Different Types of Tea and their Health Benefits
Tea is not just a drink, it’s a feeling. It evinces memories (improves it too), soothes the throat, and satiates the taste buds. It is interesting to see, that this simple drink comes in so many flavours. One of the most popular beverages consumed around the world, different types of tea suit different taste buds.
A versatile drink, it may be consumed as a light brew, with milk, with cookies or biscuits, rusks, other snacks, and may even be enjoyed as a cold drink, or as a hot beverage.
It is suited to all climates, times of the day, and caters to all taste buds and needs..
True tea, is derived from the parts of the Camellia sinensis plant. There are five types of proper tea, depending on the part of the plant that is used-
- Black Tea- It is the strongest true tea, made from the leaves of the plant after drying them under the sun, and further subjecting them to oxidation. It has a bitter, mostly due to presence of tannins and caffeine, and quite malty, and astringent taste. It is quite beneficial due to its antioxidant properties, its ability to boost heart health, improve stomach health, regulate blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and even reduce the risk of various diseases such as stroke and cancer.
- Green Tea- It is a true tea made by boiling the leaves of the tea plant directly. It has a bittersweet, nutty, fruity and oceanic taste, accompanied by a fresh flavour. Most of its properties are attributed to catechin, a type of polyphenol. Systematic research suggests that green tea consumption reduces insulin resistance, increases glycemic control, facilitates fat burning and thus, healthy weight loss, and may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Green tea contains bioactive compounds, which also improve brain function, and may also prevent halitosis.
- White Tea- It is the mildest true tea, made with the youngest and freshest leaves of the plant, thus, the least oxidised. White tea has a floral, grassy, fruity, and subtle and delicately sweet taste. It has a refreshingly floral flavour, with a hint of sweetness. Compounds in white tea may prevent osteoporosis, and effectively delay skin aging. White tea is known to increase alertness, and enhance energy, thus maintaining your metabolism. White tea is also known to improve liver health, and is beneficial for the kidneys.
- Oolong Tea- Another variation of a true tea, it is made from the slightly fermented and partially oxidised leaves of the plant, and contains a range of polyphenols. Oolong tea tastes grassy, light, toasty, slightly sweet, and mildly floral. The taste also depends on the degree of oxidation. Oolong tea helps boost your immune system, and promotes health and volume of hair, and suppresses allergic reactions to boost skin health. The antioxidant flavonoids found in oolong tea specifically reduce cellular damage and hasten cell repair, which is why it strengthens the immune system and keeps skin healthy.
- Pu-erh Tea- It is a true tea that is fermented, and thus rich in live beneficial bacteria. Its production process allows microbial fermentation, thus aging the leaves. It tastes bitter, sweet, mellow, floral, slightly sour and earthy, and can have watery or tasteless flavour too. It boosts metabolism and prevents and may cure metabolic syndromes.
Apart from these five true teas, many different types of teas are found to be popular. Some of them are-
- Chamomile tea
- Hibiscus tea
- Chaga Tea
- Matcha Tea
- Nettle Tea
- Chrysanthemum Tea
- Peppermint Tea
- Spearmint Tea
- Rose Tea
- Yerba mate Tea
These teas come from a variety of parts of the plant, ranging from plant roots, to flowers, to teas made from mushroom extracts. Each has its own set of health benefits that accompany, not to mention the great tastes, flavours, and of course, unique and attractive colours. Be it enjoyed at a café amidst a social gathering, or on your balcony in the bliss of solitude (or on your table or desk, working late, as a great relief, stress buster and mind refresher), tea is the go-to drink.
"Every cup of tea is your cup of tea. You just have to pick it and sip it.".