More often than not when we think of tea, we think of a nice hot cup of tea complete with a serving of milk and sugar. Another common reference to tea is iced tea, which is a cold option of a hot cup of tea added with ice. But this time around the focus however is the variety of teas we might not be aware of, in particular black tea, green tea and purple tea. What do all these tea varieties have in common? They are healthy beverages packed with flavor, nutrients and health benefits that alleviate illnesses, aid your digestion and are a better healthier alternative compared to our traditional everyday beverages that we have become accustomed too. So what are these teas and why do you need to add them to your diet and lifestyle?
The Benefits of Black Tea
You may be familiar with popular black teas such the English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Iced Tea and Sweet tea; but did you know that they are all components of black tea? Black tea is bold, strong and richer in flavor than most teas varieties simply because of the full oxidation process that allows the tea leaves to retain their flavor and nutrients far much longer than most tea blends. That oxidation process gives the tea that rich dark brown almost black color that gives off the malty, fruity and smoky notes that the beverage is famous for. With its rich offering, black tea is a great jumpstart for your morning as it contains just enough healthy caffeine to give you the much needed boost you need for your day. The caffeine in black tea is not your usual coffee caffeine, this is a tea caffeine that has healthy components to rejuvenate your body. Black tea has a variety of health benefits due to its antioxidants and compounds that help to reduce inflammation in the body. Noticeable benefits of black tea is that;
- They aid in disease prevention – black tea is high in catechins and flavonoids. Catechins are a powerful antioxidant that may help in preventing heart disease and cancer. Complex flavonoids are polyphenols which aid in disease prevention. The recommended is 600 milligrams of flavonoids per day for a range of health benefits, and a single cup of black tea offers 200 milligrams.
- They treat gastrointestinal disorders – black tea has more tannin than any other tea blend which means it is great for good digestive health.
- They may lower blood sugar levels – next time you want to quickly grab your favourite sweetened beverage, instead swap your beverage for a cup of black tea. Why you may ask? Simply because black tea may lower blood sugar levels that may be caused by consuming large amounts of sugar. Black tea has been found to help enhance the use of insulin within the body which is needed to break down sugar into energy for the body. Just as with anything, too much sugar is detrimental to your body leading to diabetes, obesity, depression. Black tea is a non-sweetened beverage that aids in reducing blood sugar levels.
- They may help reduce the risk of cancer – the polyphenols found in black tea may help prevent cancer cell survival. Black tea may play a role in regulating cancer cell growth and reducing new cell development.
The Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is the most popular and most widely consumed health tea amongst tea lovers and health enthusiasts. As it comes from the same family tree of camellia sinensis, which is the same plant that black tea and oolong tea derive from; green tea is a much lighter and airy beverage that has a much less simpler oxidation process as green tea is instead prepared by heating and steaming as opposed to the full oxidation process for black tea. Green tea has much more of an ample amount of health benefits that make it the immediate and preferred beverage of choice when it comes to implementing a healthy lifestyle and diet. It is packed with much more antioxidants due to its nature of unfermented and unprocessed leaves making it a greater anti-inflammatory and antioxidant as compared to black tea. It is also a natural energy booster with less tea caffeine as compared to black tea. The health benefits of green tea include improved brain function, high in antioxidant polyphenols that reduce and protect against cancer, fat loss or fat burning which can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and lowering the risk in heart disease. Green tea is almost highly preferred and a first choice for many due to its higher content of antioxidants, its smooth and sweet flavor, and a super hydrating beverage. But one of the main reasons for the popularity of green tea is that it has been used for many years for medicinal properties and health benefits in the East, and is a highly preferred choice of a cup of tea in the Eastern culture where it has been consumed for its health benefits for centuries.
The Benefits of Purple Tea
Purple tea, in particular, Kenyan purple tea is fairly new to the market; having had success in little over a decade as compared to centuries of black tea and green that are renowned the world over. Purple tea is derived from the same camellia sinensis plant that black tea and green tea come from, the difference once again with purple tea as with the former is the production process – their specific varietal, when and where they are harvested, and how they are processed. Purple tea is the result of a unique genetic mutation in the tea plant which stimulates the production of anthocyanins resulting in purple colored leaves. The camellia sinensis variant plant of the purple tea leaf is a wild plant that was originally found in India and later moved to Kenya to find suitable and favorable growing conditions. After much research and experimentation by the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya, they managed to create a cultivar of the purple leaf – a special type of the tea that gives off the same purple rich color but making it suitable to grow commercially in Kenya. With this variant, Kenya now leads as the largest producer of purple tea simply because of the suitable weather conditions to grow this plant located in the Nandi Hills which is right under the equator, making Kenya the third largest producer of tea after China and India.
Kenyan purple tea variant has two great factors that set it apart from black tea and green tea – Kenyan purple tea has a less caffeine content, much significantly less than green tea but higher than white tea and the second factor is that Kenyan purple tea has a significantly much higher content of antioxidants which are anthocyanins that greatly help to fight free radicals within the human body. The antioxidant Anthocyanin, gives certain fruits and vegetables their rich purple, blue and dark red colour such as blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes and eggplants. That purple antioxidant has been known to have great health benefits that support cardiovascular health, fight inflammation and free radicals within the body, improve brain function and eyesight, helps with weight loss, prevents diabetes, helps to prevent hair loss, improve scalp health and has anti-ageing properties that are great for your skin (be sure to check skincare products that have purple tea leaves as an ingredient component in them). For those who want a healthy boost of energy fresh in the morning, purple tea is great because of the lower caffeine content that can be a favourite for individuals who want to limit their caffeine intake but improve their daily health routines. The lower caffeine content of purple tea helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Making purple tea is a little bit different as compared to black tea and green tea; purple tea is steamed and not boiled for maximum effect of flavour and health benefits.
The concluding factor for black tea, green tea and purple tea is the multitude of health benefits that are great for someone who wants to or is in the process of applying daily healthy routines to their diet and lifestyle. All three tea variants have great benefits of antioxidants that help your body function better, heal better and for you to feel better on the overall. You can incorporate all three tea variants into your lifestyle or you can choose a tea variant that speaks to your lifestyle and will fit in well with your daily routine.