Tea comes in many varieties. Officially only the Camellia Sinensis plant, it is common for other plants and herbs to be steeped in hot water.
Tea benefits nearly every organ system in the body. It is cardioprotective, neuroprotective, anti-obesity, anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic, liver protective, and beneficial to blood vessel health.
Behind water, it is the second most consumed beverage in the world. On any given day, over half of the American population drinks tea.
Growing conditions vary resulting in a number of distinctive leaves. Surprisingly, it is the type of processing that determines the major difference between the four most common types: black, green, white, and oolong. All of these factors combine to influence both the flavor and nutritional content.
Most Common Teas
Black tea : The most common type with the highest caffeine, made with fermented tea leaves.
Green tea : Made with unfermented leaves, it has a high concentration of the catechin, EGCG.
White tea : It is the least processed and made from the new growth buds and young leaves. Uncured and unfermented.
Oolong tea : Made with partially fermented leaves. Oolong teas are full bodied in flavor and aroma.
Tea exerts benefits through polyphenols, commonly called catechins. The most potent catechin, EGCG, may help against free radicals that contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
The more processed the leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. The processes used in black and oolong tea are known to decrease levels catechins more than other teas. Green tea contains the highest concentration of the powerful antioxidant EGCG.
Matcha green tea stone grinds the entire tea leaf, rather than infusing tea leaves in water. Matcha has EGCG concentrations 100 times more than a common green tea and 3 times more than other green teas.
Most of the nutrition in regular tea remains unused, trapped in the tea leaves. Matcha provides teas full arsenal of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You need ~ ten cups of regular tea to match the potency found in a single serving of matcha.
Herbal brews, like lavender, chamomile, and yerba mate are not technically considered tea. They are unique infusions of different plants with varying characteristics. Herbal teas have different concentrations of nutrients from green, white, black, and oolong tea.
Attention & Clarity
Tea consumption can improve mood and performance. A number of studies have shown particularly consistent evidence for improved attention, alertness, and arousal. Tea also shows beneficial effects on work performance and creativity.
Matcha green tea has been commonly used to aid clarity. Japanese monks would drink matcha to remain alert yet calm during long periods of meditation. Tea is rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes a state of relaxation and well-being.
Matcha contains more L-Theanine than common black and green teas. Additionally, L-Theanine can inhibit some of the side-effects from caffeine, a natural component of tea. The unique composition of green tea promotes concentration and clarity without the jitters or crash.
Cardiovascular & Other Disease
Tea consumption has been shown to protect against the development and progression of cardiovascular disease, one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and endothelial function effects are thought to play a key role in these protective effects.
Although tea has been consumed for centuries, there are limited placebo controlled human studies as a health-promoting beverage. Further study is needed to clarify whether catechins represent ancillary ingredients or key molecules involved in the biological properties of green tea.
However, green tea represents a promising tool for the prevention of cardiovascular disorders, and an increase in the consumption of tea should be encouraged.
Overall, green tea has a small positive effect on weight loss and weight management.
It affects thermogenesis by acting synergistically with the caffeine component. It can also augment other fat burning compounds, usually through COMT inhibition.
However, these effects may not work for everyone. The inconsistencies in fat oxidation may be due to individual differences, such as caffeine tolerance; the lower one's tolerance to caffeine is, the more effective green tea catechins appear to be on fat loss.
A recent meta-analysis found that each cup of green tea may be causative of burning 1/8 lb of body fat.