Health Benefits of Tea
There are many general health benefits of tea. As stated in our post about low carb tea drinks, traditional teas are derived from the same tea leaves. So, the difference in taste and quality of traditional teas have to do with the added flavors and how the leaves are processed.
According to WebMD, nutritionists state that the health benefits of tea can be provided by any traditional tea drink. However, they prefer a brewed tea over a bottled tea because they are lower in carbs.
Harvard Medical School reports that “any health benefits to tea consumption are probably completely offset by adding sugar.” Therefore, we will consider the overall health benefits of drinking low carb tea. But first, let me briefly explain the difference between the different kinds of teas.
Difference Between Teas
With the relatively new popularity of drinking tea, keeping the different kinds of tea straight can become confusing. So, I will clarify the differences. Traditional tea include four main varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. And they are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant – a shrub that is native to India and China. So, everything else is “technically” not a tea.
There are herbal “teas” that are derived from an infusion of fruits, roots, seeds, and obviously different herbs. Popular herbal “teas” include: ginger, jasmine, rosehip, rooibos red tea, hibiscus, mint, lavender, chamomile, echinacea, ginseng, and gingko biloba.
- Ginger – one of the most notable health benefits of ginger is the amazing relief it can provide to a troublesome digestive system.
- Mint – is a mood enhancing and uplifting tea that also aids digestion.
- Lavender – is a calming tea, but also claims to have properties that aid digestion.
- Chamomile – is a sedative. An anesthesiologist once stated that steeping and drinking multiple bags of chamomile tea is equivalent to taking a popular prescription sleeping aid.
- Echinacea – claims to properties that benefit the immune system.
- Ginseng – provides energy, stamina, and mental clarity.
- Gingko Biloba – also increases energy, mental capabilities, clarity, and focus.
Like traditional teas, herbal teas are steeped in hot water to provide their own unique low carb health benefits. While some herbal teas are extremely beneficial in their own unique ways, traditional teas have a higher concentration of antioxidants.
One of the main health benefits of tea is attributed to polyphenols (catechins and epicatechins) – a substance found in tea (and coffee). Studies suggest that these substances have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to some Harvard studies, it has been observed that tea and/or coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Antioxidants are naturally produced in the body to reduce cell damage caused by aging and external environmental factors. However, as we age, the body can use all the help it can get to rid itself of harmful free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage and are linked to, among other things, heart disease and cancer.
Traditional teas also naturally have some caffeine. Therefore, they are known to energize the body and increase endurance. And as a result, many teas claim to aid weight loss. Therefore, these are excellent additions to any low carb diet. However, the true weight loss properties comes from (1) adding more water to your diet, (2) increasing your level of activity, and (3) reducing the number of carbohydrates consumed from other high carb drinks. So, low carb tea drinks are a win-win.
You can learn more about the different types of tea.
Green Tea – According to TIME, studies indicate that there are components in green tea that could help diabetics better process sugars. Green tea is an unprocessed or unfermented tea leaf. And therefore, seems to have the best overall health benefits of tea. WebMD reports that green tea has the highest concentration of a potent antioxidant called EGCG. This antioxidant is believed to interfere with the growth of various cancers, improve cholesterol levels, burn fat, and prevent clogged arteries thereby reducing your chance of stroke.
White Tea – Like green tea, white teas are minimally processed. Therefore, they have some of the highest antioxidant properties.
Oolong Tea – This tea is similar to black tea. However, it is oxidized or fermented less than black tea. And as a result, it contains more of the health benefits of tea than black tea.
Black Tea – Black tea is a highly oxidized fermented tea that maintains its flavor really well. It is commonly used as the basis for popular Chai, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and Ceylon teas. Interestingly, black teas have the highest level of caffeine.
Pu-erh Tea – This tea undergoes gradual fermentation and matures with time. It is therefore a fermented dark tea. It is often rolled and dried into different shapes providing an exotic low carb tea drink experience. The best quality comes from the Yunnan Province.
Photo Credit: Xiaguan Te Ji Tuo Cha
So, that’s all for now. What is your favorite low carb tea drink? This concludes the health benefits of tea.