Tea is widely regarded as a healthier alternative to sugar-loaded sodas, but with so many colored versions displayed on grocer shelves – green, black, white, and everything in between – you may be stumped on which one to steep.
The short answer: it largely won’t matter, unless you’re finicky about taste.
Standard Tea Benefits
Regardless of your tea’s color, it will likely provide the same range of health benefits as its darker or lighter cousins. This is because most teas are made from the Camellia sinensis or tea camellia plant, which has three varieties native to Asia.
What’s so special about this evergreen shrub? The tea camellia contains a high concentration of polyphenol antioxidants that may improve cardiovascular function and possibly inhibit cancer growth. It also boasts of antibacterial and asthma-relieving properties, which has led to its popularity as a traditional herbal medicine.
There has been some debate on whether drinking tea translates to full absorption of these purported nutrients in the tea camellia, but studies suggest that increased consumption may relieve the symptoms of these ailments and improve your healthy living standards.
Significance of Tea Color
So why make tea in different colors, if they provide almost identical health perks?
For personal preference, of course. With billions of tea drinkers worldwide, it was only natural for producers to offer several varieties that range in color, taste, aroma and even liquid texture. Tea color indicates the unique fermentation period and process applied to the tea camellia, resulting in the tea shades you see today.
Still, each tea color has gained certain reputations for nutrition. I tackle three of the most popular ones below.
Green tea undergoes minimal oxidation in its fermentation process. In diet circles, it is the tea of choice especially after studies showed its polyphenols and caffeine content could induce slight increases in metabolism, which helps in burning calories. Its natural taste is grassy with a hint of vegetable bitterness.
Among the tea variants, black tea has one of the highest caffeine contents, making it a slightly more effective stimulant for those lazy afternoons or all-nighters. It has also been linked to lower prevalence of diabetes among its frequent drinkers. Its natural taste has a strong, malt-like bitterness. Usually tempered with milk.
White tea was previously served only among Chinese royalty because of its rarity, but these days you can easily find them in the supermarket or local herb store. It is one of the least oxidized tea types, and has been researched as a possible immune booster. Its natural taste is very mild and light on the tongue.
No matter which tea you end up steeping in your cup, the consensus remains that switching to tea is always a step forward to healthy living. Now brew up some batches and find your favorite!
Health and Love,