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Tea: Can it Help You Embrace Your Life & Health?
Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Green and Black Tea

They say the path to wholeness is in embracing everything in your life.  The good and the bad, the hard and the simple, the dark and the light, yin and yang so to speak.  In essence every part of yourself.  That sounds obvious enough but really we all know how hard it is to do.  Especially when you are in the midst of living without the space and time to reflect on your life.

How did you get where you are today?

That was the question I was asking myself the other day after a jarring dream.  We have all had that, right?  A dream that just rocked your night, week, even life…

As I sat with my cup of tea (like half the people in the world and perhaps some of them were also pondering) when I finally realized that my lesson was to accept all of my life experiences including the ones that weren’t ideal.

As I sipped on this it got me thinking more about how life is kind of like the tea leaf.  All teas start from the tea plant Camellia sinesis and it is the treatment process of the tea leaves that create the main variety of teas known as: black, green, oolong, and white teas.

The Different Teas

Black tea:  fermented tea leaves
Green tea:  steamed or fried tea leaves
Oolong tea:  semi-fermented
White tea: unfermented

Scientists know that if the leaves of Camellia sinensis are partially withered, steamed, rolled and dried before the final firing then they have more flavonoids called catechins.  The end result is green tea with 4 main antioxidant stars (EC, EGC, ECG. ECGC) that have shown promising results in decreasing risk of breast, prostate and lung cancer along with other health benefits.

The 4 Natural Occurring Antioxidants in Green Tea

(EC) – epicatechin
(EGC) – epigallocatechin
(ECG) – epicatechin 3-gallate
(ECGC) –   epigallocatechin 3-gallate

Black tea, on the other hand, undergoes indoor withering, is rolled and oxidized/fermented before it’s final firing.  As a result those catechins found in green tea are converted into more complex flavonoids known as theaflavins and thearubigins which also act as antioxidants.

So which is better?  Green tea or black tea?  You be the judge of that – are you in the mood for more complexity or is your mood of simplicity.  Black tea and green tea each provide their own health benefits and both are believed to have a protective effect on some cancers, stroke and heart disease.

Research is on-going to understand the mechanisms and details of both teas.  Amount, brewing time and tea leaf quality are all factors to take into consideration.

For many of us a tea break can provide a momentary breather in a busy day.  Hopefully our teatime will allow us each to embrace our current moment, assess our next priority, and the opportunity to enjoy a little bit of both green and black – yin and yang.

What’s Your Cuppa Tea?

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