The Health Side of Tea

by Drew Seveland, co-owner of Infinitea Teahouse

People often come into our Teashop and ask for the healthiest tea we carry. Others come in with preconceptions about Green Tea, White Tea, Oolong Tea, whatever it may be, that it, and only it will cure them of their ailments and indulgences. While others arrive with a willingness to try whatever we have that could possibly help shed a few pounds, or at least stop the pangs of hunger that send them reeling for another Big Mac.

The truth is, there is no one tea that is necessarily healthier than any other. Each has its own benefits and peculiarities. That said, there are some you should definitely consider when seeking a tea for health purposes.

One way of differentiating tea is by the level of caffeine. Tea is wonderfully color-coded. The darker the tea, the more caffeine. Herbal teas, for the most part, are caffeine-free. Thus, from least to most, teas can be arranged as such: herbals, white, green, oolong, and black.

If you are seeking a tea for general health, feel free to branch out! Nearly all teas, including most herbals and tea substitutes like yerba mate and African rooibos, have antioxidants, the attribute that gives green tea its reputation for promoting good health and longevity.

For the exercise enthusiast, try yerba mate. It is packed full of a caffeine-like stimulant called mateine, that gives you energy for hours. Mate’s molecular make-up also helps to prevent lactic acid build-up in the joints; that is, it helps prevent soreness.

For blood pressure, try anything with hibiscus in it. Hibiscus has been known to combat high blood pressure for years, and has just recently been taken head to head with the leading blood pressure medications to test its comparative effectiveness.

For sleep, try chamomile. Chamomile is a muscle relaxant with a subtle vanilla flavor, which, combined with a book and a warm bed will make any eyelid heavy. Many teas, like oolongs, are hunger suppressants or are good for fighting high cholesterol. Others, like peppermint, relieve stress. Ginseng root is good for memory and circulation. And the list goes on.

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