If you follow me on Instagram you would know that I gave up coffee about 10 months ago for my skin. I have always drunk water and green tea - I just loved my coffee as well. I have given it up before but then I would have one cup and was hooked again. This time I want to stick with it. I now drink lots of varieties of tea when I go out instead. I have always known green tea was good for me. In fact, I used it to help cure my acne; but what about the health benefits of all the other varieties?
I was really excited about going to the Sydney Tea Festival at Carriageworks, Redfern. So much so that I decided to do a little bit of research before I went. I have quite a few friends who are closely linked to the Sydney tea community, and I also have numerous friends who love tea. They drink lots of it and cook with it too.
How Do They Make Different Types of Tea
What makes tea green or black? All the different types of tea (white tea, green tea, yellow tea, black tea, oolong tea and pu-erh tea actually come from the same plant Camellia sinensis! When I read this I was totally astounded. So how do they make all the different types?! The way the leaves are processed after harvesting gives each tea its distinct colour and flavour.
Black tea is made from withered and rolled leaves that are then heated. While green tea green tea is made by plucking the leaves when they partially withered and heating them almost immediately to about 200 degrees Celsius. The leaves are then rolled and shaped before being reheated.
You can drink hot tea in winter or cold tea for summer and there are lots of studies demonstrating the health benefits of drinking tea. People have been brewing tea for centuries to help with all sort of ailments. I have come to think of my daily cups of tea as little miracles. Tea contains antioxidants, has less caffeine than coffee, may reduce your risk of heart attack & stroke, may help with weight loss, is said to protect your bones and tea may aid in keeping your smile bright. It is thought that tea helps to boost the immune system and could even help battle cancer. So, which types of tea are good for what ailments?
The Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients (polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins) that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits. One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties. The 10 health benefits of green tea have been confirmed in human research studies.
Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride.
The Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea originated in China in the Wuyi Mountains region. It combines the qualities of dark and green teas, giving it several interesting health benefits. The main antioxidants in oolong tea are theaflavins, thearubigins and EGCG. Oolong tea also contains theanine, an amino acid responsible for the tea's relaxing effect. The polyphenol antioxidants found in tea are thought to help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. It is said that regular tea consumption, improved blood sugar control and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Another great benefit of tea drinking is that regular tea drinkers report reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of heart disease. Other benefit of Oolong tea is that scientists believe some of its polyphenols may boost metabolism and decrease the amount of fat absorbed from your diet. These polyphenol antioxidants are also thought to activate enzymes that help you use stored fat for energy.
One study showed that people who drank black, green or oolong tea daily over a 10-year period had 2% higher overall bone mineral density. Research also links tea consumption to reduced dental plaque. Oolong tea is also a rich source of fluoride, which could help strengthen tooth enamel!
Another special thing about Oolong is that it is said to help relieve eczema! During a study, 118 patients with severe cases of eczema were asked to drink 33 oz (1 litre) of oolong tea per day, in addition to maintaining their normal treatment. Eczema symptoms improved as early as 1–2 weeks into the study. After 1 month of the combined treatment, 63% of patients showed improvement.
The Health Benefits of White Tea
Although I am not an avid drinker of white tea, is is said to be the ultimate multi-tasker of teas. Much like green tea, white tea contains catechins, which may help fight cancer and cardiovascular disease. Drinking white tea might also reduce the risk of cancer recurrence for breast cancer survivors.
The Health Benefits of Black Tea
Black tea has the highest concentration of caffeine in it of all the tea varieties. It contains about 40 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Black tea, contains the same flavonoids that are found in apples. Once black tea is processed, it contains less antioxidants than green tea. However, black tea not only helps to fight bacteria but also strengthens the immune system. Black tea helps moisturise the skin and helps to balance hormone levels, which fends off stress. Not only does black tea have anti-inflammatory qualities, it also keeps a check on the digestive tracts functioning. It can help reduce stroke risks as it balances the cholesterol level.
The Health Benefits of Lemon Ginger Tea
I didn't really know much about Lemon Ginger tea before I did some research. I don't really drink it myself, however I know a few people that love it. Lemon ginger tea is an effective weapon against bacterial infections. Ginger has an active ingredient called zingiber and lemon contains compounds pectin and limonene. It is also said to aid in digestion, soothes pain (from menstrual cramps and headaches for example) and helps with skin & hair health.
The Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea
The biggest benefit to drinking chamomile tea is that it is said to help fight anxiety and depression. There are many other benefits; it helps soothe a upset stomach, it is a natural allergy fighter, it has anti-inflammatory properties, it helps treat muscle spasms and helps to cure insomnia. Chamomile can help with poor digestion and even those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The Health Benefits of Echinacea Tea
Echinacea purpurea is a commonly used natural compound that fights illnesses such as the common cold and other respiratory infections. Echinacea helps to promote sleep and can even help with urinary tract infections and yeast infections.
Visiting the Sydney Tea Festival
Armed with all this knowledge made the Sydney Tea Festival a lot more fun! The Sydney Tea Festival was held on the 20th August, 2017 at Carriageworks and my, was it busy!! The Festival is an interactive experience designed to help people discover and experience specialty tea; encourage and grow passion for tea through education; and showcase quality specialty tea providers. I believe this year was the first year that it was held.
When I arrived I got a cute little ceramic tasting cup and a floor plan - then I was away. There were lots of tea stalls there obviously; however there was also tea related food stalls (food with tea in it), stalls for food that you would see at high tea for example (macarons and sweets) and food and drink trucks because the crowd was super hungry!
I actually think I drank my own body weight in tea during the festival! I tried so many new brands and varieties, plus I also sampled old favourites from The Tea Centre and The Tea Nomad. I resisted the urge to eat sweets all day because I am watching my sugar intake in the lead up to London Fashion Week. Another thing I was nicely surprised with was the fact that even despite my research before I went to the festival; I still learnt a lot!
The first interesting thing I discovered was a traditional Chinese tea cake called Pu'er or Pu-erh. This tea cake contains fermented tea produced in Yunnan Province and you need a special tool to chip bits off to drink! The second really cool thing was a type of Indian Ayurvedic Medicine called Kasayam. Kasayam is home-brewed and used for ailments like indigestion, cough and the common cold. It was really spicy but had s pleasant aftertaste. Check out the photos below.