For preparation of green tea, the leaves are withered and then steamed or pan fired, before they are rolled and dried. This tea undergoes very little oxidation. Green tea constitutes of catechins in monomeric form.On the other hand, during black tea manufacturing, both withering and fermentation are carried out. As a result of the oxidation process, the monomeric catechins in green leaves are converted to theaflavins and thearubigins during manufacture of black tea. Flavonoids like kaempferol, quercetin and myricetin glycosides are present in both green and black tea. During the preparation of oolong tea, the leaves are partially fermented. White tea is prepared with the least processing. Immature tea leaves are picked just before their buds open completely. The name comes from the silvery fuzz covering the buds that becomes white after drying.
Scientific research has established a strong connection between black tea consumption and health. The human body creates millions of free radicals (molecule/atom with unpaired electron in its outer orbit) on a continuous basis in order to carry out its metabolic process. They need to be checked by antioxidant enzymes in the body or antioxidants in the food that we eat. Excessive presence of free radicals disturbs this balance and causes cell damage that leads to most chronic diseases like arthritis, emphysema and bronchitis, atherosclerosis or heart disease, peptic ulcer in the stomach, type 2 diabetes, kidney problems, liver problems and also aging, which includes wrinkling of skin.
Here’s what some studies have found about the potential health benefits of tea:
Tea can help you in maintaining a healthy weight
A 2011 study in the Journal Obesity found that mice fed a high fat diet and given compounds found in green tea gained weight at a slower rate than mice that were not fed the same compounds. The findings from this study suggest that green tea extracts may actually interfere with fat formation in the body. As a side note: green tea extracts should not be confused with bottled green tea drinks that may be full of added sugar. To get green tea extracts, opt for the real deal — boiling water with a good old-fashioned teabag or loose tea!
It may help you fight diabetes
A 2010 study reviewing a variety of caffeinated teas found that the caffeine in tea may help in reducing the overall risk of diabetes.
Keeps your heart healthy
According to a study conducted in the Netherlands and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, drinking tea was associated with a more than 50 percent reduction in severe atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) in women who drank 1 to 2 cups a day.
The women who drank more than 5 cups of tea a day had the lowest risk of atherosclerosis. The study showed a similar trend in men. Another study, published in the journal Stroke, found that long-term consumption of black, green, oblong or white tea can cut the risk of strokes by as much as 60 percent.Researchers say the antioxidants, found abundantly in tea, may play a critical role in preventing heart diseases.
Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Research shows the Polyphemus in green tea may help prevent neurotransmitters involved in brain function, like dopamine and epinephrine, from degrading. It may also inhibit senile plaques from depositing in the brain, which impairs cognition. Overall, one to two cups of green tea a day may boost your learning and memory.
White tea has been found to be effective at fighting infections caused by staph and streptococcus bacteria, pneumonia and tooth decay. Unlike other types of tea, white tea undergoes very little processing and is not fermented, so it does not contain the high levels of tannins found in black and green tea. Researchers think the natural chemicals contained in white tea might provide many benefits to the immune system and overall health.
Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength. Studies have shown that elderly women who drank tea had higher bone density in their hips and less bone loss than women who didn’t drink tea. Researchers also say that these results confirm previous studies that have suggested drinking tea may protect against bone loss and osteoporosis.
You can use tea bags or go loose, drink it hot or drink it cold. Either way, tea is fabulous — and so are all of its benefits. For all the tea veterans, keep drinking your way to good health! For those that have not yet embraced a tea-drinking habit, it’s never too late to start brewing a batch! Explore the various types, flavors, and brands to find your tea-mate.