The Truth About Tea
Drinking a few cups of tea a day may be good for your health. Tea leaves come from the Camellia sinensisplant. They contain antioxidants that counter free radicals, which can damage cells. Antioxidants may reduce or help prevent some of this damage.
The difference between the three main varieties of tea (green, black, and oolong) is the process used to make them. Black tea is exposed to air, or fermented, which darkens the leaves and gives them flavor. Green tea is made by heating or quickly steaming the leaves. Oolong tea leaves are partially fermented.
Some studies show that drinking green tea may help curb a few heart disease risk factors, including body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol absorption. People who need to control their blood sugar level may benefit from drinking green tea. There is some evidence that green tea may help control glucose (or blood sugar) levels.
You get the most antioxidants from freshly brewed tea; those compounds are reduced in instant tea, decaffeinated tea, and bottled tea. Researchers have not determined how many cups of freshly brewed green tea are recommended each day, but people in Asia typically drink at least three cups daily.
Fresh brewing is the way to get the most antioxidants from your tea, so knowing how long to steep the tea is an important part of the process. Three to five minutes is the recommended amount of time for maximizing the benefits.
Green tea contains caffeine, so pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding shouldn’t drink more than one or two servings of green tea per day. People with irregular heartbeats or anxiety disorders also should be cautious about how much caffeine they get, from green tea or other sources