Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's the Healthiest Tea?

According to a leading dietician black, white, and green tea are all healthy and contain a potent concentration of antioxidants to lower the risk of heart disease and types of cancer. Herbal tea, on the other hand, is not considered a true tea because they are mostly brewed from flowers, grasses, and herbs.

"Green tea is made from mature tea leaves that are not allowed to oxidize or ferment; the leaves are quickly steamed or heated and then dried. White tea is produced in a similar manner to green tea except that younger leaves and buds are used. To make black tea, the leaves are first rolled or broken to release some of the juices necessary for fermentation. The leaves are then allowed to fully ferment before they’re heated and dried.

Because green tea has not been fermented, it contains the highest concentration, about three times the quantity of antioxidants found in black tea. Steaming the leaves during green tea production inactivates the enzyme that triggers fermentation and the subsequent loss of antioxidants. White tea is also steamed and, as a result, retains high concentrations present in the leaves. Black tea, which is fully fermented, contains the least antioxidants although it is still a very good source."

Finally the article recommends loose tea leaves rather than tea bags. A cup of brewed loose leaf tea is much better tasting and contains more antioxidants because the whole tea leaf has more surface area for extraction.

Now I'm off to find our tea strainer!

Via The Globe and Mail