Do you think drinking tea is old-fashioned, a pastime suitable only for our grandmothers? Well, maybe that's the secret behind why they've lived for so many years! Some research has shown that drinking tea may improve cardiovascular health and contribute to the prevention of diseases such as cancer.
Drinking tea may even slow down the aging process thanks to its high antioxidant content. So, if you're already a tea lover, we've got good news for you! And if you're not, don't worry...you'll become one by the time you're done reading this article.
What is tea?
Tea comes from the leaves of a plant known as
Camellia sinensis. Black, green and white teas come from this same
plant. The difference between black, green and white tea is that
the leaves used for black tea undergo more processing stages and
that's why it has a more intense, dark color. Another difference is
that white tea is made from the supplest leaves of the plant while
green and black teas are made from the more mature leaves.
There are also other types of infusions which are commonly called "tea" such as chamomile and Mexican tarragon that are purely herbal and don’t actually contain tea leaves. These drinks don't contain polyphenols but they do benefit your health thanks to their relaxing and calming effects.
What are the benefits of tea?
Tea contains substances called polyphenols which
have antioxidant properties. Other sources of polyphenols include
berries, beer, grapes/wine, olive oil, chocolate/cocoa, walnuts,
peanuts, pomegranates, yerba mate, and other fruits and
vegetables. Polyphenols are the substances responsible for the
beneficial effects of tea. Some studies have shown that drinking
tea regularly (minimum of 2 cups a day) could decrease the risk of
suffering from some types of cancer. Furthermore, tea has been
linked to having had positive effects on blood cholesterol levels
and the formation of clots.
How do you prepare a good cup of tea?
Pour some boiling water in a cup, place the
teabag inside and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. This is what
releases all of the polyphenols.
Then, sweeten it with artificial sweetener or simply enjoy the natural flavors. Sweetening tea with an artificial sweetener is a good way to satisfy your craving for dessert after meals. However, keep in mind that tea also contains caffeine; therefore, drinking too much of it could have adverse effects on your health and offset its benefits. Avoid adding sugar and regular cream (you may add a light or fat-free cream).
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