When someone mentions tea, they normally are talking about the leaves from the camellia sinensis plant, which are often considered true teas. You see them in every grocery store under the names of Tetley, Bigalow, Lipton and more. There are other types of tea, since the definition of tea also includes, “Any of various beverages made by steeping the leaves, flowers, fruits, or other parts of certain plants.” While there are all types of tea that help with inflammation, let’s focus on the true teas.
Even with true teas, there are many varieties.
True teas come in a wide variety based on both the growing and processing techniques. There are black teas, red teas, white teas, oolong teas, Pu-erh teas and yellow teas. The difference in harvesting time, processing time and how the tea is processed, not only makes a difference in its color and flavor, it makes a difference in its health benefits, too.
All types of true tea have some health benefits in common.
No matter what the color of tea, where it was harvested or how it was processed, all true teas have some similar health benefits. All contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which include ECGC that help reduce free radicals that can lead to cellular damage, causing heart disease, clogged arteries and even cancer. They all contain both theanine and caffeine to boost brain and mental activity. They all contain polyphenols, but the amount varies by the processing. The polyphenols give tea its anti-inflammatory properties. The more processed tea is, mostly from oxidation and fermenting, the less powerful the antioxidants.
Oolong, green and white tea are the least processed.
These three teas have the highest amount of antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as bladder, breast, lung, stomach, colorectal and pancreatic. Green tea and white tea have the highest amount, with green tea proven to help prevent arterial plaque, burn fat, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and reduce the risk of stroke. One study found that black tea can even help prevent lung damage caused by cigarette smoke and reduce the risk of stroke.
- There are various studies that show tea can help you lose weight. Oolong tea is known to have that property, so is pu-erh tea, rooibos (red) tea, green tea and white tea. Weight loss can help reduce inflammation.
- Red tea has a number of benefits, which include helping aches and pains, headaches and high blood pressure. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can bring relief from asthma and allergies.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of green tea can help reduce the chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Just like any food or drink, you can get too much of a good thing. Excessive consumption of green tea may cause stomach cramps and kidney stones, but it takes quite a lot. It’s far more dangerous to use the extracts, like green tea extract, which may cause liver damage or interact with medications.
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