Years ago if you brought up the subject of colored teas people might think you were crazy. Tea comes in dark brown and light brown, when the tea bag was old. Truth is tea comes in many colors. Different color tea has different health benefits. Now days we all know about green tea. Most teas originate from the Camellia sinensis plant family. Tea has been considered a healthy drink for close to 5,000 years. Chinese Emperor Shennong that the Camellia sinensis plant species was useful for the treatment of a variety of health conditions.
But here is the breakdown on the rainbow of tea types and their health benefits.
TEA COLOR GUIDE
This is your usual everyday drinking tea. Black tea is more oxidized than its counterparts. Its roots can be traced back to the later parts of the Ming Dynasty. Believe or it not but the benefits of black tea have been studied for over 4000 years, all the way back to ancient china. Black tea is rich in polyphenols thearubigins and theaflavins. Among the benefits of these polyphenols are choloestrol lowering, slowing of progression of HIV, and regulating cancer cell growth.
Boston University published a study in 2001 that found black tea can be benefitial to persons with coronary artery disease. The ability to lower cholesterol is also being studied.
Turn on the TV or read a magazine and try to not to hear about this tea. It seems like every major tea manufacturer either offers a brew or bottles green tea. It has even found its way into candy, dessert and ice cream. It seems like every week researchers find new benefits of this stuff.
China and Japan have embraced green tea for thousands of years and written thoroughly about its benefits as a healthy drink. Green tea like black tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant but undergoes minimal oxidation during processing. There are about twenty-two different types of green tea from China and ten from Japan. It was Japanese Buddhist Priest Eisai who first documented the positive benefits of green tea. He did so in his book Kissa Yojoki (Book Of Tea) written in 1191.
Green tea is most famous in Western culture for its weight loss properties though those are still disputed among researchers and the medical community. However green tea extract remains a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements. It contains Epigallocatechin gallate more commonly known as EGCG, a catechin which raises your metabolic rate.
A 2015 study showed a 5% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease in subjects who consumed one cup green tea every day. A similar study also in 2015 showed that drinking three cups of green tea daily reduced the risk of death from multiple diseases.
Recently White Tea has been making the rounds as a health drink and all around healthy ingredient. There is everything from drinks to shampoo containing white tea. White tea also comes from the Camellia sinensis species but is created from young and minimally processed leaves of the plant. It is generally picked and allowed to dry in the sunlight. White tea is then steamed to inactivate oxidation, doing this retains a large percent of catechins in the tea. Studies show that white tea can increase antioxidant capacity in blood plasma.
Catechins are polyphenol compounds which have shown beneficial in reducing stroke, heart failure, diabetes and cancer. White tea also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. A Pace University study of 2004 showed higher anti-viral properties in white tea over green. White tea is a very light and refreshing drink. Served cold it is perfect for hot summer days.
Red tea is actually not a tea at all. Red tea is the marketing name given to a drink made from brewing the South African Rooibos plant. Red tea is a naturally sweet tasting drink, where most teas can be bitter. Rooibos is rich in antioxidants and naturally free of caffeine. Most teas and coffees that are decaffeinated are done s through a chemical process. It also has a low tannin level; tannin can cause gastrointestinal issues with some people. The European Journal of Medicine published a study in 2006 showed that Rooibos has positive effects on blood pressure, as well as lowering the effects of respiratory disorders.
Of all the teas, this which is not even a tea is one of if not the best choices for an all-around healthy drink.
This is actually known as Oolong, while not necessarily blue it is sometimes grouped with a selection of teas called qīng chá (青茶) which translates to blue green tea color. Oolong stands somewhere between Green Tea and Black Tea on the oxidation scale. It has a taste similar to green tea, but tends to be sweeter. This tea is actually roasted upon production and is known to be very gentle on the stomach. The polyphenols in Oolong have impotent antioxidant properties against free radical damage to cells. Oolong has been found to reduce fat intake through the blood stream. It also has benefits for hair, skin and bones. A 2001 study showed 54% of tests subject showed positive improvements in skin conditions while drinking Oolong tea.
The American Diabetes Association published a study that suggests that drinking Oolong tea can help balance blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics.
Yellow tea undergoes a different processing phase than other teas which results in a yellowed color. Leaves are wrapped in damp cloth for several days then roasted. Yellow tea is similar in many ways to green and white teas and offers a more mild flavor over its green cousin. While not very famous in the West, it has been known as a tea of royalty in China. It was the Imperial Tribute Drink to the Ming Dynasty. Yellow tea is also listed in the “TEN GREAT CHINESE TEAS” list.
Yellow Tea has many of the health benefits of green tea including thermogenesis, lowering of LDL cholesterol, and as a digestion aide. Yellow Tea contains higher catechin levels than Green Tea which improves the activity of pepsin, a digestive enzyme.
Yellow tea also has favorable effects on slowing the progression of cancer cells. It should be noted that cancer rates in Asian cultures that consume large amounts of tea have lower cancer rates.
The Healthy Tea Color Conclusion
So what can we conclude? Tea is good for you, for reasons so numerous I can’t list them all. China and Japan have known the benefits of tea since before Western culture was founded. Their cultures have much less instances of many diseases like cancer, cardiac, and diabetes than in the Western world.
So pick a color, boil some water and enjoy!
Please note…Pregnant women should NOT consume decaffeinated tea. The chemicals used to remove caffeine from tea, coffee, and other drinks can be harmful to an unborn baby.