By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel
I wrote the following for the 277th issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.
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Often recommended as an alternative to coffee, tea is not only delicious, but healthy. Although you’ll find similar benefits in most teas, some of them have their own unique effect on the body.
The teas we’ll learn about here can help with everything from bone health to cancer prevention. If you don’t think this beverage can help the body in such important ways, you have a lot to learn. I did too, but after researching this article, I realized tea is somewhat of a miracle drink.
The following are 5 health benefits of 5 different types of tea. We’ll start with green tea, one of the most well-known variations.
Organic Facts reports that like many teas, green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. It’s processed in different ways than its counterparts; we make black tea by fermenting tea leaves, which changes the color, alters the flavor, and raises caffeine and tannin levels. With green tea, we steam or dry the leaves without fermenting them. It then looks green when brewed. (1)
According to Organic Facts, green tea has the following health benefits:
- Weight loss: Green tea helps with weight loss by “influencing enzymes” that free triglyceride from fat cells they were stored in. This helps “liberate stored body fat”. (1)
- Blood sugar benefits: Green tea can keep blood sugar stable by helping prevent insulin resistance. (1)
- Reducing insulin secretion: Green tea improves insulin sensitivity in your cells, thus keeping secretion of insulin low when needed. (1)
- Reducing inflammation: Green tea reduces your “secretion of pro-inflammatory chemicals”, thus reducing inflammation. (1)
- Preventing cancer: Green tea prevents the growth of new blood vessels, destroys free radicals, and normalizes “cell differentiation”. These all help prevent the growth of cancer. (1)
Along with green, black tea is the most popular. It’s usually made into sweet tea, and I’d imagine most casual tea drinkers prefer it. Some might not know much about the other variations of the Camellia sinensis plant, but fortunately, black tea comes with plenty of health benefits.
According to Organic Facts, these include:
- Asthma relief: Black tea “expands the air passage”, making it easier for asthma patients to breathe. Most hot liquids such as tea are known to help asthma patients on their own. (2)
- Cholesterol reduction: An American Heart Association study found that consumers of black tea reduce bad cholesterol levels, the main cause of “heart strokes and fatal attacks”. Studies have shown that drinking “3 to 4 cups of black tea” daily will lower your risk of heart problems compared to those who drink little to no tea. (2)
- Digestion improvement: Black tea has plentiful tannins, as well as “other chemicals” that help the digestive system. It can also help cure “digestive disorder” due to its “anti-inflammatory quality”. (2)
- Cardiovascular disease prevention: For heart patients, drinking black tea daily can “help repair coronary artery dysfunctions”. It generally reduces the risk of contracting a heart disease for anyone who drinks it. (2)
- Breast cancer prevention: Black and green tea help prevent the growth of breast cancer (most notably for women “in the pre-menopausal phase”). It contains theaflavins, which “[destroy] abnormal cells in the body” before they can do damage or become cancerous. (2)
Organic Facts notes that nearly 80% of people drink black tea, it’s available pretty much anywhere, and we have plenty of different “flavors and mixtures” to choose from. (2)
Christina Sarich at Natural Society writes that people love chamomile (also known as “ground apple”) for its chrysin and flavonoids. The Roman Empire, ancient Egypt, and ancient Greece are among the cultures that have used it. (3)
They were right to use it, as according to Christina, it has the following benefits:
- Helps with sleep: People have used chamomile to help with insomnia for “centuries”, as it calms and soothes your nervous system, enabling deeper and most restful sleep. (3)
- Helps with skin problems: Chamomile helps get rid of eczema, acne, allergies, and other skin problems. (3)
- Helps with muscle spasms: Research in England found that drinking chamomile increased the levels of glycine, which helps with muscle spasms. (3)
- Helps with anxiety: We learned that people use chamomile to help with insomnia, but according to the Nutritional Supplement Educational Centre, it also helps with anxiety. It’s theorized that apigenin could be the “active ingredient” that produces the anxiolytic and “sedative” effect. Chamomile can help you relax after a rough day. (4)
- Helps diabetes: Christina writes that chamomile is known to help with hyperglycemia, but studies such as this have found that it helps with diabetes as well. (3)
According to BBC News: “The [chamomile] extract [when fed to diabetic rats] appeared to cut blood sugar levels and block activity of an enzyme associated with the development of diabetic complications.” (5)
Erin Pehlivan at Life Hack writes that like green, black, and many other teas, oolong is made from Camellia sinensis. It is “slightly fermented and semi-oxidized”, which puts its taste somewhere between green and black tea. Its most recognized form comes from the Chinese Fujian province, but plenty of other forms of oolong are available. (6)
Here are some benefits of oolong according to Erin:
- Helps with digestion: If you can handle caffeine, oolong can help with your digestion. By alkalinizing the digestive tract, it decreases inflammation for sufferers of acid reflux or problems from ulcers. It can also get rid of “bad bacteria” in the stomach, and if you drink it hot, the “calm, smooth flavor” could help your stomach feel better. (6)
- Prevents tooth decay: Oolong and green tea shield the teeth from bacteria-produced acid. Oolong inhibits acid production and bacteria growth, preventing tooth decay and the build-up of plaque. (6)
- Boosts metabolism and supports weight loss: Oolong tea raises your metabolism for “up to two hours” after you drink it, and it contains polyphenols which inhibit fat-building enzymes. If you don’t add sugar or artificial sweeteners to it, it can help you lose weight. If you prefer it sweet, you can use honey, syrup, stevia, or agave-based syrup, as these are “low on the glycemic index”. (6)
- Stabilizes blood sugar: Blood glucose levels are higher with type 2 diabetes. Research has found that oolong can help diabetes sufferers, as it decreases blood glucose “to a healthy level”. Its antioxidants also help the body metabolize sugar. (6)
- Strengthens bones: If you drink oolong “consistently”, you’ll have a lesser chance of losing bone mineral density as you’ll be better able to “retain minerals” from healthy food. (6)
White Tea Guide tells us that white tea is the “least processed” of them all. It also contains the most antioxidants. This, along with other factors, leads the good folks over at White Tea Guide to believe it could be the “supreme Drink of Health”. (7)
Here are some of its benefits according to WTG:
- Lowering blood pressure: White tea thins the blood, helps arteries function better, helps lower blood pressure (and keep it healthy), and protects you from stroke by creating blood vessels that are “strong and healthy”. (7)
- Strengthening bones: Research found more bone density present in white tea drinkers than in non-drinkers. White tea could also help with arthritis, as well as osteoporosis. (7)
- Lowering cholesterol: White tea has a lot of catechins, which are a “group of antioxidants” known for reducing cholesterol. Although cholesterol is “necessary for health”, there are two types – good and bad. White tea helps the good and fights the bad. According to WTG: “This helps prevent hardening of the arteries and blockage of blood flow.” (7)
- Antibacterial and antiviral benefits: White tea kills bacteria and viruses, and its antioxidants help “tone the entire immune system”. This protects against various diseases, helps with the cold and flu, and can lessen symptoms of HIV. (7)
- Protecting the heart: White tea helps the heart (as well as the “entire circulatory system”) by thinning blood, reducing cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure. According to research, you could be “5% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack” if you drink this tea. (7)
Bonus #6: Matcha green
Michele Borboa MS at She Knows writes that matcha is a powdered form of green tea considered the “ultimate functional food”. With this powder, you can make smoothies, “baked goods”, “savory vegetable or meat dishes”, and other things you wouldn’t expect from green tea. Michele calls matcha “green tea on steroids”. (8)
According to Michele, its benefits include:
- Improving mood: Matcha has been known to improve mood for hundreds of years. Buddhist monks reportedly drank it to help with their meditations, as it brought a “calm alertness” due to its combination of caffeine and amino acids. L-theanine, an amino acid in matcha, relaxes the mind and is known by many as a “mood enhancer”. (8)
- Burning fat: Matcha is yet another tea that helps with weight loss. Michele writes that an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that matcha increases “energy expenditure” and helps with fat oxidation. Researchers found that its effects on weight loss and energy exceeded the effects caffeine alone can offer. (8)
Consuming it, they found, can help the body burn calories much faster (“…from a normal 8 to 10 percent of daily energy expenditure to between 35 and 43 percent of daily energy expenditure”). Although many drugs prescribed for weight loss – as well as herbal products including ephedra – come with side effects such as raising your heart rate and blood pressure, matcha was found to come with no such side effects. (8)
- “Antioxidant superpower”: Experts state that as far as “nutritional value and antioxidant content” are concerned, one glass of matcha equals 10 glasses of regular green tea. Matcha is higher in antioxidants than most foods, including blueberries and spinach. Since matcha is a green tea, its antioxidants are especially good for our health. (8)
These antioxidants, Michele writes, can prevent “premature aging” and even fight cancer. Of the various types of antioxidants, the catechins (which you can only find in green tea) are the most “potent”; particularly Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. This catechin is know for its properties that fight cancer, and according to an expert on the tea, 60% of matcha’s catechin content is EGCG. (8)
- Enhancing food flavors: Although this isn’t a health benefit, it is interesting and worth learning about. Amino acids provide matcha’s “distinctive” taste. For this reason and others, many chefs use it in their meals. You can use it in dishes that are “hot, cold, sweet or savory”. (8)
General nutritional information: According to Michele, some general benefits of matcha include:
- Helping prevent cancer and other types of disease
- Helping with detoxification
- Enhancing mood
- Regulating blood sugar
- Helping control cholesterol
- Supporting heart health (8)
Michelle writes that these benefits come from the antioxidants in the tea (EGCG being the most notable). They also come from “amino acids… chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C, and E”. Some nutrients remain in the leaf that we remove from regular tea after we brew it, giving powdered tea an edge over its counterpart (the nutrients remain in the powdered form). (8)
The next time you enjoy a warm cup of tea – green, black, oolong, or any kind – remember the good you’re doing for your body. It’s great that a beverage so many people enjoy can help the body in so many ways, and hopefully, this article will help you find a tea that suits your needs. I recommend green or raspberry with honey, and as we learned, we have plenty of types to choose from. With a little experimenting, you might find the perfect tea for you.
(1) “11 Incredible Green Tea Benefits”, Organic Facts, December 20, 2017 – https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/green-tea.html
(2) “5 Impressive Benefits of Black Tea”, Organic Facts, January 10, 2018 – https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/health-benefits-of-black-tea.html
(3) Christina Sarich, “9 Amazing Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea”, Natural Society, July 6, 2013 – http://naturalsociety.com/9-amazing-health-benefits-of-chamomile-tea/
(4) “Chamomile Tea Benefits”, Nutritional Supplement Educational Centre – http://www.nutritional-supplement-educational-centre.com/chamomile-tea-benefits.html
(5) “Chamomile tea ‘may ease diabetes’”, BBC News, September 15, 2008 – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7617294.stm
(6) Erin Pehlivan, “10 Amazing Benefits of Oolong Tea You Didn’t Know”, Lifehack – http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-amazing-benefits-oolong-tea-you-didnt-know.html
(7) “Health Benefits of White Tea”, White Tea Guide – http://www.whiteteaguide.com/whiteteahealthbenefits.htm
(8) Michele Borboa MS, “Matcha: The healthiest green tea”, She Knows, September 16, 2009 – http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/811034/matcha-the-healthiest-green-tea
This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Consult your doctor before making any important medical decisions.
About the author:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run Openhearted Rebel, a daily news blog dedicated to igniting a revolution of love by raising social and spiritual awareness.
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