More tea, please: The benefits

No matter what time of the year it is, tea can be a delicious beverage as it is served iced or hot.

But what some may not know, is that the benefits go far beyond the taste. There is a plethora of research showing that drinking tea can actually improve your health. Studies have shown teas can help protect your teeth and your heart, as well as possibly even ridding cancer.

So, which type of tea should you drink? All non-herbal teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The amount of time the leaves are processed determines whether you end up with a green, black or oolong tea.

Oolong tea

Typically known as the “Chinese restaurant tea,” oolong tea resides in the same family as green and black tea. This tea is made by lightly heating the freshly picked leaves to halt the process of oxidation — making it a semi-oxidized drink. Some of the main health benefits include: reduction of cholesterol levels, clear skin, boosts immune system, prevents tooth decay, builds strong bones and treats the blood sugar level of diabetes.

Here’s how to make your own oolong tea from home:

  1. Start by boiling some water in a kettle. Meanwhile, rinse and warm up the tea set.
  2. Add some oolong tea leaves to the teapot so that they occupy nearly 5 percent of the space in the tea pot.
  3. Pour boiling water into the pot and push away the white floating bubbles, which form on the top with the help of the cover.
  4. Cover the tea pot for a few minutes and let it steep.
  5. You are done! Pour it into tea cups and savor its delicate aroma and rich taste.

Black tea 

The name “black tea” is used because of the liquids dark tea liquor, except, it actually is dark amber or orange in color. This tea is made by withering the leaves to rid the moisture. The leaves are then rolled through exposure to high temperature, making it a fully-oxidized drink. Some of the main health benefits of black tea are: lowers risk of heart disease, prevents cancer, boosts the immune system, betters oral health, stimulates the brain and nervous system, and benefits the digestive tract.

Here’s how to make your own black tea from home:

  1. Start by boiling some water in a kettle. Meanwhile, rinse and warm up the tea set.
  2. Spoon out loose leaf tea or add tea bags to a pot or a cup. Your tea must be fresh. Measure 1 heaped teaspoon or tea bag for 1 cup of tea and 1 extra if using a pot.
  3. Pour freshly boiled water directly onto the tea.
  4. Stir the tea once. Then let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes. You can increase the brewing time by 1-2 minutes for a stronger cup.
  5. Stir once more and strain the tea or remove the tea bags at the end of the specified brewing period.
  6. You are done! Enjoy the taste of your strong and bold black tea.

Green tea

Green tea is known to be a healthier substitute to normal beverages like coffee and other types of tea, owing to its lower caffeine content and strong, natural antioxidants. This tea is made by steaming the green leaves, which helps prevent the catechins from oxidizing, making it a an unoxidized drink. Some of the main benefits of green tea are: weight loss, reduces cholesterol, maintains healthy skin, manages diabetes and blood pressure, reduces stress and depression, and promotes dental health.

Here’s how to make your own green tea from home:

  1.  Place the tea leaves in the teapot.
  2. Prepare water at the appropriate temperature. Pour the water from the kettle into the tea cups to bring it to the appropriate temperature and then pour it into the teapot.
  3. Wait while the tea’s components infuse.
  4. To ensure the tea’s strength is even, pour a little tea at a time into each cup. Pour the tea until the last drop is poured.
  5. You are all done! Savor this healthy, hot tea filled with healthy antioxidants.

Sources: http://www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/top-10-health-benefits-drinking-tea-t81111, http://www.stylecraze.com, http://www.dilmah.com/make-the-perfect-cup-of-black-tea, http://www.itoen.co.jp/eng/allabout_greentea/how_to_prepare.html

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