As we discovered at our last stop in this beverage journey, coffee has its origin in Africa and began with the "curiosity" of some goats and an Ethiopian goat herder. Tea's origin: China, over 5,000 years ago, with the emperor, Shen Nung. According to legend, Shen Nung had required that "all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution." Then one summer day while visiting a distant region of his realm, he and the court stopped to rest and the servants began to boil water for the court to drink. Apparently, dried leaves from a nearby bush fell into the boiling water, and a brown liquid was infused into the water. The Emperor drank the new liquid and found it refreshing.
After water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, offering many health benefits, medicinal purposes as well as aiding in weight loss. For the most part, tea can be placed into ten types; White, Green, Oolong, Black, Herbal Teas, Rooibos Tea, Mate Tea, Blooming Teas, and Tea Blends. They each offer their own characteristics including a different taste, differing health benefits, and varying levels of caffeine. Most tea –– Black, Green, White or Oolong –– comes from a plant called Camellia sinensis, while herbal teas are not really teas, but herbal infusions, also known as tisane, which are made with herbs consisting of dried leaves, flowers, bark, fruit, roots and/or seeds.
Green tea seems to be the craze lately, with claims that it is a "miracle" weight-loss ingredient. According to an array of experts and studies, as noted by Web MD, "green tea and its extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol." Due to epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) –– a type of catechin (a powerful, water-soluble polyphenol and antioxidant that is easily oxidized) –– that is abundant in green tea; green tea has been found to "stimulate the metabolism and accelerate weight loss." However, studies are limited and there are other variables to consider. Keep in mind; there is no "quick fix" –– potion, pill, or tea –– to permanent weight loss (more importantly, fat loss); it is the totality of your diet coupled with exercise that matters most!
Six Tea Tips:
- Do drink a tea daily –– it will help boost your water intake and it offers countless health and wellness benefits. And for those interesting in losing weight, certain teas will assist you in that effort.
- Tea is a great beverage replacement for those of you who tend to consume a lot of soda and other sugary-type drinks.
- Don't drink grocery store bottled teas that aren't 100% tea. These teas usually contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other sugar derivatives, all of which add empty calories to your diet that can lead to weight gain.
- Some coffee bistros offer a variety of tea choices –– just make sure they are plain teas –– no sugar, cream, artificial sweeteners, etc.
- If you need to add "sweet" to your tea, try honey or agave nectar.
- If you need to add "creamy" to you tea, you're better off with low-fat dairy milk or soymilk.
As we continue to navigate through this "beverage expedition" –– designed to shed light on the fact that your liquid choices can dramatically impact your weight, health, wellness, energy, mood, and more –– I will persist to ensure that you get off the "fat and unhealthy" trail and onto the "fit path."
Our next stop will be a trip to the dairy farms, visiting one of my favorite animals –– cows, and uncovering details –– pros and cons –– surrounding milk.