We all may reach for our favorite cup of tea when we are feeling a little under the weather or during the cold months, but tea should have a permanent place on your beverage list! The types of teas that you should always have at hand are green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea. They are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to Chine and India, and contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of these, known as ECGC, may help against free radicals that can attribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
All these teas also have caffeine and theanine, which affect the brain and seem to heighten mental alertness. The more processed the tealeaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids. Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high.
Here are some potential health benefits that you can receive from drinking these different types of tea!
• Green tea: Made with steamed tealeaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
• Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
• White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
• Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
• Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.
Be sure to stock up on these different teas so you can reap all the amazing benefits!