Hot tea. It used to evoke memories of being sick. When I was a kid, Mom would try to get me to drink hot tea when I had a sore throat. Which was often! Consequently, my only experience with this healthy brew was not a pleasant one until recently. In all my research, the benefits of green tea could no longer be ignored. I had to find out what I was missing. I started with green tea, iced and flavored, and found I really enjoyed it. Could I actually enjoy hot tea? You betcha’! You can too!
First, let’s talk health benefits. The antioxidants and polyphenols in tea may be responsible for some of its health benefits, such as stronger bones, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer – all of which are enjoyed by regular tea drinkers. So what kind is best? Depends. According to Dr. Weil each of the following teas have health benefits.
The Types of TeaGreen tea. With tea leaves that are steamed, rolled and dried – a method that preserves the content of polyphenols – green tea is high in antioxidants. Its flavor is a bit earthier than that of white tea. Green tea provides EGCG, a polyphenol than may help to fight inflammation, lower cholesterol, prevent cancer and boost the immune system. Oolong. This tea’s healthful properties (as well as taste and color) fall between those of green tea and black tea. It has a floral and fruity taste, and may help relieve itchy skin associated with atopic dermatitis. Black tea. This is the tea that the English, Irish and most Americans drink. The oxidation process causes the leaves to change both their color and flavor, reducing the content of polyphenols. It is a hearty tea that has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, colon cancer and the bacteria associated with cavities and bad breath. Pu-erh. Highly valued in China, pu-erh (pronounced POO-air) is a dark red tea that is bold and earthy and the most oxidized form of tea. It may help to reduce cholesterol and aid in digestion. (Source: Dr. Weil)
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Skip the Caffeine
While there are scientifically proven benefits to drinking tea, there are also fabulous health benefits in herbals. Rooibos is made from the South African red bush (Aspalathus linearis). Using rooibos instead of tea is a great way to enjoy a caffeine-free hot (or iced) drink without using any chemical decaffeination process.
Rooibos is full of antioxidants, Vitamins C and E, iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium. It is naturally sweet without adding sugar. I love Blueberry Rooibos from Rishi. Not only is it a tasty treat sensation that fills the house with happy smells, rooibos packs a punch as an antioxidant without the caffeine. This is a good one to have in the evening.
Why not start a healthy habit of relaxing for a few moments every day with a cup of tea? I’m glad I did!
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