Superfood of the week – Tea

After a hard day’s work, what better way to unwind than a hot cup of tea taking all your cares away? Many of us are unaware that one simple cup can carry many benefits for our bodies. There are four main types of tea but they all come from the same plant; it is the way in which they are processed that differentiates them.

Black Tea

Tea leaves originated in China. Black tea, traditionally the most popular kind in Ireland, can contribute to preventing cancer in particular esophageal, lung and ovarian cancers. They add to our daily fluid intake and promote a healthier heart, lowering your risk of high blood pressure or even having a stroke. Tea has also been proven to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women. Black tea is enjoyed most with a ‘drop’ of milk and a spoon of sugar – “do you take milk or sugar?” is basically common courtesy when a visitor arrives at an Irish household. Kate Lennox enjoys a cup of tea after a night out and Eimear Dolan likes hers with ‘a drop of milk’.

Green Tea

Green tea is considered to have the most health benefits of any type of tea. Studies show that compounds in green tea could help diabetics process sugars better, especially those with type 2 diabetes. It keeps your weight in check as it boosts metabolism and reduces bad cholesterol in the body. Also if you’re wishing to keep your youthful looks in check green tea is the way to go as it can help reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. Laura Parke believes a cup of green tea “can be the solution to all life’s problems” while Genevieve Mulligan says “there is no problem too great or too grave that cannot be solved by a nice cup of tea”. Tea catechins destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections and dental conditions.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea isn’t heard of too often unless you’re an expert in the tea area. It’s made from the same plant as that is used to make black tea and green tea: the difference between them all is in the processing. Oolong tea is partially fermented which gives it a reddish look, whereas black tea is fully fermented and green tea is unfermented. Before exams it might be good to get a few cups of oolong tea into your system as it is used to sharpen thinking skills and improve mental alertness.

White Tea

White tea is most popular in China and here in Europe we have yet to see this tea fill our shop shelves but the benefits which can be reaped from it might make us re-think. It is made from immature tea leaves that are picked shortly before the buds have fully opened. It doesn’t have the same grassy like aftertaste that green tea has. It can be expensive but give your body a treat with it sometime. The most popular types of white tea to look out for are White Peony and Silver Needle.

Next time you need a little bit of cheering up or just a bit of warming up don’t hesitate to stick on the kettle. One cup can work wonders.

Jenna-Eve Smyth

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