CLARITEA - Why Drinking Tea May Save Your Life
The difference between tea and coffee is simple: coffee is deliberately hurried and tea is deliberately unhurried. When coffee is ordered people want it quick, and drink it immediately. You order it, grab it and go.
Tea on the other hand takes patience and precision. If the water is too hot or it steeps too long, it can turn bitter. Tea demands one’s attention. It forces one to be present, to slow down. The goal is not to get to the next meeting or appointment. Tea is for those that have made an intention to be here now. It’s no wonder that Americans are slow to embrace it.
Surprisingly tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water. Well known for its health properties, it’s been used medicinally in China for over 5000 years. The U.S is the third largest importer in the world and the tea market is growing rapidly due to widely publicized reports of its wellness benefits.
Unlike brewed coffee, which typically has 100-200 mg. of caffeine, brewed tea typically has far less, on average 20-80 mg. of caffeine per 8 oz. cup. It has become clear that tea can supply the energy and the nutrients needed to maintain balance and even fight off disease with or without caffeine.
There are primary 3 types of tea. Teas from the plant Camellia Sinensis which include Black Tea, Green Tea, White Tea, Oolong Tea and Pu-erh Tea all contain caffeine. Herbal teas are made from the flowers, leaves and stems of herbs and contain no caffeine. The last are blends which may contain herbal teas and any other type of tea.
Black teas are made from the leaves of a shrub called Camellia sinensis. The harvested leaves go through a process called oxidation (they are exposed to moist oxygen-rich air), which turns the leaves a dark brown color. Tea manufactures control the amount of oxidation that takes place. Black tea naturally has 20- 80 mg. of caffeine and has theophylline, which can help speed up your heart rate and make you feel more alert. In addition, antioxidants in the tea are the organic substances that scavenge "free radicals," the toxic by-product of natural biological processes that can damage cells and lead to cancer. Specifically polyphenol antioxidants in black tea can help block DNA damage. Compelling evidence has shown these polyphenols help prevent some types of cancer.
Green teas are also from the plant Camellia Sinensis however the tea leaves do not go through the oxidation process, leaving them green in color. These teas are known for being high in antioxidants and polyphenols. In particular, green tea has a high content of catechins, which are antioxidants that fight and may even prevent cell damage. Green tea has been proven scientifically to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol and to help many heart related issues. And what is good for your heart is also typically good for your brain. Green tea has ben associated with improved memory as well as blocking the plaque linked to Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps stabilize blood sugar in people with diabetes. Christopher Ochner, PhD, a research scientist in nutrition at Mount Sinai Hospital has been quoted as saying “It's the healthiest thing I can think of to drink”. Green tea has on average 24-45 mg. of caffeine.
White tea comes from the buds and leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither and dry in natural sunlight. White tea is the least processed of all teas, and has a sweeter, milder flavor than green. The National Cancer Institute reports that both white and green teas contain about the same amount of catechins. White tea has 30-55 mg. of caffeine.
Oolong tea is a product made from the leaves, buds, and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. This unique process includes withering the plant under the sun and oxidation before curling and twisting each leaf. Oolong tea is used to sharpen thinking skills and improve mental alertness. Some people use oolong tea to treat diabetes, high cholesterol and skin allergies; and to boost the immune system. Oolong teas have 50-75 mg. of caffeine.
Pu-erh tea is made from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. Pu-erh tea’s processing includes both oxidation and then and aging period under high humidity. And like wine, the longer it ages, the better it is supposed to taste. Pu-erh tea is produced mainly in the Yunnan district in the southwestern part of China and has also gained popularity in Taiwan. Pu-erh is associated with lowering cholesterol and increasing mental alertness. More studies need to be done to prove this. Pu-erh contains 60-70 mg. of caffeine.
Herbal tea, or, more properly, tisane (pronounced “tis anne”) is any beverage made from the infusion or concoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water, and usually does not contain caffeine. Chamomile, peppermint, ginger, lemon balm and rosehip tea are all herbal teas and contain no caffeine. Chamomile has been known to be calming, whereas peppermint & ginger are great for digestion. Many herbs have great wellness benefits.
Dried herbs blended to produce a desired wellness outcome. Herbs are combined to treat specific health problems like insomnia, for detoxification, stress, anxiety, allergies, or cold symptoms. Wellness teas are also used proactively for immunity, digestion, energy, and to promote balance and wellbeing.
Tea has become like sunscreen. Even doctors drink it and recommend it daily because it has been proven to support health. Slow down and try a cup.