Tea Health 101: The Best Teas To Drink
The Best Teas To Drink and When to Drink Them
Chinese emperor Shen Nong was credited for being the father of Chinese agriculture. He taught his people how to plow and to use plants as medicine. One translation of his venerable name translates to “Divine Farmer.” Shen Nung discovered tea when leaves from a nearby tea tree fell into a pot of boiling water. He fell in love with the flavor and aroma and began to study the plant for medicinal purposes and as a crop. 5000 years, tea is now the second most consumed beverage on earth. Does that make Shen Nong the father of tea?
Almost every culture that has been touched by tea has its own variation of the beverage and thanks to the biodiversity, tea has so many different health benefits and effects when consumed. Whether you seek energy, stamina, relaxation or overall good health, tea is definitely a healthy elixir that can power both mind, body and mood.
The most common use for tea is as a stimulant. Caffeine is innate in camellia sinensis tea and levels vary depending on varietal and growing conditions. But, the way the leaves are processed has the greatest effect on how much caffeine ends up in your cup. (see caffeine chart).
Many people switch from coffee to tea because they are noticing the “cleaner” energy boost that tea provides. At the molecular level, the caffeine in tea provides a more sustained boost with less spikes and crashes. Most teas contain less caffeine and therefore are not associated with withdrawal side-effects like coffee. Antioxidants and amino acids in tea also counter balance the caffeine so that you will feel energized but without the jitters, palpitations and anxiety from overstimulation. Here is a list of teas that come in handy when a power boost is needed.
Yerba Mate has been dubbed the drink of the gods for a reason. Not only does it provide you with a refreshing boost of energy, as it contains 85 mg of caffeine per cup, but it also stimulates the oxidation of fat molecules. In a study done by the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, researchers discovered that yerba mate intensifies fat burning during moderate exercise by about twenty-four percent, meaning the energy stored in the carbohydrate reserves can be saved for high-intensity workouts, further optimizing your ability to perform.
Matcha is now popular around the world as a drink and a food ingredient. Many companies are adopting it into their menus and the matcha craze is only getting fueled by discoveries from new studies and uses. First, matcha contains a fifth of the caffeine that coffee does, making it a healthier substitute. Second, matcha, like all camellia sinensis teas, contains a compound known as L-theanine, which calms the mind and delivers a nirvana effect. Recent studies show that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine will increase alpha wave activity in the brain, making you more alert and focused. Third, the high antioxidant properties in matcha help counteract the crash normally felt after a caffeine rush.
Coffee loaded with caffeine can leave us wired after the initial boost while herbal remedies often put us to sleep. Mamaki tea, however, stimulates and invigorates without any caffeine. Mamaki tea is loaded with macro and micro minerals that contain catechins; these polyphenols stimulate brain activity and boost metabolic rates and are rich in antioxidants. The unassuming and subtle effect gently stimulates natural brain activity, leaving you feeling productive, creative, and confident.
EnergiTea gets its kick two ways. First, it's high in antioxidants. Second, ginseng in this tea helps boost metabolism.
After a long day, our brains tend to be clouded by the mental toll its taken, which can make it difficult to relax and drift into a restful slumber. While it has become common to revert to alcohol and other depressant drugs to relax, studies show that this routine can be very damaging to your health. Tea’s similar sedative effects can actually benefit your mental and physical health in the process. Here are a few teas to drink before bed.
While a bouquet of roses are a way to welcome a loved one home, rose tea is also a way to comfort them. Rose tea can help to regulate and promote your sleep patterns by working with the hormones that control your circadian rhythm. Additionally, rose tea can ease the activity of hormones that drive menstrual cycles, which is effective in alleviating some of those unpleasant symptoms.
Chamomile and Lemon Chamomile
Chamomile is versatile, it has enough remedial abilities to qualify for the immunity category, yet it currently tops the list as a relaxant. That is due to its ability to enhance healthy sleep. The chemical properties of chamomile can bind to receptors in your brain that influence healthy sleep. This helps limit the amount of times you wake up every night, and those extra hours of sleep can lower levels of depression.
Lemon Chamomile is some of the best tasting chamomile. Lemon Chamomile can improve sleep and relaxation. It also contains cinnamon which can help with blood balance.
The disarming, relaxing scent of jasmine makes Dragon Pearls drinkable aroma therapy. Inhaling the sweet fragrance of jasmine relaxes both mind and body. Young green tea shoots used to make the pearls are also lower in caffeine compared to other teas.
Perhaps the leader in the alternative medicine category is herbal tea. For centuries, herbal infused beverages have brought relief from cold, flu and other illnesses. Here are a few teas that will both help alleviate your symptoms and boost your immune system.
The hibiscus use to make tea is not the same as the beautiful Hawaiian flower. Hibiscus extends its beauty into beverages, offering an eye catching color and a variety of health benefits. An abundance of scientific research suggests that consumption of anthocyanins can help equip your body to better defend against heart disease and can improve blood flow. Enjoy with mint and a squeeze of lemon and take in its refreshing flavor — your body will thank you for it.
Ginger tea is not for the weak. If you can handle the initial spicy and eccentric flavor, then your stomach will thank you for it as ginger specializes in stomach health. Its chemical properties are a powerful agent in relieving nausea and for improving overall stomach performance. Ginger is also loaded with antioxidants so you will simultaneously improve your immune system health.
For centuries people have drank echinacea to boost immunity and have relied on the flower to provide relief for cold and flu symptoms. Recent studies have nearly confirmed the remedial abilities of echinacea. The plant itself is loaded with antimicrobial substances that help equip your immune system to be bettered prepared to fight off symptoms of colds, flu and other illnesses, infections, and conditions.