Tea: Herbal, Green & Black. Whats in it for me?

Herbal teas come from the roots or flowers of non-tea plants and is not derived from the leaves of the Camellia plant and so some do not have the same health-promoting properties. Most herbal teas sold are not tea, but are only infusions made with herbs, flowers, roots, spices or other parts of some. Herbal teas have lower concentrations of antioxidants because the chemical composition varies widely among the different plants” from which they’re made. Most research on tea focuses on green tea. Apparently green tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, after water. While tea is a source of many antioxidants and phytochemicals (chronic disease fighters); black, green, white, and oolong teas all come from different parts of the same plant. As stated earlier, herbal teas come from the roots or flowers of non-tea plants.

Some herbal remedies consist of both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However most of the evidenced based benefits of tea are derived from green tea and black tea. The strongest evidence is represented in heart health. In the relationship of black tea intake and cardiovascular health, there was a decrease in the incidents of heart attacks in one study. In that same study the consumption of green tea was associated with lower cholesterol levels. Human observation research studies shows that tea’s guaranteed benefit include lowering LDL cholesterol and ability to reduce blood clotting. A Meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials reported that green tea significantly lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure and total and LDL cholesterol.

Tea leaves originate mainly from southeast Asia through Chinese medicine.

The highest nutritional benefits typically come from a term called flavonoids. But tea is no one nutritional labeled beverage. Tea also includes sources of minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, sodium, copper and zinc. There are 3 main types of tea commonly consumed include: Black tea, usually consumed in western countries, green tea mainly consumed in Asian countries and Oolong tea, which is a big choice for Southern China.

A common ingredient in many herbal tea blends, hibiscus tea (or tisane) also may be good for the heart. A 2010 study showed that six weeks of drinking hibiscus tea each day lowered blood pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults, which may make it a heart-healthy dietary addition for this group of people. Hibiscus tea is a tart red color herbal tea sometimes mixed with fruity herbal tea blends. Another small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.

Chamomile tea has shown effects in humans to improve sleep quality and fewer signs of depression based on a study done on 80 postpartum women experiencing sleep issues. More research is needed to demonstrate chamomile tea regarding anti-inflammatory factors. Also associated with calming and decreased anxiety is passionflower tea and lemon balm tea.

Peppermint tea is usually used to relieve discomfort of the digestive system but studies have only found that peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, cramping, spasms and stomach pain.

Spicy ginger tea is also known for its remedy to help nausea but recent studies are finding this tea to relieve menstrual pain as well.

Echinacea tea has been shown to prevent and shorten the common cold however several studies have found this to be conflicting. More research is needed.

Rooibos or red tea from South Africa made from the leaves of the rooibos or red bush plant is a newly studied tea regarding its benefits, but this tea is suspected to help improve bone health and reduce heart disease risk. More research is still needed.

Several studies have shown that sage tea improves function and memory.

Rose hip tea is high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants and has found to have anti-inflammatory properties associated with arthritis. Plus, studies have shown to be effective in fighting aging skin.

Matcha tea use in Japanese ceremony is a very fine green powder made from the green leaves of tea bushes. It is the only tea whose leaves are consumed as part of the drink instead of infused in hot water. This is extremely healthy because the antioxidant content is higher than most other teas. We even see now that cooking with tea is encouraged due to the savory flavor called “Umani” it provides.

However, tea is not a quick fix, in fact eating a poor nutrient dese diet and drinking herbal tea will not create healthy eating habits overall.

Drinking at least two cups of freshly brewed tea daily can provide protection against CVD and coronary events. Larger amounts of four cups of tea could be considered to lower clinical biomarkers of diabetes and CVD like lipids. Green tea is more protective than black tea however ready to drink bottles and canned tea will not have the same effect due to many of the benefits lost due to processing and storage. Plus, added sugars to this type of beverages overtake the health benefit of tea overall. So sip you tea but make sure its beneficial!

Bell Well. Be Nourished. Be Healthy.

Whitney & Jasmine

Registered Dietitians


Todays Dietitan.http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0517p44.shtml

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