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This Sunday, May 21, is celebrated theworld tea day, an anniversary that was declared by the United Nations in 2019 to promote the production and consumption of this drink that, to this day, is the most consumed in the world... only after water.
However, in countries where there is a great tradition of drinking tea, such as China, India or Japan, this date has already been marked on the calendar since 2005.
True teas are made from the leaves of the plant.Camellia sinensisand differences in flavor and color depend on how the leaves are rolled, crushed, and exposed to air before drying.
Herbal teas, such as chamomile or ginger, are technically tisanes, or infusions of herbs and spices.
Even in the world's hottest countries, millions of people swear that a cup of steaming tea is just what they need to cool down.
And although it may seem contradictory, science supports his statement: hot drinks cool the body much more than cold ones. The only condition is that the ambient air is dry enough to evaporate the sweat.
But in addition to this characteristic, the numerous investigations that have been done on its health benefits suggest that they are abundant and very varied.
They specify them especially in that they reduce the risk of these diseases:
Type 2 diabetes.
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What is the healthiest type of tea?
Nutritionists believe that the answer is very simple: All of them.
Whether it is black tea, green tea, red tea or the highly valued white tea, this drink helps us increase the intake of plant compounds that are always highly recommended to fight diseases.
And it also has no calories!
According to a study by nutrition professor at Tufts University (near Boston), Jeffrey Blumberg:
"In the United States, tea drinkers have the highest intake of flavonoids. And they get them in a simple way, enjoying a tasty, aromatic and healthy drink."
What are theflavonoids?
In case anyone doesn't know, they are a group of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in many fruits, vegetables, and spices. There are up to 6,000 types and they are partly responsible for the intense colors of fruits and vegetables.
But when it comes to our health, they are important because they are powerful antioxidants, with anti-inflammatory properties that support the immune system.
And in addition, they have historically been used in traditional Chinese medicine for skin protection, improving brain function, and regulating blood pressure and blood sugar.
In research on diet in Denmark, which involved 53,048 Danes over 23 years, they found that people who regularly consumed moderate to high amounts of foods rich inflavonoidsthey were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease.
How much tea should we drink each day?
There are nutritionists who consider that tea could even replace wine as an accompaniment to meals. And in some parts of the world it really is.
But in our country it is not an easy goal to achieve, and the truth is that there is no standard recommendation for how much tea we should drink each day.
Some nutritionists consider that it is advisable to drink 2 to 3 cups a day to notice its benefits. But most of them just say that drinking tea is a good thing and that we should do it regularly, within reason.
And which variety is most recommended? Below we analyze them one by one, how they are made and the advantages they have.
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White tea. Does it rejuvenate?
As elaborated:The first thing to say about this type of tea is that it is the most expensive of all because it is made only with the tender stems of the highest part of the plant. This is why they are the youngest shoots and are quickly cooked and dried after picking, to inactivate the enzymes that cause browning (brown color change).
Benefits: The first thing that can be said is that it has so little protein that it can be drunk all day, even at night, unless someone is very sensitive to sleep disturbances.
It is also considered a particularly relaxing tea.
It has great antioxidant power that allows it to neutralize the oxidation caused by free radicals, which could help delay the first signs of aging.
Additionally, white teas contain the highest amount of catechins, a type of flavonoid that can help keep blood vessels open and help the body break down fat.
Green tea lose weight?
As elaborated:the fresh leaves are picked and steamed immediately so that they retain their green color. (Oolong tea, which falls somewhere between a green tea and a black tea, is briefly exposed to oxygen before being steamed.)
Benefits:Green tea is a good source of the plant compounds called catechins, most of which are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been found in studies to reducecholesterolLDL (bad). And it can also help counteract inflammation in the body.
According to research from Purdue University (Wisconsin), if you like lemon, squeezing a slice over green tea can help its beneficial compounds survive digestion.
There has been some concern that a high intake of catechins may cause liver damage.
But recently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a report on the safety of green tea catechins. And in his conclusions he states that as a drink they are generally safe, even for those who drink a lot of green tea.
However, the same criteria does not apply to green tea extract supplements, so “vaunted & rdquor; as ideal for losing weight.
Some studies directly link them to liver damage, although the EFSA experts found no evidence of liver damage for doses below 800 mg.
However, the experts stated that there is not enough data to recommend a safe dose of the supplements. And they end up saying that it is best not to take them.
Because also, they say, there is very little evidence that they really do what they say they do: lose weight.
Red tea Does it take care of the teeth?
As elaborated:It is native to the Chinese region of Pu Erh, in Yunnan, also known as the "Region of Eternal Spring".
This type of tea is made following an ancient tradition that collects green tea leaves and, after letting them ferment, puts them in bamboo barrels for at least 2 years. And this is how it acquires that earthy or reddish color.
Benefits:Plant extracts and phytochemicals that are especially present in this type of tea have the peculiarity that they can inhibit bacteria from sticking to the teeth, with the problems it causes.
That is why it has been said, for a long time, that red tea helps oral health, preventscariesand reduces the risk of gingivitis.
It also has a diuretic action because it favors the elimination of toxins in a natural way and prevents fluid retention. This also contributes to weight loss, and for this reason it is also closely associated with possible slimming abilities.
Black tea Strengthens?
As elaborated:tea makers roll or crush the leaves, releasing an enzyme that oxidizes the catechins. Fermentation creates the rich flavor and dark color of the brew.
Benefits:Researchers say that black tea helps strengthen the skeleton. And according to a Japanese study involving 498 women over five years, postmenopausal women who drank black tea regularly had higher bone mineral density in the lumbar spine and hip.
Another report published in 2018 in the journal Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy ensures that there is some evidence that black tea may help protect against heart attacks.
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This is possibly because the polyphenols in black tea help relax blood vessels, which prevents them from constricting.
a warning: Adding the splash of milk that is often used to accompany black tea is not the best idea. Because milk proteins can bind with some of the beneficial compounds in black tea and reduce your body's ability to absorb them.
4 things you should know
All teas naturally contain caffeine. Black is the one with the most (72 mg in about 350 grams) and is approximately half that of brown.
The World Health Organization has classified very hot drinks (70 degrees or more) as possible carcinogens. And while the drinks are generally not served that hot, it doesn't hurt to know that and let the tea cool down a bit before drinking it.
Decaf and homemade iced tea have fewer beneficial compounds due to the process of decaffeinating or diluting with ice. If you want to maintain its benefits, it's best to double the amount of tea to make up the difference, suggests scientist Jeffrey Blumberg.
Be careful with sugary tea drinks because they tend to have a lot ofsugarand lots of calories.