- Food and Cooking
Know all about different types of tea and the benefits of black, oolong and green tea
TEA is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. It is a product made from the leaves and buds of the warm evergreen camellia sinensis plant. The first country to start serving tea as a beverage since a thousand years ago is China. The degree of processing fresh tea leaves determines the different varieties of tea.
The different and process of tea
1. Black tea
*Camellia sinensis->withered->oxidized (full) ->pan fried/dried & rolled
*Its characterized hearty flavor and deep amber color.
*Also known as red tea in China.
* Example of tea: Ying De Hong, Dian Hong, Tibeti, Keemun and Ceylon.
2. Oolong tea
*Camellia sinensis->withered->oxidized (brief) ->pan fried/dried &rolled
*The color and taste can be considered midway between the green and black tea.
* Example of tea: GaoShan, Tie Luo Han, Shui Xian, Tie Guan Yin and Formosa.
3. Green tea
*Camellia sinensis->steamed->dried & rolled
*Its characterized delicate taste and light green color.
* Example of tea: Gyokuro, Sencha, Hui Ming, Long Jing and Wu Li Qing
Tea is an ancient beverage, which was consumed in China and much of Southeast Asia for centuries before it began to be exported to Europe and Africa. Tea has received a great deal of attention and has been gaining popularity because of its possible beneficial health effects. Now, it has now become one of the mighty drinks that serve some medicinal purposes.
All 3 types of tea (green, oolong & black) are rich in Flavonoids, which are also present in fruits, red wine, vegetables and dark chocolate. Fresh tea leaves contain 4 major catechins, i.e. epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin(EGC) and epigallcatechin gallate(EGCG). Green tea contains the highest amount of catechins compared to black and oolong tea as the oxidation undergone chemically convert catechins into orange or brown colored polymerized catechins. i.e. theaflavins (TF) and thearubigins(TR). However, TF and TR created through fermentation may also have healthy properties. Studies showed that drinking black tea has benefits equal to those of drinking green tea in terms of their antioxidant capacity. Tea flavonoids may contribute to defenses against oxidative damages. Hence, consumption of tea with a healthy balanced diet may help to improve our overall antioxidative status and to protect against oxidative damage in humans.
Tea and its potential beneficial effects
1. Tea & heart
Tea is to provide modest protection against heart disease. Dysfunction of the cells lining the heart is a contributing cause of heart attack and stroke. A decreased risk of heart diseases may happen by drinking tea as the flavonoids present in tea is believed to reverse the dysfunction of the cells lining the heart. Other potential roles of tea in reducing bad cholesterol and reducing blood clotting.
2. Tea & cancer
Flavonoids in tea, which are also antioxidants, have substantial free radical scavenging activity and may protect cells from DNA damage, which could potentially reduce cancer risk.
3. Tea & body fat
In Chinese tradition, tea is believed to wash out fat. A recent study showed that habitual tea drinkers have a lower body fat percentage in response to tea catechins(particularly green tea) especially among those who have maintained the habit of tea consumption for more than 10 years. Tea without milk/sugar is virtually calorie free. Therefore, it would be a good choice to replace high calorie drinks to lose weight.
What is herbal tea or fruit tea?
Herbal tea or fruit tea is not strictly tea. Although it is referred to as “tea”, it is technically only herbal or fruit infusion (chrysanthemum tea). It made from a variety of plants other than camellia sinensis. Traditionally herbal tisanes are used for their medicinal and healing properties. However, there are many people who enjoy tea simply for their taste. Herbal and fruit teas offer the tea drinker caffeine free alternatives.
Does drinking tea leads to iron deficiency anemia?
Healthy tea drinkers who consume balanced and varied diet do not develop iron deficiency. It would be prudent for those who have poor iron status or at high risk of iron deficiency anemia to avoid drinking tea with meals. Otherwise, moderate tea consumption (3-4 cups a day) spread throughout the day among healthy people is unlikely to have any adverse effect on iron status.