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Teas and Your Health

Nov 29, 2007
There are many teas that have been drunk throughout the ages. They are basically infusions of plants, usually the leaves and sometimes the flowers, by boiling them with water. Teas can be drunk hot or cold and are used for a variety of ailments. Teas of different sorts are drunk worldwide.

The official tea that we drink is the second most popular beverage and grown in the mountainous regions of China, India, Sir Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal, Georgia, Japan, Kenya, Malawi and Taiwan. The tea we drink is taken from the top leaves and the buds of the Camellia Sinensis tree. These leaves are specially dried and then crushed for maximum flavor.

Tea is a mild stimulant, with small amounts of caffeine. It has far less than its counterpart coffee. It also has small amounts of vitamin A, B2, C, D, K, and P. there are also trace amounts of some minerals. Overall it is good for your health. It is recommended that about 3 cups of tea and more should be drunk a day to get the healthful qualities of this beverage.

There are 4 common forms of tea are:

Black tea
White tea
Oolong tea
Green tea

Black tea is the most common form of tea and is known as the famous "English tea" as this is drunk predominantly in Britain and the Western world. This tea is drunk hot but can also be used to brew the famous iced tea. It is made from the leaves of the tea plant and is completely fermented. This results in its darker color. It is more of a stimulant than the other teas and a more intense taste. Sometimes it is drunk with lemon but most commonly with milk.

White tea comes from the bud of the tea plant. It undergoes little or no processing (fermenting or oxidizing) this brings out the antioxidants but will reduce the stimulant quality of this tea. Because the buds can only be harvested in the spring season this tea is not so common and fairly expensive.

Oolong tea is fermented more than green tea but less than black. Research has shown that this tea helps the digestive system and is good for metabolism.

Green tea is also not fermented like white tea but is made from more mature leaves so is much more common and affordable. This tea was predominantly drunk in the Orient namely Japan and China, but is gaining new ground in the West as research is showing the beneficial properties of this form of tea. Again it has more antitoxins (flavonoids) and is less of a stimulant. Added to this it has vitamin C and fluoride.

Tea Houses are becoming very popular especially in fashionable areas of Europe like Paris. As more research comes to light we will hear more about the benefits of this popular drink. So the next time you relax with a good refreshing cup of tea you can rest assured that your favorite beverage is also good for your health.
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