I’ve been an avid tea drinker for years. I haven’t started drinking tea because of its health benefits, even though in my family tea was mostly reserved for the times you were sick. I just loved the taste and the feeling. It made me warm when I was cold, it made me feel cosy when I was tired, and it provided comfort when I was sad.
But tea really is good for your health, and that’s something I would like to talk about in this post. I’ll start with “real” teas, those made from the tea plant or tea tree – Camellia Sinesis. Those are black, oolong, green, yellow, and white tea. I want to explain the main differences between them, even though all of them have similar effects on your health. Then, I’ll mention some other types of teas, not all of them, of course, because there are so many it’s impossible to count.
Black tea is probably the most popular type of tea. It’s the most oxidized type of tea, and it’s completely fermented. That makes it the strongest in flavour and darkest in colour. It contains caffeine, but it is not true that black tea contains the most caffeine. All kinds of tea contain approximately the same level of caffeine, but it depends on the part of the plant used and the brewing technique.
When it comes to health benefits, black tea is proven to lower the risk of a stroke and heart attack. The antioxidants in black tea improve metabolism, lower the risk of high cholesterol and diabetes, and even help in prevention of some types of cancer (for example ovarian cancer). It may also lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Black tea can, however, boost your blood pressure, but the effect doesn’t last long, and can help those with low blood pressure when they suffer for dizziness.
Oolong tea is the next type of tea when it comes to the level of oxidation. It’s higher in the level of antioxidants than black tea.
I must admit I have never tasted oolong tea, as it’s not very popular in my country, and I don’t know as much about it. However, what I do know is that it is said that it combines the best qualities of black and green tea.
Green tea is less oxidized than black tea, which makes it’s flavour milder. This also means that green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea, so you get even more health benefits from it. Its taste is a little grassier than the taste of black and oolong tea.
Green tea helps with prevention of some types of cancer, Parkinson’s and even Alzheimer’s disease. It boosts your metabolism and lowers your cholesterol level. It’s also frequently used in cosmetic products. Because of the antioxidants it contains, it’s a good anti-inflammatory agent, it rejuvenates the skin, and has a sun protective effect.
Yellow tea is processed in the same way as green tea, but it’s drying process is longer – damp leaves are left to sit and gain yellow colour, which also gives it a different smell. It’s made from the buds of the tea plant, before they turn to leaves.
Yellow tea has the same amount of antioxidants as green tea, and similar health benefits. However, it’s taste is milder and much less grassy, which is something most people don’t like about green tea.
I love the taste of yellow tea! I remember how sad I was when my mother forbade me to drink it once. She said her friend drank a lot of yellow tea to lose weight, and it did help, but a little too much. She lost too much weight in a short time and had many health issues because of that. However, even though yellow tea, as all other teas, helps with metabolism and digestion, which helps when you want to lose weight, it can’t do that kind of damage to you. The woman from the story was probably on a strict diet. My mother also realized that, and now I can drink yellow tea again. 🙂
White tea goes through minimal oxidation during processing. Similarly to yellow tea, it is made from the buds and leaves of the tea plant, and the buds give it its white colouring. Its taste and smell are similar to that of green tea, but a little milder, and less grassy.
White tea is not as popular as the other kinds of teas, and it’s not researched as much. However, it contains the most antioxidants, so it is considered to have the most health benefits. I have also discovered it just recently, and it has become my favourite!
Other types of tea
Mint tea is made from peppermint leaves. Personally, I’m not a fan of the taste of mint. For me, it’s something that goes in toothpastes and chewing gums and refreshes your breath. (Mint tea does that, too!) However, mint tea is very popular so it’s impossible not to be familiar with it.
Besides helping with dental hygiene, mint tea helps to soothe an upset stomach, vomiting or nausea, and it helps with digestion. It also helps with coughs, respiratory problems, and is beneficial for those suffering from asthma. It’s also a good idea to drink mint tea before going to bed if you suffer from sleep deprivation, as it relaxes you and helps you get some good night sleep. Because of its relaxing qualities, mint tea can also help those suffering from stress and/or anxiety.
However, when it comes to sleep deprivation and stress, nothing is better than a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile is a herb similar to daisy, and its healing powers were often used in traditional medicine.
Chamomile tea is high in antioxidants. Besides relaxation, chamomile tea helps with menstrual cramps, and can prevent some types of cancer. Chamomile is used in cosmetics as well, both for the skin and hair care.
Sage tea is very popular in my country, and it was even more popular in the past. If you had a cold – you drank sage tea. (All teas can help with cold, though.)
Sage helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also an effective antioxidant. However, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
When you think of nettle, you imagine it burning you. However, nettle tea actually helps to rejuvenate skin and helps with skin infections. It’s used to relieve allergy symptoms, and it helps with respiratory issues and asthma. It supports the kidneys and helps break down kidney stones. It’s also a great source of minerals.
Because it’s made from, obviously, a fruit, cranberry tea contains vitamins and minerals which can’t be found in other teas. This is the case with most fruit teas, which I’m not going to mention in this post.
This tea is most known as a medicine for urinary infections. However, it’s is advised not to drink it during pregnancy.
And here my list ends. In the end, I just want to add that all teas have one more purpose – they are great reading companions. 🙂