Steep Perks: Why Drinking Tea Is Good for Your Health
Color Me Healthy
When talking about tea, we're referring to black, green, white, or oolong, all made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. A tea stickler will tell you that herbal teas fall outside that definition, but they still deserve a spot in your mug.
White: Its leaves are picked when they're young, so it has the mildest flavor of any tea variety. One study suggests that it has potent anticancer properties too. Expect 10 to 15 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Green: Traditionally from Japan or China, these leaves are heat-treated immediately after plucking, which keeps them from oxidizing. The flavor is subtler than oolong or black tea, and the lack of oxidation means that the tea retains high amounts of healthy antioxidants. Expect 25 to 30 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Oolong: Withered and then rolled by hand, these leaves partially oxidize before being fired in a pan or a basked. Oolong has the body and complexity of black tea with the fresh taste of green, and studies suggest that it boosts metabolism. Expect 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Black: Fully oxidized tea leaves make a dark brown or reddish drink that has a full body and a strong, sometimes slightly bitter, flavor. Research shows that black tea helps decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. Expect 40 to 60 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Herbal: usually made from an infusion of dried fruits, flowers, herbs, and spices in hot water, herbal teas are known for their pleasing fragrances and therapeutic properties. Many types are calming and relaxing. Expect 0 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2014.
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