Tea generally helps to shed calories, stave off cold, and bring restful sleep. Yet, despite the name, most herbal tea are not truly what they are called. True tea include green, black and oolong tea that are brewed from Camellia sinensis plant leaves. Herbal tea are made from dried fruits, flowers, spices or herbs.
A traditional health practitioner, Dr Fahuwa, who threw more light on tea, said Green tea is made from unfermented leaves that are pale in colour, and slightly bitter in flavour. Black tea, according to him, is stronger, bolder and richer than green tea.
A brewed black tea, he said, is different in colour from amber to red to dark brown, and its flavour profile also range from savory to sweet, depending on how long it was oxidised and how it was heat processed.
Another brand of tea, Oolong, Fahuwa, popularly called Mister Guarantee, said is made from leaves, buds, and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is used to make black and green tea. The difference is in the processing. “Oolong tea is partially fermented, black tea is fully fermented, and green tea is unfermented,” he said.
WHY DO WE DRINK TEA?
Today, according to Fahuwa, a modern tea lifestyle is emerging as people look to take a moment of respite and explore tea to address a myriad of health issues, ranging from weight loss, to stress reduction and osteoporosis.
The role antioxidants play in the prevention of disease, he said, has positioned loose leaf tea as the ideal health beverage because tea as a plant is power-house antioxidants.
“But its benefits go far beyond refreshment. There is plenty of research showing that drinking tea can actually improve one’s health,” he said adding that at the very least, it’s a flavourful way of getting enough fluid into one’s body each day. “On top of that, studies have shown that teas can help protect one’s teeth and heart, as well as possibly help to stave off cancer,” he said.
He added: “The type of tea you drink can make a difference. All non-herbal teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The amount of time the leaves are processed determines whether you end up with a green, black or oolong tea. Likewise, your health needs.”
Dr Fahuwa said scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extracts, for example, increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance. Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack, just as no matter what the season, tea can be a tasty beverage since it can be served iced or hot.
“The green tea is the least processed and tend to have the highest amount of polyphenols, and the only type that contains the polyphenol, catechin, which is why many studies have been done using only green tea. Certain herbal tea are known for their medicinal values, including soothing the digestive system,”he explained.
He said tea contains antioxidants; has less caffeine than coffee; may reduce risk of heart attack and stroke; helps with weight loss; helps protect bones; keeps smile bright; boosts the immune system; helps battle cancer; may soothe the digestive system; and is unadulterated, that is – is calorie free.
Suggesting how to derive some of the aforementioned, Dr Fahuwa said antioxidants work to prevent the body’s version of rust and thus help to keep us young and protect us from damage from pollution. “Load up on antioxidants with a white tea, which is less processed than black or green tea, it retains more beneficial antioxidants. Herbal blends have no caffeine, while traditional teas have less than 50 per cent of what typically is found in coffee. That means you can consume it without those caffeine effects on your nervous system. Those, who drink four or more cups of green tea daily have a 32 per cent reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol,”he said.
Also, green tea, he said, may prevent bone loss. “Moringa, for example has been known for its medicinal properties and is now quickly becoming a mainstream superfood. With more calcium than milk, as well as iron, Vitamin A and K, moringa tea is a great addition to help keep those bones strong. Tea changes the pH in your mouth when you drink it and that may be what prevents cavities,” he said adding that beyond that, tea, unlike many other beverages does not appear to erode tooth enamel.
Tea, according to Dr Fahuwa can tune up immune cells to reach their targets quicker. “Holy basil or tulsi tea has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries to help keep the immune system strong after injuries or illnesses thanks to its antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. If you are experiencing bowel irritability or feeling nauseated, Herbal teas, in particular chamomile, can be good for people with irritable bowel syndrome because it is an antispasmodic,” said Dr Fahuwa, “just as ginger teas can calm nausea”.
And should one want something edible without gaining calorie, Dr Fahuwa said tea is a great no-calorie alternative to water. It provides so many options for flavour and versatility. People can have it hot or cold. “And you don’t have to put anything in it, though you might want to add honey, or some ginger. That means you’re able to hydrate with something other than water alone.
“However, every tea is not made equally, and in order to reap the most benefits from tea, it is important to find the right tea. Determining your body type, or health needs, will help you choose the right tea for you,”he said.
Dr Fahuwa said: “The general guide is that Oolong tea is the mildest, it’s a good choice for the widest population. Green tea have cooling properties. They are an excellent choice for people, who need energy boost. For those of who work long hours in front of a computer, it is believed that green tea can protect against radiation. It is important to drink fresh green tea. Drinking three cups of tea daily is ideal for optimising its health benefits. Since timing your tea is important, the first cup should be taken after breakfast from 9 am to 10 am. Drinking tea at this time can brighten the mind, detoxify the body, and beat fatigue. A floral tea or a white tea is the best choice for the morning.”
He added:”The second cup of tea should be taken in the afternoon. We recommend drinking it anytime between 1pm-3pm. Afternoon tea can be slightly stronger, such as green tea, oolong tea. Finally, the third cup of tea should be consumed after dinner. Black tea are best at this time because they both aid digestion and warm the body. It is important to avoid drinking too much tea before bedtime because it can cause insomnia.”
Dr Fahuwa cautioned that drinking tea, is best immediately after it is brewed. “Leaving a cup of brewed tea sitting will cause the flavour and aroma to dissipate, but always allow for water to cool adequately for consumption. We recommend drinking tea 30 minutes to one hour after each meal. Drinking tea immediately after each meal will impede the body from absorbing iron and protein. Although drinking tea at the right time in the right way can help nurture one’s body, it is important not to overdo it. Drinking copious amounts of tea with the intention of losing weight can reduce the benefits of the tea,” he said.
@ The Nation