Sunday, January 18, 2015

Less Processed Green Tea may be the healthiest tea of all!

Being less processed, green teas have been found to have higher levels of the disease-fighting phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables than other forms of tea, making it the subject of much research and debate in recent years.

With antioxidant properties, phytochemicals such as those in tea (flavonoids and polyphenols) are substances widely believed to protect against cancer and heart disease. Green tea also contains the highest amount of epigallocatechin gallate, a powerful antioxidant thought to reduce psoriasis, colon tumors and prostate cancer. For its potential cancer-fighting abilities, some researchers believe green tea should carry a label acknowledging this property. The FDA, however, has found no credible evidence supporting the claim.

Although the health studies remain inconclusive, the popularity of tea and green tea in particular, however, continues to rise among consumers. In the past four years alone, analysts estimate the tea industry has seen "a tenfold growth."

Three main types of tea are produced from the Camellia sinensis plant: black, oolong and green. Once picked, leaves quickly wilt and wither, a process known as oxidization or fermentation (though no yeasts or bacteria are used). Then, at a predetermined stage, tea growers stop oxidation by heating the leaves. For black teas, the most processed variety, the leaves have been completely oxidized; oolong teas are only partially oxidized; green teas are not at all oxidized. Instead, growers steam the freshly picked leaves, which stops oxidization immediately.

For over 4,000 years, tea has been enjoyed for its flavor and prized for its medicinal properties. It is used to treat depression and headaches and is believed to prolong life.


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