In the Spotlight: Blueberry Teas
Posted by Ann Wildes at
Tea is one of those delicious beverages enjoyed worldwide, from afternoon tea and crumpets in Britain to freshly brewed tea in China to a glass of sweet tea with lemon in the South.
And for all of us, tea is something that we drink no matter the season. A steaming cup in the wintertime or a tall glass filled with ice, it doesn’t much matter.
The Blueberry Barn sells not only blueberry black tea, but green and white as well. And what’s better than just plain tea? Blueberry tea! Double the health benefits and double the flavor!
But have you ever paused to think about all these wonderful benefits of the simple leaves that make up one of the most popular beverages? Between green tea, black tea, and the less common white tea, so many nutrients and antioxidants can be found inside this plant.
Why is Tea Good for You?
Tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, a small evergreen shrub. The leaves and buds of the plant are what is used to make tea. All teas are harvested from this tree and other varieties of it; the processing is what makes black tea, white tea, green tea, and many other kinds so different.
White tea is made from the young leaves and bud and new growth of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are covered in little white hairs that give white tea its name. The leaves are either steamed or fried, which inactivates oxidation, then dried. Consequently, white tea contains the high concentrations of catechins and antioxidants which are present in fresh tea leaves. Because of this, white tea has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, fight against skin aging, and help with weight loss, among other things.
The aforementioned antioxidants and catechins are molecules found in plants that prevent damage caused by compounds referred to as free radicals. Free radicals wreak havoc inside your body, causing you to age. The damage wrought by free radicals also includes chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system, and an array of harmful diseases.
Fortuitously, white tea is one of the best types of tea for working against free radicals and oxidation. In fact, white tea has many similar health benefits that green tea is known for.
Many test tubes studies have be performed, proving many interesting things about white tea extract and powder. White tea extract protects animal nerve cells against damage caused by hydrogen peroxide, while white tea powder reduces inflammation in human skin cells. These studies are indeed promising, but more research is needed to fully discover the amazing powers of white tea.
Heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the United States, can be prevented by the polyphenols found in white tea and many other plants, fruits, and vegetables. Several studies show that polyphenols may help relax blood vessels and boost your immunity. Other studies have found that polyphenols can prevent LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, another risk factor for heart disease. After five studies were analyzed, scientists discovered that people who drank three or more cups of tea a day had lowered their risk of heart disease by 21%.
Coupled with the antioxidant superpowers of blueberries, our blueberry white tea has some amazing benefits!
Green tea is often the first tea that comes to mind for weight loss. But did you know that white tea may be just as effective? Because white tea is not quite popular, no research has been done on the effects of white tea and long-term weight loss, but both teas have similar levels of caffeine and catechins, which has led many to believe that white tea may possibly burn just as much fat as green tea does.
A test-tube study was performed, though, and the results showed that white tea extract has the ability to stimulate fat breakdown and prevent new fat cells from being formed. Most of this was due to EGCG, epigallocatechin gallate.
A review of studies suggests that white tea can help boost your metabolism by an extra 4-5%, which is roughly equal to burning 70-100 calories a day.
White tea has also been shown to protect teeth from bacteria. Containing a combination fluoride, catechins, and another type of polyphenol called tannins, the growth of plaque bacteria in your mouth can be inhibited by white tea.
Cancer. The disease that has brought many people to the grave. But is it possible to fight this life-threatening disease with white tea? Test-tube studies have shown that it is possible, and other research hopes to prove it. In one test-tube study, white tea extract triggered a cell death in multiple kinds of lung cancer. Two other studies covered the effects of white tea on colon cancer cells. The studies found that white tea extract suppressed the growth of colon cancer cells and stopped them from spreading. The antioxidants in white tea also protected normal cells from the damage caused by harmful molecules. Unfortunately, more research needs to be done before we can totally say that white tea can prevent, or even kill, cancer. But the more research that is done, the more we find that diet changes and good foods like blueberries can reverse cancer.
White tea may also lower the risk of insulin resistance, fight the aging of skin, prevent Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson’s disease, and protect against osteoporosis.
Sadly, white tea is not as popular as other teas, like green and black, so not much is known about its health benefits. But what we do know is that with a subtle yet refreshing taste, white tea is absolutely delicious!
As for black tea, the leaves are withered, rolled and heated, then fermented before the final heating process, which gives it a stronger taste. Black tea also has some great health benefits…
Like polyphenols that restrict bacteria growth and reduces plaque formation. And the ability to reduce the risk of stroke by 21%. As well as antioxidants that block DNA damage from tobacco and other toxic chemicals.
Research also shows that black tea may prevent cancer. It’s been suggested that women who regularly drink black tea have a lower chance of ovarian cancer than those who do not.
It has also been suggested that regular tea drinkers have stronger bones and a lower risk of devoloping arthritis, due to the phytochemicals that are found in black tea.
Based on a study done with elderly people living in the Mediterranean, it was discovered that people who had been drinking black tea on a long-term basis had a 70% lower chance of having type 2 diabetes.
Black tea also reduces stress. Studies show that the amino acid L-theanine in black tea can help you relax and concentrate better. It has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well. When consumed in moderate amounts on a regular basis, of course.
Black tea contains alkylamine antigens that boost our immune response, as well tannins that are able to fight viruses and thus keep us protected from multiple varieties of the flu and other common viruses.
In addition to improving your immune system, tannins have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses and help lessen digestive activity as well.
Unlike other drinks that have a much higher caffeine content, the low amounts in tea enhance blood flow to the brain without over-stimulating the heart, though tea does affect the heart, kidneys, and metabolism and respiratory system.
Green tea, on the other hand, is made by pan firing or steaming the leaves before drying. This prevents too much oxidation from occurring, which would turn the leaves brown and alter their fresh-picked taste.
Green tea has most of the same benefits that black and white tea does, but more research has been done that reveals many other things about green tea!
For instance, certain compounds in green tea can make you smarter. Though green tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee does, it’s still there. And it’s working just as hard as ever! What caffeine does in your brain is block an inhibitory neurotransmitter referred to as Adenosine. This way, it increases the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine and the firing of neurons.
Caffeine has been studied quite intensively before and consistently leads to improvement in multiple aspects of brain function, which includes improved mood, attentiveness, reaction time, and memory.
Yet, green tea has more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-theanine increases the activeness of GABA, a neurotrans-mitter that has anti-anxiety effects. It increases the production of alpha waves in the brain and dopamine as well.
Research shows that caffeine and L-theanine have synergistic effects. The two of them combined are rather good at improving brain function. Because of the smaller dose of caffeine and the L-theanine, green tea can give you a different kind of "buzz" than coffee, one much milder but still effective. A number of people report having more lasting energy and being a lot productive when they drink green tea rather than coffee.
Green tea is known for burning fat, but research has been done in hopes of proving that green tea can also burn cancer cells. Green tea can also protect your brain from again, your teeth from bacteria, and lower your risk of infection.
So, have I given you enough reason to come by The Blueberry Barn and purchase some of our black, green, or white blueberry tea? I sure hope so!
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- Tags: antioxidants, blueberries, Georgia blueberries, Health, nutrition, tea