Green, black, white or oolong tea. How do they differ? What are the benefits of each one?
All type of teas come from oxidation of the Camellia Sinesis. Oxidation basically means damaging the cells inside the tea leaves so that the components inside are exposed to oxygen and start a chemical reaction. Lipids, amino acids, and carotenoids break down into flavor and aroma compounds, that will be released into the hot water when immersed. By varying the damaging process (maceration, roll, tumble), its length and the “fix” process (stopping the oxidation by raising the temperature, by sun exposure, oven or firing pan), different types of teas are created:
- White tea: very little oxidation (almost fresh leaves). Seems to help the brain to concentrate, and also have positive effects on acne and being used in cosmetic products;
- Green tea: prevent flu (thanks to Catechins), and (apparently) reduce the risk of cancer and tumors. Historically famous for being used since thousands of years ago in China, and seemed to have helped to prevent scurvy (disease due to lack of vitamin C);
- Black tea: The most oxidized, therefore stronger in flavour, and also containing lots of vitamins and antioxidant. Antiviral and antibacterial properties, and also applied to cut and bruises;
- OOlong tea: with an oxidation level between green and black tea, and a balanced effect of the two;
- Puerh tea: fermented after being oxidized. Help the body to detox, helps digestion, lowers bad cholesterol and lowers the alcohol level in the bloodstream (hangover cure basically).
Other types of teas:
- Yerba mate: coming from a different plant, and seem to have lots of positive effects, from breaking down fats to give more energy and endurance. Contains mateine, a stimulant similar to caffeine;
- Rooibos: from South African plants. Vitamin C, antioxidant, help digestion, reduce risk of skin cancer.