As early as 4,000 years ago, archaeological evidence shows that tea was already being cultivated and drank in China because of its health benefits. These benefits are being rediscovered today. Tea is getting its popularity back, especially in the Western world. Black tea, green teas, and organic teas are all being consumed in homes, restaurants, and even coffee shops.
Now, the question is what is the healthiest tea available? Some experts claim that green tea provides the most benefits because of its high levels of antioxidants. Upon closer inspection though, it becomes easily apparent that black tea, organic tea, and oolong are not getting the type of recognition it deserves. Recent research reveals that oolong and black tea may provide the same benefits.
Difference between Black, Oolong, and Green Tea
Green tea, oolong tea, and black tea all came from the plan, Camellia sinensis. The only difference is how the tea leaves are processed. Here are their preparation techniques: Green tea (unfermented), oolong (semi-fermented), and black team (fermented). Essentially, green teas are first withered before it is steamed while oolong and black tea undergoes a fermenting process.
All teas derived from the camellia plant have high levels of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant. According to cancer researcher Dr. John Weisburger, green and black tea has 8-10 times more polyphenols compared to fruits and vegetables. This antioxidant scavenges for free radicals and detoxifies them from the body.
Other antioxidants found in green and black tea include thearubigins, epicatechins, and catechins; all three are categorized as flavanoids.
Health Benefits of Green and Black Tea
Dr. Weisburger said that since green and black tea has the same amount of polyphenols, it has an equal capability to stop DNA damage from chemicals and tobacco. This helps tea-drinkers lessen their risk of cancer and heart disease. In heavy tea-drinking counties such as China and Japan, there is “less heart disease and (they) don’t have certain cancers that we in the Western world suffer”. It has also been discovered that the total LDL (bad cholesterol) levels will become lower by drinking tea.
Even people who suffered from heart attacks can benefit greatly from drinking tea. It will help them recover faster. Another researcher, Jeffrey Blumberg, revealed that another antioxidant found on green and black tea, flavonoids, has detoxifying effects. Since it protects the cells from free radicals, cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis can be avoided.
Meanwhile, tea can be beneficial in other areas as well. For example, recent laboratory tests show that tea boosts metabolism. This capability makes it an ideal cure for bad breath, obesity, and Parkinson’s disease. It also slows down the growth of tumors, improves the skin, protects bones, and aids in weight loss. The onset of diabetes can also be delayed because of tea’s antioxidants.
So what is the best tea after knowing all this? Well, according to Dr. Weisburger, the exact benefits of herbal tea are still unclear because more studies need to be made. There are many testimonials from herbal tea-drinkers though so it may be safe to conclude that it provides positive benefits. For now, Dr. Weisburger recommends drinking around six to ten cups of green or black tea per day.