Fall for Teas!

YUM! 'Tis the season for tea! Fall is a great time to indulge in the differing teas there are available. Besides the main staples of teas you are familiar with that are available to you, such as black, green, white, oolong, herbal, mate and minty teas, there are also differing kinds of flavor blends such as berried/fruity, chai, desserty, jasmine, chamomile and citrus. Green tea has the most benefits.

Tea is great to consume to keep warm as the weather graduates over to cooler temperatures. If you prefer to drink your tea cold in the cooler season, there is no reason you can't indulge in these same flavors. You will just need to cool down your tea by putting it into an airtight container and storing it in the fridge for several hours. There are also other great reasons to drink tea, particularly the health benefits. I have yet to find a downside to drinking tea, here are just some of the ingredients that make teas beneficial:

  • Polyphenols: converted from theanine; considered an antioxidant; prevents cardiovascular diseases and cancers-cancer prevention is most associated with the green teas, flavonoid(more info follows) is considered a polyphenol;
  • ECGC: mostly associated with green tea; beneficial to the heart, circulatory health, anti-inflammatory characteristics for the bowel and stomach
  • Theanine: is an amino acid found in green teas, theanine is known for reducing anxiety and for it's relaxing therapeutic effect by increasing the alpha brain wave activity; it's helpful with Alzheimer's prevention, high blood pressure and increasing the effectiveness of cancer drugs
  • Caffeine: if you are trying to decrease your consumption of coffee, there are black teas that you can drink in order to still get the caffeine effect you are used to without the withdrawal effects (albeit a little less of it) with the added health benefits
  • Flavonoids: mostly found in colorful fruits and vegetables; prevents cell damage and helps protect your blood vessels from rupturing, inflammation protection, works in the body as antioxidants, a few signs that you are not getting enough flavonoids: bruise easily, easy nosebleeds, frequent colds or infections, hemorrhoids
  • Antioxidants: protects against free radicals which may lead to cancer, may slow or prevent the development of cancer

There are many teas to choose from, see below just a few from the shelf of Trader Joe's. If you shop at a regular grocery store, you will find many, many more choices. It can get overwhelming. If you stick to the most natural ones, that will eliminate quite a few, so be sure to read the labels!

Choosing a tea with the least processed leaves is a genuine place to start, the jury is still out on how long to steep the tea. For now you should just steep the tea to accommodate your own taste. When you steep tea for long periods of time you produce a stronger flavor, less and you will get less flavor. Stay away from bottled teas as they are prone to more processing and artificial sugars and other ingredients. Stay away from instant teas as they contain virtually little to no tea and are full of artificial, and unnatural ingredients. If you prefer your teas to be sweetened, then you can just add a little stevia to it.

As an aside: Be aware that many tea makers will claim that tea increases your metabolic rate. This is a false claim. As far as I know your metabolism is always closely associated with your muscle. Unless the tea can help you build muscle (which hopefully you know by now can only be done by what you eat and weight bearing exercises), then speeding up the metabolism is an impossibility. So ignore that false claim and enjoy all the other benefits.

Hopefully, you've been inspired to treat yourself to some of the new teas you may have been seeing around, or stop by a store that specializes in brewing you an incredible cup of tea such as Teavana.

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