to a full boil before you brew your tea. If you are using loose tea, add one tablespoon of tea per cup of hot water. If you are using teabags, use on bag per cup. Allow the tea to steep for at least five minutes. Do not drink the tea right away, because you will not experience the full health benefits. Allowing the tea to sit for a few minutes, allows the water to absorb all the nutrients and vitamins from the leaves.
Tea is a natural diuretic. Therefore, while it is excellent in cleaning toxins out of your kidneys, you will notice that you will urinate more often. If you are going to be a distance from a bathroom, such as when you are traveling, keep that into consideration.
Since some teas contain caffeine, avoid drinking this beverage at night. It might make it difficult to get to sleep.
Tea tastes great and is good for you. With so many different flavors out there, try a large variety. Find out which ones you like best. If you are under stress, sit down with a cup of tea to unwind. Whether it is hot tea or chilled over ice, it will help you relax and give you a piece of mind.