A comforting cup of hot tea is the perfect thing to soothe many worries on a cold and wet day. Not only does tea taste great, but it has also been known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and incidence of strokes. Tea also contains several beneficial compounds like flavonoids that may lessen oxidative stress and relieve inflammation.
There are several different types of tea - black tea, green tea and herbal teas. Most of the different tea types are dependent on the amount of time that the leaves are processed. All non-herbal teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant and can be processed to become green, black or oolong tea.
Green teas are the least processed type of teas and tend to have the highest amounts of polyphenols and catechins. Catechins are a type of antioxidant that helps with fighting against free radicals. In addition, certain herbal teas are known for their medicinal values, including soothing the digestive system.
Sencha is a type of green tea that is processed through steaming and rolled through cylinders to dry. The taste is bitter and sweet at the same time and is a great tea to brew in a cast-iron kettle and savour throughout the day.
Matcha is also a variety of green tea where the real tea leaves are processed into a powder form to be added to hot water for drinking. With matcha, you are drinking the actual tea leaves and thus ingesting all the antioxidants and catechins that come with them.
Kukicha is a green tea that is made from the twigs and stems of the tea plant to give a sweet and nutty flavour. The twig tea is rich in both vitamins and minerals that feed the growth parts of the plant. Kukicha contains minerals such as copper, selenium, manganese, calcium, zinc and fluoride, and vitamins A and C and B-complex.
Chamomile tea is a herbal tea that helps to calm and reduce stress, aiding in sleep and reducing insomnia. Containing antioxidants called apigenin, these compounds bind to receptors in the brain to induce sleep and reduce anxiety. It can also help with digestive issues and relieve stomach upset, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and stomach gas.