I made the switch from coffee to tea almost 2 years ago, but I
always preferred tea to coffee. I believe that herbal teas do have
powerful healing factors to help us stay healthy.
Herbal teas are specially blended teas that have medicinal
properties to maintain health and help prevent illness. In
addition, herbal teas are caffeine free. I read several journal
articles and studies that support research that the flavonoids are
the key health-promoting ingredient in tea. These polyphenol
antioxidants are present in many foods and plants, including
tealeaves, and have been found to help prevent cell damage. Recent
research suggests that teas may protect against heart disease and
many types of cancer.
I have three favorite herbal teas that I want to share with you
tea's antioxidants, called catechins, scavenge for free radicals
that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and
atherosclerosis. There is a lot of research about green tea, mostly
more lab studies and epidemiological studies. The tea is "green"
because of its minimal processing--its leaves are withered and
steamed, not fermented like black and oolong teas--and its unique
catechins, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), are more
concentrated. I personally drink green tea at least 3-4x a
Black tea is a
product made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The aged leaves and
stems are used to make medicine. Green tea, which is made from
fresh leaves of the same plant, has some different properties.
According to my research, black tea is used for improving mental
alertness as well as learning, memory and information processing
skills. I came across some interesting studies that say black tea
has been used to help treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and it
also contains antioxidants and other substances that might help
protect the heart and blood vessels. I usually drink black tea 1-2x
Like black and
green tea, white tea is also derived from Camellia Sinensis. Thus,
white tea shares many of the same chemical properties and health
effects of tea. However, white tea contains the most antioxidants.
The catechins, a group of polyphenol antioxidants found in white
tea, have been found to reduce cholesterol, decrease blood
pressure, and improve the function of blood vessels, thereby
decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. I also read a study
that mentioned that white tea has been shown to help antibacterial
and antiviral action, but also help with anti-inflammatory
properties to help potentially reduce the risk of developing
rheumatoid arthritis. I drink white tea 2x a week as well.
Overall, I enjoy all the three teas. I also drink chamomile and
ginger teas. Instead of Starbucks, there are some great alternative
teashops like Bello Teas in Downers Grove and Adagio Teas in
Naperville. I highly recommend them both.
Brewing Tips: Tap water affects the taste of
tea. It is best to use fresh filtered water. To extract the most
beneficial compounds from the tealeaves or bags, let them steep for
three to five minutes. It is best to drink tea unsweetened and
without milk, which can minimize some of the health benefits. Forgo
the sugar and try instead honey, stevia products, or a stick of
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