TEA & HEALTH
2020 is here and after all the good food of the holiday season, most of us are thinking about health and getting back on track. Tea can be a great way to provide the body with nourishment and keep us going for the long haul.
So what is it that makes tea so good for you? Antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that prevent the damage to cells caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals are created as a natural waste product by the body, but the amount produced varies based on factors such as genetics, diet, and environmental factors. Antioxidants are found in many of the fruits and vegetable we eat everyday. A lot of those super foods we’ve been hearing about for the last few years are packed with anti-oxidants. The reason tea is such a powerhouse of health is that tea can have as much as eight to ten times the amount of antioxidants as many fruits and vegetables.
While antioxidants are great for one’s health, there are a wide variety of antioxidants and different teas have different antioxidants. All of the teas made from the camelia sinensis plant have similar levels of anti-oxidants overall, but the natural processes that take place in the leaves during the production processes determine which specific anti-oxidant types are present. White and green tea are higher in polyphenols and catechins (two types of anti-oxidants), but the oxidation process used to turn tea into oolong (partially oxidized) or black tea (fully oxidized) converts polyphenols and catechins into tannins and theaflavins (two different type of anti-oxidants). Puerh tea undergoes an additional fermentation stage that other teas do not go through.
Purple tea uses a specific varietal of camellia sinensis that is high in anthocyanin, the anti-oxidant that gives blueberries, blackberries, eggplants, and red cabbage their colors. Anthocyanin rich foods are often recommended by dieticians for improvement of cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and as an anti-carcinogenic.
Tea is both delicious and good for you, so we'll be sipping all year long!
Originally published: January 15, 2020.
- Patrick Kern