The Definitive Information to Tea


Tea can imply a number of totally different crops. There’s maté, the bitter South American shrub steeped in boiling water to extract the caffeine-like compounds contained inside. There’s rooibos, the “purple tea” made out of a polyphenol-rich bush native to South Africa. There’s coca, the South American plant additionally used to make cocaine. There are the unnamed wild bitter root and herb teas utilized by the Maasai, the evergreen tip teas utilized by American natives to acquire vitamin C, the nettleleaf teas used throughout Europe.

For at the moment’s put up, I’m specializing in the precise tea plant—Camellia sinensis. The entire basic teas come from the identical fundamental plant; the variations lie in how they’re processed after harvest. Most tea undergoes managed oxidation to develop taste and totally different bioactive compounds. The extra oxidized, the darker the tea. The much less oxidized, the lighter.

I’m additionally going to deal with the well being advantages of tea, somewhat than get into the nitty gritty of tea grading, the limitless bespoke varieties, the optimum temperature—tea professional stuff. I get pleasure from tea, however I’m not a connoisseur. I can let you know concerning the well being results, and I think about that’s what most of you’re right here for anyway.

Sorts Of Tea

Even inside “true tea,” there are a number of varieties.

White Tea

White tea is made out of tea leaves which are very calmly processed with none oxidation. Research present that it’s “decrease” in antioxidants than inexperienced or oolong tea, however that doesn’t imply it’s “worse.”

White tea possesses compounds that inhibit the absorption and digestion of glucose, thereby reducing blood glucose ranges.

White tea additionally exhibits a unique ability to struggle amyloid plaque linked to Alzheimer’s illness (albeit in take a look at tubes, not stay folks to date).

Inexperienced Tea

In Japan, inexperienced tea is calmly steamed. In China, it’s shortly toasted below dry warmth. The end result with every is gentle oxidation. It has a “grassy” taste and, on the whole, essentially the most antioxidant content material—the catechins. In a single study trying on the antioxidant content material and impact of 30 totally different teas, the highest 2 and 6 of the highest 10 had been inexperienced teas.

Most research discover that inexperienced tea is related to essentially the most well being advantages amongst all of the teas, however I take that with a grain of salt. As an illustration on this study, inexperienced tea was related to higher well being outcomes than black tea amongst adults within the Mediterranean, however they failed to manage for bodily exercise. Inexperienced tea drinkers had extra bodily exercise, which the authors counsel is a profit of inexperienced tea however I counsel is a function of the “wholesome consumer impact.” Inexperienced tea drinkers did extra wholesome stuff like train, whereas black tea drinkers had been much less probably.

There are consistent links between green tea and lower cognitive decline. We don’t see this as a lot in different teas (or espresso, for that matter).

Oolong Tea

Oolong is “midway between” inexperienced tea and black tea: extra closely oxidized than inexperienced, much less oxidized than black. Oolong additionally ranks extremely for antioxidant content material; in that very same 30-tea antioxidant study, oolongs took Four of the highest 10 spots.

Black Tea

Black tea is fully-oxidized tea. It’s the best in caffeine and wealthy in a category of antioxidants often known as theaflavins.

Theaflavins within the 50-100 mg vary (Four-Eight cups of black tea) reduced body fat and increased muscle mass in Japanese women, whereas inexperienced tea catechins had no impact.

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea undergoes an extra stage of microbial fermentation. It develops intense flavors and distinctive bioactive compounds.

For instance, pu-erh contains alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors that cut back the absorption of dietary glucose and decrease blood glucose ranges, notably after consuming.

Animal research show protecting results in opposition to metabolic syndrome, hyperglycemia, weight problems, and fatty liver. It appears to scale back liver fats, however by a strange mechanism: by growing de novo lipogenesis (fats creation) within the visceral adipose tissue. Rodents within the examine misplaced weight however gained visceral fats.

Matcha Tea

Matcha inexperienced tea is made out of powdered, shade-grown tea leaves. Nicely, “shade-finished” may be a extra correct descriptor; a number of weeks earlier than the harvest, matcha-designated tea crops are lined with shade. This slows the expansion, sweetens and deepens the flavour, and will increase the amino acid content material of the leaves (particularly L-theanine). Pulverizing the tea leaves right into a powder will increase the floor space and makes for a stronger, stronger brew. Plus, if you drink matcha, you’re consuming the leaves and all their polyphenols and amino acids themselves. The powder doesn’t get strained out like regular inexperienced tea leaves.

This appears to extend the antioxidant exercise. First, there’s extra L-theanine out there. I’ve mentioned the stress-reducing benefits of L-theanine earlier than, but it surely’s additionally good against anxiety and pairs nicely with caffeine (extra on that later). Plus, a 2003 study discovered that the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) was 137 instances extra bioavailable in matcha than a conventional leaf-based inexperienced tea, and greater than thrice as bioavailable because the “largest literature worth of different inexperienced teas.” My guess is that the elevated bioavailability is defined by the truth that you’re consuming the powdered tea itself somewhat than steeping and discarding the leaves. One other benefit of matcha is that as a result of it’s so potent, you want a lot much less of it, rendering any of the potential downsides of tea, like fluoride content material, much less troublesome.

(Are you able to inform that matcha is my favourite?)

The Well being Advantages Of Tea

Generally, tea is a wealthy supply of bioactive polyphenols with suspected health benefits. Among the potential anti-cancer results reported by the examine:

Power obstructive lung illness (COPD): In Korea, ingesting greater than two cups a day of inexperienced tea was linked to decrease charges of COPD.

Colon most cancers: Amongst Korean sufferers who’d had colorectal adenomas (benign tumors) eliminated, taking inexperienced tea extract diminished the recurrence of them at one-year put up surgical procedure.

Prostate most cancers: In Hong Kong, inexperienced tea consumption was linked to a diminished threat of prostate most cancers. Nonetheless, follow-up managed trials in males with prostate most cancers had largely null outcomes.

Pores and skin most cancers: Amongst whites, each caffeinated espresso and tea consumption had been linked to safety in opposition to basal cell carcinoma (though espresso had the stronger relationship).

A lot of the most cancers research in people are merely observational. Extra fascinating are a few of the different results.

Most tea varieties have gentle anti-hyperglycemic results, almost definitely brought on by the ubiquity of drugs that inhibit the impact of glucose digesting and absorbing enzymes. In different phrases, ingesting some tea together with your meal will typically reduce the amount of carbs you absorb.

Tea polyphenols are among the many greatest at inducing a helpful hormetic response—the one the place your physique responds to the presence of “toxins” by upregulating its personal protection capabilities and triggering a web helpful cascade of well being results. It’s up there with espresso, chocolate, and purple wine. Inexperienced tea, for instance, triggers the Nrf2 pathway, inflicting a rise in glutathione and different antioxidant pathways our our bodies use to scale back oxidative stress and nullify reactive oxygen species.

The (Few) Negatives To Look Out For…


I’ve lined fluoride earlier than, and I’m nonetheless unsure of it. It appears to have some advantages for topical utility to tooth, however systemic ingestion poses issues. As an illustration, girls who consumed essentially the most fluoridated water (and tea) throughout being pregnant give birth to kids with depressed IQs. Tea could be very excessive in fluoride. The plant itself is sort of good at yanking fluoride from the soil, and soil fluoride in tea-producing nations is on the rise on account of industrial air pollution.

Prime quality tea made out of youthful leaves is extra more likely to be decrease in fluoride, because the plant received’t have had as a lot time to deposit soil fluoride into the leaves. The bottom high quality, least expensive brick tea is made out of the oldest leaves and shall be greater in fluoride.

White tea is usually low in fluoride, because the leaves are picked when nonetheless very younger. Inexperienced, oolong, and black tea leaves all keep on the plant lengthy sufficient to select up measurable ranges of fluoride.

In Ireland, the one European nation with legally mandated water fluoridation, the typical fluoride content material of brewed tea was three.three mg/L, with the best ranges hitting 6 mg/L. Primarily based on Irish tea consumption, the authors counsel that “the vast majority of the inhabitants in Eire are liable to continual fluoride intoxication.”

Natural Japanese-grown matcha inexperienced tea is an efficient choice for fluoride minimization, as Japanese soil tends to be fairly low in fluoride.


For those who use plastic tea baggage, your tea will be full of microplastics. Stick with free leaf or paper tea baggage.

Brew It

Okay, so how must you brew your tea?

Length: For those who’re making an attempt to maximise antioxidant extraction, longer is healthier.

In a single study of bagged and free leaf black tea, longer brew instances extracted extra antioxidants.

For bagged tea, 5 minutes produced essentially the most antioxidants.

For free leaf tea, 60 minutes produced most extraction. Nonetheless, the primary 10-15 minutes had been the place the overwhelming majority of antioxidants had been obtained. Longer brew instances extracted extra, however the fee of extraction dropped off a cliff. The distinction between 15 minutes of brewing and 60 minutes of brewing most likely isn’t sufficient to justify ready an hour to your tea.

Water selection: A latest study in contrast inexperienced and black tea brewed with three totally different waters: faucet, bottled, and deionized. Faucet water with greater ranges of minerals produced the most effective tasting tea with the bottom quantity of antioxidants. Bottled and deionized water with decrease ranges of minerals extracted essentially the most bitter compounds, resulting in the next antioxidant stage however harsher style.

Water temperature: I’ve learn and heard a number of totally different “guidelines” for brewing tea. Some say to “by no means boil the water.” Others say the alternative. All I do know is that I’ve by no means observed an enormous distinction—however I’m no professional. What I do know is that each low and better water temperatures appear to extract and protect a superb quantity of antioxidant content material:

Within the black tea examine above, they used water at 80 levels C or 176 levels F. That’s nicely under boiling.

Within the examine evaluating 30 styles of inexperienced, black, oolong, white, and pu-erh teas, they used water at 98 levels C or 208 levels F. That’s virtually boiling.

A Few Methods To Take pleasure in It

Collagen Matcha Latte: Read this post for directions.

Espresso Matcha: Generally I’ll make a batch of French press espresso and throw a spoonful of matcha powder in with the grounds. I’ll add some sizzling heavy cream to the brew. It is a nice method to get caffeine and L-theanine directly, a synergistic combo shown to improve cognitive performance. Many discover that theanine takes the jitter away from the caffeine buzz.

Creamy Turmeric Tea: Read this post, and add some black tea.

And…I’ve received a pair new ways in which takes the work out of the above. For these trying to get out the door shortly within the morning, tea in hand, try the brand new Primal Kitchen® Matcha Keto Collagen Latte and Chai Keto Collagen Latte. I’m enthusiastic about them. Let me know what you assume.

Summing It Up

Like the whole lot else, tea isn’t any super-substance that may prevent from most cancers, diabetes, and weight problems. Nevertheless it’s a drink that’s persistently (and generally causally) related to higher total well being, has an extended custom of utilization, and may complement an in any other case nutritious diet and way of life. All teas seem to have some advantages, so drink what you want most.

What sort of tea do you drink? How do you make it? How do you are taking it?

Thanks for studying, everybody. Take care!

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