Afternoon Tea Week falls on every second full week in August, which is 8 to 14 August this year. There are many kinds of tea that go well with a variety of food — biscuits, cookies, finger foods, sandwiches, scones, etc. — to satiate a midday hunger. But do you know the health benefits associated with each type of tea?
1. Black tea
Black tea is made with leaves that are fully oxidised, giving it the highest caffeine content among the types of tea. It is characterised by a darker colour and richer flavour. Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Masala Chai are some variants of black tea.
Black tea contains flavonoids that combat inflammation and support your immune function. The steamed and cooled leaves can also be applied to wounds to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and ease inflammation. Black tea may also support heart health, reduce stroke risk and protect the body against oxidative stress.
2. Green tea
Green tea is made from the same leaves as black tea, except they don’t undergo the oxidation process. This gives it a light and fresh flavour profile that may differ in taste depending on where the tea is grown and how it’s processed. Some examples include Genmaicha, Longjing, and Matcha.
Green tea, which contains caffeine as well, may support mental alertness. It may also boost heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure, and reducing blood clotting. It may help burn fat, prevent cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, reduce cancer risk, and protect the body against oxidative stress.
3. Oolong tea
Oolong tea is made from the same leaves as black tea and green tea. But it is produced as a whole-leaf tea and partially oxidised, making it halfway between black tea and green tea. The more oxidised it is, the darker the colour and the more intense the flavour, and vice versa. Da Hong Pao and Tie Guan Yin are some examples of oolong tea.
As it contains the amino acid L-theanine, oolong tea may reduce anxiety and increase alertness. In addition to antioxidant properties, it may also support heart health, prevent cognitive diseases and cancers, reduce inflammation, and decrease diabetes risk.
4. White tea
Created from new buds and young leaves that don’t undergo the oxidation process, white tea has the least amount of caffeine and the most delicate flavour profile. It is the least processed tea variety that is usually made in China or India. Some types of white tea include Baihao Yinzhen (Silver Needle), Bai Mudan (White Peony), and Darjeeling White Tea.
Similar to the others, white tea also has antioxidant properties to protect the body against oxidative stress. It may reduce inflammation and support brain health. It may also boost dental health as it contains fluoride, catechins, and tannins, aiding teeth strength and plaque management.
5. Herbal tea
Although herbal teas aren’t technically “true” tea types, they are brewed and consumed the same way. Using a blend of herbs, spices, fruits or other plants, they don’t contain caffeine. Their calming properties have led to an increase in their popularity in recent years.
Some examples are Chamomile Tea, which improves sleep and relaxation; Rooibos Tea, which improves blood pressure and circulation; Peppermint Tea, which soothes an upset stomach; Ginger Tea, which relieves nausea and motion sickness; and Hibiscus Tea, which is refreshing and improves liver health.