Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

Seven Types of Tea -- Including Five That Most People Don't Know Of -- and Their Health Benefits

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, other than water, according to the Tea Association of the USA. Even in the United States, which is typically thought of as a coffee-drinking nation, tea is a mainstay in close to 80 percent of households.

iced tea

About 85 percent of tea consumed by Americans is iced.

On any given day, about half of the U.S. population -- or over 127 million Americans -- drink tea. In all, this amounted to over 55 billion cups of tea consumed in the United States in 2007 alone, the Tea Association says.

There are thousands of different types of tea out there, each of which, like wine, has its own unique flavor depending on where it was grown.

Interestingly, ALL tea (except herbal tea) comes from the same plant, a warm-weather evergreen called Camellia sinensis. (Herbal teas are made from leaves, roots, bark, seeds or flowers of other plants, and technically are "infusions" or "tisanes," not "teas.") It's the way the plant is processed that makes the varieties take on their characteristic color and taste. Green tea, for instance, is not exposed to any oxygen, and its leaves are simply steamed, rolled and dried. Black tea, on the other had, is exposed to oxygen, or oxidized, for two to four hours.

But there is a whole world of tea out there beyond the familiar green and black varieties, most of which are not only tasty but excellent for your health.

1. Black Tea

Of all the tea Americans drank in 2007, 82 percent of it was black tea. Studies have shown that regularly drinking three or more cups of black tea a day can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. A study in the European Heart Journal also found that drinking black tea improves the ability of arteries to relax and expand to keep blood pressure healthy (but adding milk to the tea blocked this impact!).

green tea

Tea can help you get energized for a big meeting at work or relax before bedtime; it all depends on which type you choose!

2. Green Tea

Green tea accounted for 17 percent of Americans' tea consumption in 2007. It is one of the most talked about "healthy" teas, as it's a rich source of catechin polyphenols, namely epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a potent antioxidant. Here is just a short list of some of the conditions green tea is supposed to help:

  • Cancer

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • High cholesterol levels

  • Heart disease

  • Infection

  • Impaired immune function

  • Obesity, overweight

  • High blood sugar levels

3. Oolong Tea

Oolong tea comes from leaves that are withered, rolled, semi-fermented and fired, resulting in a rich flavor and aroma. Oolong tea is especially rich in polyphenols and studies have found that it can help to reduce obesity, prevent tooth decay and improve atopic dermatitis. Research has also suggested that drinking oolong tea after a high-cholesterol meal may reduce the uptake of fats into your bloodstream.

4. White Tea

White tea is the least processed form of tea; the leaves and buds are only steamed and then dried. It is similar in health benefits to green tea, but in some cases may be even healthier. For instance, a study by the Linus-Pauling Institute found that white tea was more effective than green tea in inhibiting mutagenicity, an early step in the process leading to cancer. White tea also contained certain polyphenols in levels higher than in green tea brewed under the same conditions.

5. Matcha Tea

Matcha is a high-quality green tea in which the leaves are ground into a powder. The tea particles are therefore added right to the water, rather than being steeped and strained like typical teas, resulting in a strong, somewhat bitter flavor. Matcha is the only type of tea in which the whole leaf is consumed, so very high-quality leaves are used. It is said to be one of the healthiest green teas out there, known for helping to prevent cancer and heart disease and slow the aging process.

6. Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea is processed, fermented, formed into bricks or "cakes," and then aged (in fact, it's the only type of tea that is aged). Named for the town in Southwestern China where it is grown, pu-erh tea has been enjoyed by the Chinese for decades and is said to lower cholesterol, aid digestion and cure hangovers. This tea is known for its strong, earthy taste, and can be quite expensive the older it gets.

7. Red Tea

Red tea, also known as rooibos, is an herbal tisane grown only in South Africa. Like green tea, rooibos is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids that may help to boost your immune system and protect you from free radical damage. This naturally caffeine-free infusion is also rich in healthy minerals such as iron, potassium and copper.

Recommended Reading

Why Green Tea Would be Healthy EXCEPT for This One Dangerous Issue

Kvass: What is This Popular Russian Drink, Is It Good for You & Why is Coca-Cola Getting In the Act?


Tea Association of the USA

BBC News January 9, 2007

Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This