Tea or Camellia Sinensis
One of the most interesting facts about tea is that all types of tea, black, green, white, oolong and red, comes from the same plant or the Camellia Sinensis, which is the scientific classification for the tea plant.
What determines the tea’s colour is the processing of the newly picked leaves. Camellia is native to most of Southeast Asia, but is cultivated throughout the world or wherever it is possible e.g. in Japan and India.
Herbal teas are not made of Camellia but we call it tea anyway mainly because we brew herbal teas in similar way.
Four main types of tea are: White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea and Black tea.
Black tea is the most common tea throughout the world and teas like Earl grey and English breakfast blends are made of Black tea.
White tea is the most delicate and probably the most powerful one. It brews a very airy aroma and a very fruity taste. When described as the most powerful one then we are referring to the fact that White tea offers more powerful antioxidant properties than other types of tea.
Green tea is as well known type and offers great health benefits too. It is very popular in Japan and China.
Oolong tea is also known as Wu long tea and is somewhere between Green and Black tea. It has been proven that it can help people to shed pounds and is often used in all kinds of diets.
Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world after water.
Why should we drink tea?
Many studies and researches show that tea has some important health benefits. Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Many herbs have important benefits as well. In this article the focus is on tea or drinks that are made of leaves from the plant Camellia Sinensis.
Tea can boost exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
- Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
- The antioxidants in tea might help protect against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers. But don’t rely solely on tea to keep a healthy body — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. While more studies than not suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
- Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC” to its friends), which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals (which can damage DNA) in the body. While our bodies are designed to fight free radicals on their own, they’re not 100 percent effective — and since damage from these radical oxygen ninjas has been linked to cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration, we’ll take all the help we can get.
- Tea is hydrating to the body (even despite the caffeine!).
- Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered with other factors like smoking, physical activity, age and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
- Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays, and we all know what it’s like to feel the burn. The good news is that green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
- Tea could keep waist circumference in check. In one study, participants who regularly consumed hot tea had lower waist circumference and lower BMI than non-consuming participants. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke), although it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
- Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer (good news, obviously, but not a justification for cigs).
- Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
- Tea can help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped protect against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea can help skin bounce back postexposure.
- Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
- Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
(Source: The Time and NCBI)