Tea: A Healthy and Delicious Drink
Tea is the most popular beverage in the world after water. It’s a simple preparation of pouring hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The first recording of tea described it as a medicinal beverage in China in the 3rd century AD.
Merchants helped its popularity to spread quickly across continents. In the early 19th century, Great Britain popularized the concept of afternoon tea, a break from one’s routine in which tea is served alongside sandwiches and baked goods such as scones. The flavor of tea varies by where the tea leaves are harvested and how they are grown and processed.
Black tea is the most popular worldwide, followed by green, oolong, and white tea.
TEA AND HEATH
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, but it also has many health benefits.
Tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which can protect cells from damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases . Different types of tea have different levels of caffeine and polyphenols, which may affect their health effects
What Are The Health Benefits of Tea?
People all over the world have been drinking tea for thousands of centuries, and for good reason. Numerous studies have shown that a variety of teas may boost your immune system, fight off inflammation, and even ward off cancer and heart disease.
Tea has been found to have several health benefits. These include:
1) Helping with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
2) Encouraging weight loss
3) Lowering cholesterol
4) Bringing about mental alertness
5) Having antimicrobial qualities
6) Boosting the immune system
7) Fighting off inflammation
8) Warding off cancer and heart disease
9) Preventing chronic diseases and helping repair cells in the body
10) Reducing the risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes when consumed in moderate amounts (2-3 cups daily).
Decaffeinated tea is an option if you enjoy the flavor and experience of tea but are sensitive to caffeine. People have varying sensitivity to caffeine but it is classified as a stimulant that has the potential to affect the nervous system and heart rate, and cause jitteriness. In general, traditional teas already have about half the caffeine of coffee and even less if the brewing time is shorter.
To decaffeinate tea, there are different methods. One process uses an organic chemical solvent (either ethyl acetate or methylene chloride) that also removes most of tea’s polyphenols. The residual amount of the chemical after processing is minimal to none, and no research has shown negative health effects. Another method called “effervescence” uses water and carbon dioxide, which retains the majority of polyphenols. Both methods apply the chemical or gas onto moistened tea leaves, which bonds to the caffeine; when the leaves are dried, the caffeine evaporates along with the solvent/gas. If you wish to know which processing method is used, check the package label or contact the manufacturer.
Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free and do not undergo a decaffeination process.
Most research looks at the health effects of traditional teas, not decaffeinated. Decaffeinated tea may lose polyphenols that are associated with health benefits, depending on the processing method. Polyphenol content varies widely among teas even before the decaffeinated process, so it is hard to know the exact amount that remains. Regardless of decaffeination type, tea is still considered a healthful beverage choice.
If you visit a tea shop, you may be surprised and overwhelmed by just how many different teas exist! Traditional teas originating from the Camellia sinensis plant include black, white, green, yellow, and oolong, all of which contain caffeine. Black tea is made by crushing and drying fresh tea leaves and allowing them to ferment, which oxidizes the leaves and changes their color and flavor. Oolong tea is partly fermented, and green tea undergoes no fermentation. Matcha is a special form of green tea in which the dried leaves are ground into a fine powder.
Decaffeinated teas have been processed to remove most of the naturally occurring caffeine from the leaves. They may still contain trace amounts of caffeine. This is done by using carbon dioxide, ethyl acetate, methylene chloride, or water processing.
sachets of a variety of tea blendsHerbal teas that are naturally caffeine-free include chamomile, peppermint, vanilla, turmeric, ginger, and fruit essence teas. They may have notes of floral, fruit, mint, spice, grassiness, sweetness, or bitterness. The varieties are vast, and the choice is completely up to your personal preferences.
Teas are packaged in tea bags, tea sachets, or as loose-leaf. Loose-leaf teas sold in tin canisters or sacks allow you to control how much tea to use, using more to create a stronger flavor or less for more mellowness. Tea bags and sachets hold a standard amount of leaves for optimum flavor and are portable.
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There are five elements to avoid to keep tea as fresh as possible: light, heat, moisture, odor, and air. Tea bags should be stored in their original container or placed in a sealed plastic bin. Loose-leaf teas should be stored in an airtight container. Place all teas in a dark cupboard at a consistent room temperature. Tea tends to absorb odors from food and even other strongly scented teas, so keep them separate. Freezing and refrigerating is not recommended as the moisture introduced can degrade the tea.
If unopened, tea will last about one year beyond the “best by” date. After opening, packaged and loose-leaf teas last about one year. However, some black and oolong teas can last up to two years, and more delicate teas may last only 6 months. The flavor is your best guide to determining how long to keep a tea in your cupboard.
The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.
Curtesy : The President and Fellows of Harvard College