The Polyphenol Powers of Tea

Tea is the most widely consumed drink aside from water and is grown in over 30 countries worldwide.Black Tea, Oolong Tea, Green Tea and White Tea all come from the same plant “Camelia Sinensis” but each type is processed differently. Green Tea leaves are withered and steamed, Black Tea and Oolong Tea leaves undergo a crushing and fermenting process, White tea is steamed and dried.

Tea Polyphenols, aka – Epigallocatechin -3-gallate (EGCG) are the most important tea leaf components because of their ability to scavenge Free Radicals that can cause cell damage within our bodies. Tea in general comes under the Flavonoid family – a group of Phytonutrients found in plants. Flavonoids are Poly-phenolic compounds (a group of chemical substances found in plants),  that occur in fruits, vegetables and some drinks – e.g. tea, red wine.  The scientific evidence for drinking tea is growing and the bulk of research shows that regular tea drinkers, who drink 2 or more cups a day (this includes black tea as well), have less heart disease and strokes and lower levels of bad cholesterol. Studies have linked tea to the slowing or prevention of cancer – specifically bladder, colon, esophageal, stomach and pancreas.

White Tea claims to have a higher concentration of EGCG and was historically only ever drank by the Royalty of China!  Well, not anymore!, it’s widely available today in both tea and skincare products. White Tea’s benefits come from the young tea leaves that are picked before the buds have fully opened. The buds are covered with silver fuzz that turns white when they are steamed and dried – hence the name! I find White tea has a nicer flavour and is a bit lighter on the taste buds than other teas.

Rooibos is also a popular Tea choice for it’s antioxidant benefits, but isn’t strictly a Tea! it doesn’t come from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but from the Legume (bean) family, it may not have the same antioxidants as Tea, but still hosts it’s own unique antioxidant quality and is completely caffeine free, so still a great choice. Even if you choose a decaffeinated tea, the Flavonoids remain unchanged!

Tea has been shown to also boost metabolism and aid in a weight loss plan (excluding the sugar, mind!). Tea also inhibits bacteria that can cause cavities in teeth, and also contains Fluoride! so may save you a trip to the dentist.

The topical benefits of Green Tea and White Tea have been published in many studies, they all show that the effects of application in a skincare product can boost the skin’s sun protection and has an anti-inflammatory effect on skin cells and help prevent skin cancer.

If you don’t like tea and want some of the benefits try – Dr Brandt Antioxidant Water Booster, this claims that one pipette full is the equivalent to 15 cups of green tea!! and comes in 3 flavours –  you can put it in juice, milkshake or just water!

If you must put sugar in your tea, try some Xylitol instead, it’s Glycemic load is much, much lower than sugar, but without the chemicals of sweeteners!

Clipper TeaClipper Teas  have  a brilliant selection of Green and Whites teas, with some  interesting twists!

I also like Origins Muzi Organic Matcha Green Tea, and if you want a real treat, have a browse round Fortnum and Masons amazing tea collections!

So get the kettle on…..

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