The act of drinking tea has long been a part of different cultures throughout the world. Because it comes from different continents, the origin of tea also depends on where the story is told. According to the Chinese legend, it was in 2727 BC when tea was born when a few leaves accidentally blew into Emperor Shen Nong’s tea pot. With the aromatic fragrance and taste of the tea, the Emperor was pleased and turned this into a daily drink.
Another story tells of a Prince Dharma who left China to preach Buddhism in India. Because of his vow to avoid sleeping throughout the duration of his 9-year mission, he chewed on a few tea shrub leaves and this gave him enough strength to stay awake for the remaining 6 years. A similar story of a certain Bodi Dharma has also emerged in Japan, only this time, he tore off his eyelids as punishment for sleeping. The place where his eyelids landed then produced enchanted tea shrubs for those who wanted to keep awake.
With plenty of stories circulating for the history of tea, there is only one thing clear: tea was first discovered in China before it traveled to just about every country on the planet. Apart from water, tea is the most popular beverage and is among the healthiest options. As a matter of fact, there are countries wherein the act of drinking tea is considered a daily practice. Some people also substitute drinking water for tea because of the many health benefits it can produce to the body.
It was during the 17th century when tea arrived in England. Thanks to a Portuguese princess named Catherine of Braganza, tea became a royalty drink. Soon enough, it started the import of tea to Britain through the East India Company. From this, emerged afternoon tea or tea parties, which turned into a way for the aristocratic society to enjoy their tea and socialize. But despite the fact that it was regularly imported to Britain, taxes imposed on tea were so high that the East India Company started to export to America. This caused the historic Boston Tea Party.
Understanding the history of tea draws back to plenty of years in the past. Given its diverse and rich contribution to society, tea has turned into one of the most sought after beverages throughout the world. If you’ve recently started to appreciate tea, it can do you a lot of good to know about the different brews and health benefits that tea can do for you.
Different Types of Brews
Among the different varieties of tea, black tea is the most common kind. Its consumption accounts to almost 75 percent throughout the world. The leaves come from the Camelia Sinensis plant, which produces a slightly bitter taste due to its fermented and dried process. It also contains the most number of caffeine, about 40 milligrams per cup. The good thing about drinking black tea is that it contains a high amount of antioxidants such as thearubigins and theaflavins, which helps in lowering the cholesterol level in the body.
While it is similar to black tea, oolong undergoes a shorter fermentation time; which leads to its richer taste and lesser caffeine per cup (30 milligrams). An advantage of drinking oolong tea is that it activates an enzyme responsible in dissolving triglycerides and helps in weight loss.
Compared to black tea, green tea has a more delicate taste and only has about 25 milligrams of caffeine. Its leaves do not undergo a fermentation process as they are instantly dried and heat-treated after picking. This tea variety also contains a number of antioxidants known as catechins, which helps prevent certain cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
Compared to other varieties, white tea has a much milder flavor as its leaves have been picked while they are very young. It also contains less caffeine, which is only around 15 milligrams per cup. The good thing about drinking white tea is that it contains cardiovascular and cancer fighting benefits. In other studies, this variant has also shown benefits for people with diabetes.
Teas that fall into this category are the usual varieties paired with aromatic extras such as lavender, cinnamon, and orange peel. Following the same health benefit as its base tea variety, flavored teas may come packed with additional antioxidants, especially for those flavored with superfruits. There are some flavored tea products, however, that come are available with added sweeteners. Stay away from such products as they tend to water down the health benefits of the tea; thus beating its purpose.
Despite what its name suggests it to be, herbal teas are not comsidered as actual teas but are instead, the result of a combination of dried fruits, herba, and flowers. These do not contain any caffeine in them but may be packed with dangerous laxatives. Based on studies conducted, herbal teas have some health benefits produced by the variant. For example, hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure in hypertension patients, peppermint tea has a calming effect on the stomach; and chamomile tea helps promote sleep.
Health Benefits of Drinking Tea
If you haven’t made a decision to start drinking tea, here are some of the best reasons as to why it’s time you do. Through the many health benefits tea drinking can produce to the body, you will be surprised why you never decided to start sooner.
Contains Less Caffeine
Because tea contains less caffeine than coffee, you can get almost the same effects of coffee without taking in too much. You can even enjoy up to three glasses of tea compared to the recommended daily intake of coffee. As such, you don’t get jitters, headaches, or indigestion. Moreover, drinking tea will not interfere with your sleep so you can still get a good night’s rest after enjoying a cup of tea after dinner.
Avid coffee drinkers deal with the effect of having stained teeth. As a tea drinker, especially the unsweetened variety, you won’t have to worry about stained teeth. Because tea contains fluoride and tannins, you can keep plaque at bay.
Unless added with milk or a sweetening agent, tea does not contain a lot of calories. Apart from the fact that it is an intensely satisfying beverage, you won’t have to worry about putting on additional calories with your drink. As a matter of fact, consuming tea can result to losing weight by up to one pound per week.
Increases Your Metabolism
Green tea has the ability to increase the metabolic rate in the body. For individuals who complain of a slow metabolism, drinking green tea can be a big help. You can burn between 70 and 80 additional calories by drinking five cups of green tea per day. With the added help of a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can get pleasing results in no time.
Tea contains a number of antioxidants, which helps produce anti-aging effects in the body. At the same time, it also gets rid of the harmful effects of pollution that only cause more problems to your health.
Strengthens the Immune System
Studies show that avid tea drinkers have a stronger immune system in their body. As a result, they are able to fight off infections better compared to those who do without it.
Protects the Bones
Apart from milk, tea also has a helpful effect in making bones stronger. A study has shown that those who have drank tea for over 10 years have the strongest bones. According to studies, this is due to the phytochemicals found in tea.
Reduces Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke
Studies have shown that those who drank at least 2-3 cups of black tea per day have a 70 percent lower risk of obtaining a heart attack and stroke. This is largely due to the fact that tea helps stop cholesterol and blood platelets from forming into unwanted blood clots.
Protects Against Cancer
Tea contains antioxidants, known as polyphenols; that have long been known for its cancer fighting effects on the body. By drinking tea, you get to strengthen your body against certain types of cancer.
Knowing these health benefits of drinking tea, don’t you think it’s about time you had a cup today?