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March 15, 2008

Best Teas For Your Health

By Meredith Thompson

Over the last few years, we’ve been hearing about all the health benefits of drinking tea. Unfortunately, when it comes to the best teas, the information that’s being strewed upon us is confusing at best.

While we definitely know that drinking tea is advantageous in many ways, we don’t know exactly which teas do what and how much we need to drink of these best teas to see the benefits.
And although all tea comes from the same source, the Camilla Sinensis tea bush, what kind of tea it is transformed into depends on what’s done to it after it has been plucked.

That said, here is the lowdown on some of the health properties of the best teas that have come highly recommended by dieticians and doctors alike.

Best teas #1
Green tea

By far the most popular and well-known best teas, green tea has been touted as a godsend for its health properties. Unlike other teas, green tea leaves are not fermented at all, but rather sit in hot air or get steamed.

Not only is green tea chock full of antioxidants that keep free radicals from attacking your body, it can actually neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals currently taking their toll.

Although you would need to drink upwards of 10 cups of tea per day to reap the benefits, when you begin to see the results, drinking 10 cups will be a pleasure.

Other benefits of green tea include:
  • Inhibits precancerous lesions
  • Elevates HDL, or good, cholesterol
  • Prevents tooth decay (but not stains)
  • Inhibits plaque growth on teeth
  • Inhibits arthritis
  • Increases energy
  • Helps the body burn more calories
  • Reduces the chance of developing infections
  • Inhibits the development of halitosis (bad breath)
  • Keeps blood pressure stable

  • How much to drink: 3 to 10 cups per day

    Best green tea: Sencha green tea

    Best teas #2
    White tea

    White tea is produced by plucking the tea leaves before they are fully mature, and then get steamed and dried to produce buds with white fuzz on them.

    With its naturally sweet flavor, white tea is somewhat more expensive that other teas. Most women agree, however, that the flavor, which is much milder and less grassy tasting than green tea, is worth the price.

    You can find other white teas under the more commonly used names Darjeeling White and Ceylon White.

    Benefits of white tea include:
  • Fights cancer-causing free radicals
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Inhibits plaque growth on teeth
  • Prevents tooth decay

  • How much to drink: 3 to 5 cups per day

    Best white tea: Bai Hao Yinzhen

    Best teas #3
    Black tea
    Unlike green and white teas, black tea goes through a fermentation process; a process that gives it its deep color and distinct flavor.

    Recent studies show that black tea has just as many beneficial properties as green tea. With its sweet and mildly spicy flavor, many women also find it milder on the palate than green tea.

    And while green tea tends to lose its beneficial properties one year after production, black tea can last for several years.

    The one thing you do need to keep in mind when drinking black tea, however, is that it has a higher caffeine content than other teas, so you might want to avoid drinking too late in the evening.

    Benefits of black tea include:
  • Prevents clogged arteries
  • Reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Prevents bad breath
  • Helps deter food poisoning (when taken with burnt toast)
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Reduces risk of coronary heart disease
  • Helps digestion

  • How much to drink: 4 to 6 cups

    Best black tea: Yunnan Black Tea

    Best teas #4
    Oolong tea

    With an oxidation level found somewhere between black and green teas, oolong (which means black dragon in Chinese) tastes suspiciously a lot like green tea, save for that grassy flavor that most women tend to dislike.

    Oolong tea has a slightly sweet and flowery flavor that is pleasant and doesn’t leave an aftertaste.

    Benefits of oolong tea include:
  • Prevents cavities
  • Helps burn more calories
  • Improves blood flow to the heart
  • Builds stronger bones
  • Improves digestion

  • How much to drink: 4 to 6 cups

    Best oolong tea: Li Shan

    Best teas for your life

    If you want to make sure that you live a long and healthy life, you might want to put those lattes aside and start reaching for the tea instead. Sure, they contain less caffeine than coffee, but what they lack in caffeine, they sure make up for in health benefits.

    Start incorporating tea time into your day and you’ll feel all the better for it.

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