Properly Storing Loose Leaf Teas

by Elena Popec 22. July 2010 12:06

Loose leaf tea is a delightful, delectable tea that is packed with health benefits for you. But protecting this tea, and keeping it fresh and delicious, involves storing it in a proper container. Heat, air, light, and moisture, are some elements that could potentially damage the tea or drain it of nutrients, so it’s important to keep the tea protected from these elements.

Loose leaf vs. tea bags
   
Sure, tea bags may seem to be convenient. But in the long run, they can be harmful to you. Tea bags are almost unrecognizable as tea anymore. The nutrients and antioxidants have been beaten out of it, resulting in little more than “tea dust.” The processing of these teas may also have left traces of harmful chemicals that will bring on inimical side effects. Loose leaf tea on the other hand is intact, with more antioxidants and nutrients, and more flavor. It is processed through simpler methods and allowed to retain its sweet, rich aromas and the taste is far superior to tea bags. When you brew loose leaf tea, the water has room to move around the leaves, which brings out the flavor.

Health benefits of loose leaf tea

   
Drinking tea every day yields many results that are beneficial to your health. It can help you to lose weight, help lower your cholesterol, prevent you from developing high blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, and improve your dental health. Regular tea drinking may prevent you from developing cancer. It may also help improve your sleep, ward off headaches, improve your memory, improve cognitive functions such as learning, and help to prevent you from developing arthritis and types of dementia. Tea is just packed with an almost countless number of health benefits. Green tea has even been shown to lead to a longer life-span.

How to store tea
   
Tea of course should be stored at room temperature, and the best way to protect it from heat, moisture, and other elements is by keeping it in an airtight container. Tea can’t be sealed and put in a freezer, as this will damage it. Likewise it cannot be kept near a toaster, stove, or microwave or any other type of heat, as this will also damage the tea. If kept in a pretty, but not airtight container, the tea will lose its flavor fairly quickly.
   
Try not to use containers that are clear plastic or clear glass. This leaves the tea accessible to light which can damage it. Try to store tea away from any foods or spices that are strongly scented or flavored, as teas can easily absorb the flavor and aroma of the food around them.

Drink up
   
Don’t keep tea for too long, as over time, even in the best of storage containers, tea will lose its flavor and nutrients. Tea is meant to be consumed. And drinking a few cups of tea every day will help improve your health and has even been shown to lengthen your life. So brew some tea. You can even brew tea and refrigerate it to enjoy refreshing iced tea all week.

The Green Tea Diet

by Elena Popec 15. July 2010 07:54

In this age of fad and crash diets, it can be difficult to find a way to lose weight that is effective and healthy. Adding green tea to your diet can be a healthy -and safe- way to make a beneficial lifestyle change and to help you in your weight loss adventures. Studies show that green tea can be an effective weight loss aid, and this type of tea has become more popular in recent times due to its tastiness and health benefits.

The nutrition of green tea
   
Green tea is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, and polyphenols, and has been consumed for centuries in many countries. It has a plethora of health benefits. It has compounds that may fight cancer and heart disease, and it may even improve your metabolism. Improving your metabolism means that you will burn off the food that you consume, which will help you in your quest for a slimmer waistline.

Weight loss
   
Loose leaf green tea also helps to lower high cholesterol, and may even prevent  your cholesterol from ever getting too high. This is a wonderful benefit, especially for those who are trying to lose weight. Even by helping you to lose weight, this may help to get your cholesterol back down to a healthful level. A high cholesterol can lead to other health risks, including a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. There’s no need for diet pills and crash diets. Drinking loose leaf green tea every day can help you to lose weight and improve your overall health.

EGCG
   
Loose leaf green tea also contains a  certain type of polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate, which is also referred to commonly as EGCG, and studies show that this compound may help to lessen the appetite and may also help to burn off fat. This is a far healthier way of suppressing the appetite. Diet pills may make the same types of claims of suppressing the appetite, but they can actually cause more damage than improvement. Actually, there are some “green tea diet pills” that now exist, as this drink truly does produce significant results.
   
Another reasons that loose leaf green tea work include, surprisingly, the caffeine content. Caffeine is known to have a small effect on suppressing the appetite, but research also supports that caffeine can help burn off fat. Caffeine may speed up thermogenesis, which is the process in the body that leads to burning off fat cells.
   
Drinking a few cups of loose leaf green tea may help you to see marked improvement in your weight loss journey.
   
Loose leaf green tea is said to be able to lower LDL cholesterol, the bad type of cholesterol. Some research also supports the idea that the EGCG in loose leaf green tea may help to regulate blood sugar levels, which would inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates.
   
It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on any type of diet. Drink lots of water and get lots of exercise. And while drinking green tea is beneficial to your health, it isn’t a cure all for everything.

Loose Leaf Teas and the Male Diet

by Steven Popec 12. July 2010 10:25

Trying to lose weight? Add a few cups of tea to your day, and it may help. Loose leaf tea has many health benefits, it is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. There are four different types, which consist of green, white, black, and oolong teas. They are each unique and contain their own creative flavors and aromas.

Only men?
   
And now, new studies show that drinking two cups of tea may help men to lose weight in their waistline. The study did not yield the same results in women. Weight loss in the abdominal area is important, as it reduces other health risks such as diabetes and heart disease. But the weight loss associated with tea can also help women, though not specifically in their waistlines.

Weight loss improves your overall health
   
Weight loss in general produces many health benefits. Getting down to a healthy weight is one of the easiest ways to reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the bad type of cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy weight can help tremendously with a multitude of health problems. It can reduce many health risks by preventing them from forming.

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes
   
Being at a healthy weight can prevent you from developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and it can help prevent you from developing cardiovascular diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent heart attack and stroke. A healthy diet with daily amounts of exercise can truly be an answer to a number of health risks, and green tea can help.

Self-image and self-confidence
   
People who are overweight or obese may face other types of problems. This condition can interfere with their self-esteem and self-confidence. It may impact their lives to the point where it is difficult to feel that they are living life to the fullest. Weight loss is an important step in fulfilling life goals and may help to alleviate social anxiety, and stress about self-image.

Options other than tea
   
But with all the products being marketed these days, who knows what really works? The truth is, crash diets don’t work. They may help you lose a lot of weight very fast, but it’s weight that’s easy to, and usually will be, put back on. Diet pills have inimical side effects and harmful chemicals. Drinking tea is a healthier, natural way to improve your health and to get down to a healthy weight.

Improve your metabolism
   
Loose leaf green tea can help to improve your metabolism, which will in turn help you to increase the amounts of calories you will burn off. It also has the ability to help you burn fat at a quicker rate and prevent fat from staying in your body.

Add tea to a healthy lifestyle
   
There is no miraculous panacea that will answer all your weight loss woes. There’s no magical spell that can vanish away pounds. But loose leaf tea has been scientifically studied to have a positive impact on weight loss. Of course, having a well balanced and healthy diet and getting daily exercise are vital to living a full, healthy life. But adding tea to your day can help you on your way.

Chamomile Can Help With Sleep Disorders

by Elena Popec 30. June 2010 13:45

Chamomile is a delectable tea that can be used for help with many health problems, including sleep disorders. Chamomile actually comes from its own flower, not from the Camellia sinensis plant that most other teas come from.

Chamomile tea
   
Chamomile comes from two types of plants; the Matricaria retutica and the Chamaemelum nobile. The Matricaria retutica, otherwise known as German chamomile is used most commonly. It has been approved in some countries for use on skin for inflammation and to fight bacteria. It has also been approved in some countries as a dietary supplement. It has benefits such as alleviating anxiety, and possibly helping to prevent diabetes and to help ward off some of the health effects of that disorder.
   
Chamomile is known for its multitude of health benefits and has been used to treat wounds, eczema, chest colds, and many other purposes. Chamomile, though studies have been limited, has been used for sleeping problems as well.

The effects of sleep disorders
   
Sleep disorders can have a tremendously negative effect on a person’s overall health and quality of life. A good night’s sleep is necessary for restoring and refreshing the body. Insomnia, or a lack of sleep overall, can interfere with your life, your ability to function, and can put you at a higher risk for other conditions such as cardiovascular illness, depression, and high blood pressure.
   
Lack of sleep can lead to nausea, headaches, and irritability. It can impede your ability to enjoy recreational and leisure activities, interfering with your quality of life and the time you spend with friends and loved ones. It can also cause dizziness, and even memory loss and hallucinations. It can interfere with your cognitive functioning and impair other basic abilities. This can be dangerous, especially when absolute alertness is needed for your job or other tasks. It can be a great risk even to drive after not sleeping, because you may doze off on the road. Sleep disorders can have deadly consequences.
   
It can also put you at a higher risk for other disorders. It can harm your immune system and leave you more susceptible to other illnesses and diseases.

What about sleeping pills?
   
Sleeping pills may not work. These chemicals can cause much more harm than good. They can also be very addictive, causing you to consume more of them to produce the same result. These also may block the REM cycle which is important for good, healthy, restorative sleep. Without this, you may not be getting the rest that you need to counteract the effects that insomnia has given you.

Chamomile; a healthy alternative
   
Fortunately, drinking chamomile tea is a natural, healthy alternative. This tea works to help induce sleepiness after you’ve had a cup or two, which is great for people suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders. It has a relaxing, soothing effect and once you are asleep you will enjoy a healthful, natural sleep that will restore and refresh your body and leave you energized and ready for a new day.
   
Brew a cup of delectable chamomile tea before bedtime and snuggle up to enjoy a good, full night’s sleep.

Loose Leaf Tea May Help Diabetics

by Elena Popec 24. June 2010 16:41

Diabetes is a condition that affects the way the body processes glucose, a type of blood sugar. Studies show that drinking tea may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, though how and why this works is unknown and merits further research.
Type 2 diabetes
   
Type 2 diabetes is a type that can be developed, and research says that the rates of people with this type of diabetes will most likely increase. Type 2 diabetes already affects millions of people worldwide.
   
It even effects children, and those who are overweight are at a much higher risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, in addition to helping with some of the complications caused by diabetes, certain types of tea can help to promote weight loss. Loose leaf green tea is known to boost your metabolism, which helps with weight loss in general. Compounds in some teas can help burn off fat, and so green tea can help, over time, to promote weight loss.

How diabetes affects the body

   
Diabetes is a chronic condition and it affects the way the body uses glucose. Glucose a type of blood sugar, and is what the cells in our bodies use for energy. In a body not affected by diabetes, glucose in the blood will trigger the production of a hormone called insulin, which will be added into the bloodstream. Without insulin, the glucose in the blood doesn’t go to the places it needs to go. And in people with diabetes, the body doesn’t create insulin, or doesn’t use it properly. This leads to an increase in blood sugar levels, which can lea to many other health concerns and issues.
   
Diabetes can impede upon your life. When blood sugar levels drop this can lead to irritability and dizziness and even loss of consciousness. When blood sugar levels get too high this can lead to fatigue, weight loss, irritability, and sometimes changes in vision.

Tea and how it can help
   
Fortunately, regularly drinking tea lowers the risk of developing this type of diabetes. Loose leaf tea is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, and has many health benefits. Drinking more cups per day will lower the risk of diabetes even more. The tea may have a direct biological effect that lowers the risk of this type of diabetes, but further studies are needed to determine which compounds in the tea are causing this.

Other benefits of tea
   
Beyond that though, loose leaf tea can improve your health in a myriad of other ways. It can help you to lose weight, give you more energy, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory, prevent tooth decay, prevent kidney stones from forming, boost your metabolism, help with sleep disorders, alleviate allergies, along with many other health improvements. It’s an incredibly tasty way to enjoy improving your health. Add some cups of loose leaf tea to your day and enjoy the overwhelming plethora of benefits it will give to your life.
   
Of course, drinking tea is not a panacea. Adding a few cups of loose leaf tea to your day would be an addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

Green Tea & Kidney Stones

by Steven Popec 23. June 2010 14:37

Loose leaf green tea is truly marvelous. It will help purify your body, give you health benefits galore, and beyond all that, it’s an incredibly tasty beverage. In this world of processed, sugar and corn syrup packed products, it’s hard to find a sweet, delectable treat that is pure and natural. Compared with other drinks, green tea truly seems to be the closest thing to what would be the nectar of the gods. It’s wonderfully aromatic, and the delicious scent of this drink treat gives you a hint of what’s to come.

Health benefits
   
And now let’s move on and start talking about its countless health benefits. There are simply too many to discuss them all in depth. Loose leaf green tea can appear to some to be a miracle drink for your health.
   
This type of tea is packed full of nutrients and compounds that all promote tons of health benefits, and is almost like a miracle elixir. It can do all sorts of wonderful things for your health, including improving memory, improving the health of your teeth, fighting off cancer, boosting your metabolism, boosting your immune system, improve your heart health, help alleviate allergy symptoms, help regulate blood sugar, along with a multitude of other health benefits. It almost makes one wonder if there’s anything green tea can’t do for your health.

Preventing kidney stones
   
New studies now show that drinking loose leaf green tea on a regular basis may have even another healthful effect on your body; it may help to prevent kidney stones from forming. How does this work? Compounds in green tea may help to prevent this painful condition by making it more difficult for certain types of kidney stones to form. They may even prevent the compounds from forming before they form crystals.

What are kidney stones?
   
Kidney stones can cause pain in the abdomen, rib area, and it can be a drawn out painful experience. If you have ever suffered from kidney stones, then you now how excruciatingly painful they can be. This condition affects around five percent of the population, and is caused by a high concentration of minerals which cling together and form crystals that can cause a great deal of pain. The most common type of kidney stone is formed when a high concentration of calcium clumps together to form these crystals. This type of kidney stone is called calcium oxalate.

The research
   
Studies have shown that green tea compounds can combat these types of kidney stones from forming. The compounds from the green tea will bond to the crystal, making it lose its shape and become less likely to form a kidney stone.
   
Drinking green tea may help prevent this painful condition. When you regularly consume this tasty beverage, you’re doing your body a favor. By drinking just a few cups of green tea every day you can help to prevent kidney stones from forming and save yourself from being in a great deal of pain. In addition to that, regularly drinking tea on a daily basis, you will be improving your overall health on the long term.

Enjoy the Benefits of African Rooibos Tea

by Steven Popec 21. June 2010 07:19

What is Rooibos?

Rooibos tea, also known as Aspalathus linearis, is a common drink in South Africa and has been consumed there for years. It’s a unique type of tea, and isn’t quite as common just yet in the Western world. It is a mild flavored, fruity type of tea and is already growing in popularity with the rest of the world due not only to its delectable flavor but to its many health benefits. It is grown in the mountains of the Western Cape Province of South Africa and is sometimes called the African rooibos tea. It can be brewed and consumed hot, or made into a delicious iced tea. It has numerous health benefits and can truly add to a healthy lifestyle.

What does Rooibos Mean?

Rooibos means, “red bush.” It is an African word for the flowering shrub that grows in the Western Cape, north of Capetown, in the mountain region. It grows to five feet or so in height, with a red brown stem and needle like, vibrant green leaves. It is a legume shrub which has roots that are able to withstand the poor soils of the mountain region. Its roots can tolerate the acidic soils due to the abundance they have in nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Antioxidants and Nutrients

The tea that is produced from this plant is delicious and it also has been recently discovered to have high antioxidant contents, like many other teas. Its vitamins and nutrients have led to its increase in popularity in the Western world. It has many health benefits, as do other teas, and is deliciously fruity flavored. It is sometimes blended in with herbal teas that are available today.

The Health Benefits

This tea is sweet on its own. It doesn’t have all the artifice and preservatives and additives of other teas, which makes it a much healthier choice. This tea is incredibly healthy with many benefits.

Research shows that rooibos tea can help with health problems such as headaches and that it may help to lower blood pressure as well. It can even help to prevent anxiety attacks, and helps to alleviate insomnia, and irritability. The tea has already been being used in South Africa to treat asthma, eczema, and hay fever. It is, like most teas, almost like a magical panacea in some ways. It has many other benefits as well. Rooibos can also help maintain healthy teeth, act as an anti-inflammatory, and help to fight off viruses. It has been shown to help with alleviating abdominal pains as well. And it contains elements which are beneficial to healthy skin. This type of tea also contains properties which help maintain healthy circulation of the blood and also helps to fight aging. It of course helps the body’s immunes system as well, like other teas, with all of its antioxidants. Here’s another benefit: Rooibos is free of caffeine! In this way, it is effective at helping alleviate stress, insomnia, and tension and can help relax a person.

It’s fruity and delicious, and healthy too!

How to Find a Great Blend Tea

by Steven Popec 11. June 2010 07:34

The choices of flavors of teas can be overwhelming. There are literally thousands of different types and flavor pairings of teas. There are more types of teas in existence than a person could ever possibly try even in an entire lifetime. So, there are some things you should take into consideration when choosing a tea to taste.

The Basics
   
There are four main types of tea: black, oolong, white, and green. Among these there are many varied flavors, but most teas fall under one of these varieties. Another thing to consider is the quality of the tea. Tea that has been processed by hand has the best flavor, much better flavor than teas that have been processed by other means. The quality of the flavor is another thing to take into consideration. Natural flavorings are always the best choice.

Black Tea
   
Among the different types of teas, it’s important to know the main differences to begin trying out which ones you might like. Black tea is the most consumed worldwide but it has a strong flavor and the highest level of caffeine. It can handle strong flavors such as chocolate and strong fruits.

Green Tea
   
Green tea tastes sweet but has a very natural almost plant-like flavor. Most fruit flavors work well with green tea, as do herbs and spices. There are some flavors that could overpower the tea, however.

White Tea
   
White tea has a sweet flavor and aroma but its flavor can be overpowered by others very easily. Certain flower or fruit flavors do enhance the tea quite well. Melon and jasmine are examples which enhance the white tea flavor. Peaches, pears, and roses are also excellent to be paired with this type of tea.

Oolong Tea
   
Oolong tea has complex flavors, and it varies in flavor depending on how it is processed. It can range from being very similar to a black tea, to being very close to green tea. Peaches, apples, or oranges can be paired with this type of tea to enhance its flavor, but almonds or other types of nuts make good parings as well. Some spices and flowers can be paired with oolong tea as well.

The Health Benefits
   
There are many flavors of tea, but the health benefits of certain types of tea may alter your decision as well. Green tea and white tea have the most natural antioxidants of the other types of teas. When pairing these teas with healthy fruits full of antioxidants, you’ve brewed a drink exploding with health benefits. There are many fruits, spices, and nuts which have health benefits of their own that can be deliciously paired with white or green teas.

So How to Choose?
   
Learn what flavor teas you enjoy the most. Take some daring risks and try some flavor pairings you might not think would go well together. There are many different combinations of flavors of tea. Try out some different flavors and see which types of tea and which pairings you like the best. And by all means have some tea adventures and risk trying some bold new flavor pairings.

Four Main Varieties of Loose Tea

by Elena Popec 10. June 2010 10:11

There are thousands of varieties of tea throughout the world, and even among these the tea can be processed in a unique and different way. India’s Assam region harvests the most tea, and second in total world production is Sri Lanka. Among the varieties of tea are oolongs, assam, darjeeling, silver needle, wuyi, gyokuro, sencha, dragon well, white peony, and ceylon. There are thousands of types of teas, and the choices can be overwhelming. Most of these different types fall under four main types. These four main ones are ones which you are probably familiar with if you are a regular tea drinker: green, black, oolong, and white teas.

Do the Different Types of Teas Come from Different Plants?
   
There is only one type of plant that tea comes from, which may surprise someone who is new to the world of tea. All tea comes from the Camellia sinesis plant. There are some teas, called tisanes, which don’t come from Camellia sinesis. These include chamomile and herbal teas. But a newcomer might wonder how the single plant produces so many different types of teas.

If Teas All Come from the Same Plant, What Makes Them Different?
   
Anything can change the outcome of a tea. And there is a lot that affects the Camellia sinesis plant. Changes in the weather or different altitudes can impact how a tea turns out. Different parts of the world have different climates and different compounds of soil. These account for very varied types of teas that exist in the world today. A look at the four main types of tea:

Green Tea
   
Green tea is pretty well known these days and it offers many health benefits. It’s harvested in the spring, and after harvesting the oxidation process is stopped. Green tea is fermented a little longer. Some types are grown in the shade, and some are grown in sunshine. It’s a common variety of tea and can be found in most grocery stores, but there are certain types of this tea which are incredibly expensive. Some types of green tea can cost hundreds for a few ounces.

Black Tea
   
Black tea is oxidized more than the other three types of teas. The leaves are left to dry until they turn dark. It is also known to have health benefits as the other types. Black tea has much more caffeine than the other types of tea, and is consumed more world wide than the other types of tea.

Oolong Tea
   
Oolong, also called wu long, has a longer oxidation process, like black tea. Oolong tea varies in taste, but can have a woody or flowery flavor. Oolong is similar to green and black teas, and is a cross between the two.

White Tea
   
White tea is harvested in the spring, like green tea. It’s sweet in taste and has a delicious aroma. It is the least fermented type of tea and goes through a very simple process. It’s simply left out to be dried by the sun or in a room with specially controlled climate. It has health benefits that include its ability to fight cancer and fight off organisms that cause disease.

Black Tea May Lower Blood Sugar

by Steven Popec 9. June 2010 07:17

Many teas have health benefits, and black tea has many such benefits. This tea, which has been used for thousands of years in China, has many positive effects on the body, including lowering blood sugar.

Black Tea and Diabetes
   
Black tea is known to improve the health of the heart and to improve the immune system. Recent research also indicates that black tea can lower blood sugar. This would help people who suffer from diabetes. Research studies have found a substance in black tea that works in the same way that prescription medication which is used to control blood sugar levels work. These medications are used in patients with type 2 diabetes, and a substance that works in the same way is in black tea. This naturally occurring substance is found in higher levels in this type of tea than in others such as green tea.

How Does it Work?
   
The polysaccharides found in black tea help to inhibit an enzyme which changes starches to sugars. This decreases blood sugar levels, and this is the same process the prescription drugs use. Polysaccharides help to stop the absorption of sugar, and research has pointed out in the past that this might help people who have diabetes. Black tea also is shown to possibly help prevent cancer and other diseases.

So Can You Drink Black Tea in Place of an Oral Diabetic Medication?
   
No. Talk to your doctor before ever making a change in your treatment. These studies are not clear whether drinking the tea would be enough for treating diabetes. The study extracted the polysaccharides from the teas using chemical methods, which is not the way you brew tea at home.

Why is the Tea Black?
   
Traditional teas actually come from the same plant. The difference in color is due to the amount of processing. The black interacted with oxygen until the leaves darkened, in a process called oxidation. The process of the black variety only involves the tea leaves and oxygen. There’s no yeast or fermenting involved in this tea making process.

Black Tea has a Higher Level of Caffeine

   
This method does, however, leave much higher caffeine content in the tea. Black tea has a much higher level compared to other teas, including green and white teas. A cup of black tea has just about 50% less milligrams of caffeine in it than coffee has. A cup of black tea is used in many parts of the world instead of coffee in the mornings.

Where Can I Buy Black Tea?
   
Black teas are available at most grocery stores. Organic brands are becoming more readily available in stores, or they can be purchased online or at local health food stores. It may be available as a single tea packet, or in a blend. There are many different brands, and the choices can be a little overwhelming. Try a few different brands and types. Find the flavor you most enjoy. Brew the leaves in a pot-bellied teapot for the most delectable experience of the drink.
   
And drink up the deliciousness, and know that’s good for you too! The benefits of this drink are many, and it perhaps could lead, with more research and study, to another breakthrough for helping to lower blood sugar.

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