Celebrate Hot Tea Month by Embracing A Cup of Real Tea

December 31, 2010

Tea is well known as a source of health-enhancing antioxidants. But not everything we call tea is actually real tea ““ and only real tea offers antioxidants. A nutrition expert explains which teas have health benefits in this Hot Tea Month.

Bellingham, WA (Vocus) December 29, 2010

With its cold, dark days and early nights, January, the Hot Tea Month, is a perfect month to celebrate hot tea. The comforting feeling of a cup of hot tea can’t be disputed ““ but did you know that your hot cup of tea is packed with health benefits, too?

According to nutrition expert Gloria Tsang, founder of http://www.HealthCastle.com, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage on earth except for water ““ and there’s good reason this ancient drink is so popular. “The antioxidant polyphenols in tea have been shown to have huge health benefits,” Tsang says. “They can decrease cancer risk, lower cholesterol, help prevent blood clotting, and even lower death rates from heart disease. Not all tea on the market offers the same impressive health benefits ““ in fact, some beverages sold as tea are not really tea at all.”

Here’s how to know what you’re actually getting from each kind of tea.

  • Black, red, and oolong teas: These teas are made from partially dried, crushed, and fermented leaves from the Camellia plant ““ which is the source of tea’s polyphenols. These teas offer excellent, proven health benefits.
  • Green and white teas: These teas are also made from the polyphenol-rich Camellia plant. They are processed less than black tea, and white tea is made from very young new leaves. They offer all the health benefits of black tea.
  • Matcha tea: Matcha is a vibrant green tea made from leaves of the Camellia plant that are steamed and dried, then ground to a fine powder. Researchers have found that the concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) ““ a very powerful antioxidant ““ is 137 times greater in matcha than in regular green tea, probably because the whole leaf is consumed rather than just an infusion brewed from leaves.
  • Chai tea: Chai’s black tea base means it has all the antioxidant benefits of black tea. It is spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, all of which offer additional antioxidant power. Stick to brewed chai rather than chai concentrate to control the amount of added sugar.
  • Herbal and Rooibos teas: Herbal teas, including Rooibos, are actually infusions made with herbs, flowers, roots, spices, or other parts of plants. They are not made from the Camellia plant, so are not technically teas at all, but “tisanes.” They do not contain polyphenols, but may offer relaxation and calming effects.
  • Decaf tea: Decaf tea, no matter what color, has had the caffeine removed through a process that may also remove the beneficial polyphenols. It’s not yet clear if decaf tea offers the same benefits as regular tea. Keep in mind that regular tea has half the caffeine of coffee.
  • Bottled iced tea: Most bottled iced tea drinks contain way more sugar than actual tea ““ so you can expect a sugar rush, but no real health benefits.

Tea is an ancient beverage that has been offering powerful health effects for centuries. To get the most polyphenols from your tea, be sure to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. More healthy eating tips from registered dietitians are available at http://www.HealthCastle.com, an official USDA MyPyramid Partner.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HealthCastleGlo

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/healthcastle

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For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebHealthCastle-2010/tea-health-benefits/prweb4841664.htm

Source: prweb

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