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Time for Tea? Find Out All the Health Advantages

 width=Taking time to make tea is an age old tradition. Would you might like to find out more about the different types of tea? Apart from herbal teas, all tea is made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. So whether you get black, green, white or oolong tea depends on how the tea is harvested and processed, giving you at the same time different amounts of antioxidants and other chemicals.

Black tea

This is the one that every one knows and is often called English Breakfast tea, Indian tea, Ceylon tea or Darjeeling. A favorite type in England is Earl Grey. Black tea is made when the tea leaves are picked and left to wither before being rolled, sifted and fermented. Although this tea is called black, it actually has a rich amber color.

Rooibos tea

This is the healthier option over black teas and it is an herbal tea. Rooibos tea leaves are filled with more potent antioxidants than those of black tea, preventing damage to cells by inhibiting free radicals in the bloodstream, repairing injured cells and playing an important part in maintaining good health by reducing a person’s probability of getting various diseases. Rooibos tea is naturally decaffeinated, so it is the best tea choice for those who often have insomnia or anxiety. Because it’s decaffeinated, many people enjoy a soothing cup of rooibos tea right before they go to sleep. For most people, having a cup of regular black tea just before bed would not be an option. Black tea leaves have high amounts of tannin, a substance that inhibits the body’s absorption of important minerals like iron. Rooibos tea leaves have much lower tannin amounts, so the body is able to absorb more iron and feel much more energized.

Green tea

This always reminds us of the Far East and comes about by the leaves being picked and fired shortly afterwards before they have the chance to ferment. Green tea does have a greenish gold color and a delicate taste. Green tea (when it is of the highest quality) is one of the most nutritionally-rich beverages you can drink. If you only drank pure, filtered water and good green tea, you would derive a host of healthy benefits. When choosing your green tea brand, look for an organic certified, bright green tea with no bitter taste. Such a brand should be made using the entire tea leaf, complete with all its nutrients. One cup of such bright green tea will give you many more antioxidants than dark chocolate or a cup of broccoli, spinach, carrots, blueberries or strawberries, significantly protecting you from any health concerns posed by those dreaded free radicals by providing support for both your immune system and your cardiovascular system. Additional benefits include supporting a healthy digestion and gums; promoting good brain and liver health; and most important of all to many - fighting the onset of age.

White tea

This comes from the buds and leaves of that same tea bush – the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. This preserves the characteristic flavor of the white tea. The name "white tea" derives from the fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance. However, the tea itself is not white or colorless but pale yellow.

Oolong tea

This will be less familiar to most of us. The leaves are dried, rolled, twisted and semi fermented resulting in a color and flavor somewhere between that of black and green tea. Oolong tea is often scented with jasmine flowers. Jasmine flowers are picked, and the tea leaves are steamed in order to hold scent well. Jasmine flowers bloom at night so they are picked early in the day and mixed in with the tea at night, when they open and release their scent. The scent is infused into the leaves, and the process is repeated over a couple of nights.

Make yourself a cup of tea with these variations

  • Brew your favorite variety and add a natural sweetener to taste. Allow to cool and then store in a glass bottle or pitcher in the refrigerator as a lovely refreshing summertime drink.
  • Use an organic herbal tea as a basis for salad dressing or a marinade. Make a stronger tea by boiling for longer than normal.
  • You can also use teas to flavor your cooking by replacing the water component with tea as in scones, bread, rice dishes or stews.
  • Instead of using milk to make your breakfast oatmeal, you can use an herbal tea or Rooibos. You might need to sweeten first to taste.
  • If your smoothie is a bit on the thick side (and mine often is because of adding some raw oats) then some cold Rooibos tea is ideal for thinning it down a little and adding some extra health benefits at the same time.

Instructions on how to make the perfect cup of tea

The key is to let the tea brew sit for 6 minutes in the teapot or mug before drinking. During that time, the tea will have cooled to 60 degrees centigrade which is the optimum temperature at which the flavors infuse. Leave it longer and the tea will be past its best. So if you are having friends to tea around a giant tea pot, make a fresh pot for that second cup.