Relaxing with Tea
Tea is one of those simple pleasures that can be enjoyed by all members of your family as well as all age groups. Sometimes when I have a break at work, simply sipping some hot tea is just what I need to balance out my day. When my daughters and I are winding down for the night, sometimes we will choose a decaffeinated tea, boil the water, prepare the tea, and sit and relax while I read a story or sit Indian style on the floor and become aware of our surroundings. Any way you decide to enjoy your tea, do just that. Enjoy your tea.
Tea is grouped into categories and each tea has different properties, health benefits, steeping times, and flavors.
Let's first talk about black tea. Black tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The leaves are dried and fermented which is what makes black tea dark and rich. Depending on how strongly the tea is brewed, the caffeine content is approximately 50 milligrams per cup. Black tea is filled with antioxidants which can fight inflammation and support your immune system.Black tea is especially good for cardiovascular health, strokes, Diabetes and Cancers. While tea cannot prevent or treat any disease, research shows many health benefits. Likewise, considering tea contains caffeine, you need to be careful if taking blood pressure medication and if you're prone to high anxiety. Decaffeinated teas are always your safest choice if you aren't sure.
Green Tea Benefits
Green tea has been very popular over the last century or so because of its many health benefits. Green tea contains catechins which are a type of antioxidant found in the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. In smaller amounts, they are found in other foods such as chocolate, red wine, berries, and apples. "Their health benefits of have been under close examination since the 1990s, due to the strong association of tea with long life and health in many ancient cultures" explains Harvard Medical School. Green tea drinkers have reduced risk for certain cancers. The antioxidants in green tea reduce risk for heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol, increasing HDL cholesterol and improving artery function. Green tea consumers may also have a 46 to 65 percent reduced risk for hypertension. For those of you, like me, who aren't pill-poppers, that's a great way to keep yourself healthy!
Red Rooibos Tea Benefits
Red teas seem to be less popular than their black and green counterparts. The flavor is very different than a green tea which has a very mild flavor. Black tea has a rich and robust flavor while red tea has a gentle sweet flavor and is among a favorite for to reasons; first, it is naturally decaffeinated and second, it's not acidic and therefore can be consumed by those who have kidney issues. There are many wonderful reasons to make red teas a part of your daily routine. Some of the health benefits include remedies for headaches, insomnia, stomach cramps,asthma, bone weakness, hypertension, allergies, and even eczema! Weather you like hot tea or iced, this is one tea you can enjoy all day long with no possible side effects. It also boosts the immune system and can be useful for small children who are colicky or get stomach pains from switching from breast milk to formula or regular milk!
Did you know that unlike other teas, Oolong tea can be steeped three, four, or even five times because the flavor enhances with the rebrewing process?
Oolong tea is a product made from the leaves, buds, and stems of the Camellia Sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is also used to make black tea and green tea. The difference is in the processing. Oolong tea is partially fermented, black tea is fully fermented, and green tea is unfermented. Isn't it amazing that one plant can produce so many different flavors and levels of tea?
It is commonly believed that daily consumption of oolong tea can reduce obesity. More widespread studies need to be done on humans, but early studies are very promising. In a detailed study conducted at the Osaka Institute for Health Care Science in Japan, the experimental mice that ingested Oolong tea showed a remarkable improvement in their stress levels by 10 to 18%. The natural polyphenols in the Oolong tea was cited as the main cause of it being such a stress-buster. Also, the L-theanine found in tea leaves is an amino acid that blocks L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain. Drink several cups of Oolong tea a day, because it might be the best kind of tea for improving your health and is also a delicious and relaxing treat. Just be aware that Oolong tea does contain caffeine and drunk too close to bedtime could have stimulating affects and cause insomnia.
Cooking with Tea!
There are many other types of teas which we will learn about in another hub. I will leave you with a delicious recipe that includes tea. We are used to drinking this wonder drink, but it's also fabulous to cook with! After you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it and if you made any alterations. I can't wait to hear from you!
Tea Poached Pears
- 6 fruit flavored teas
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 whole pears, peeled, cored and halved
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- Heat water in a wide bottomed saucepan. When water is lightly simmering, turn off heat and add tea. Cover to steep 5 – 10 minutes. Remove teabags and add honey. Stir until honey is completely dissolved. Bring the tea back to a gentle simmer and allow to reduce while you peel and core the pears. Place pears into the pan. Cover and poach for 8 minutes. The pears will float in the tea but you should turn them over in the liquid during poaching until they’re soft. You should be able to pierce them with a fork. Cook to your desired softness.
- Chill the pears before serving. A bed of shredded lettuce will support the pear. Fill the scooped-out portion of the pear with a spoonful of yogurt.
- Pears can be poached the day before your tea. And you can substitute own favorite flavor yogurt for the vanilla. This can be garnished with mint leaves, fresh fruit slices or edible flowers.
Jasmine Poached Pears with cherry and clove
How would you rate this recipe?
the Qualitea of Tea.. (that was cute, right?)
Buying tea online is all the craze nowadays, but how do you buy online when you can't sample? Without advertising for any tea companies, (I am a prep chef at a Tea House and so I have my sources!) you can go into your local mall and probably find one or two well-known tea companies there and you can sample and smell and enjoy so that you know what you're buying. You can taste samples right at the store and they even make little sample bags so that you can try different teas without spending a fortune. Good tea can be expensive, but if you know your teas, know how they are crafted, are educated at boiling points and steeping times, you can get the maximum benefit from this wonderful beverage and feel good about your purchase. If people can spend $5.00 for a coffee at certain places, then you can certainly spend that amount in tea leaves that actually have health benefits. Once you know your teas, you can effortlessly and confidently order your teas online. Most online companies will send you a free sample of a tea when you order. It's a great way to try new flavors!
I am looking forward to hearing about your tea experiences! Let me know where you go and which flavors are your favorites! Happy sipping!
© 2016 Lori Dudley