tea brewing guide to get the most health benefits

Study: Drinking Tea Defends Your Brain

New research adds stroke prevention to a long list of tea-drinking benefits.

By Emily Main


Study: Drinking Tea Defends Your Brain

Potent potable: Brewed iced tea contains natural health-boosting chemicals.

Here’s a rundown of the major tea types and how to make them:

• Black tea. Black tea has antioxidant levels equal to those of green tea, and it’s been found helpful in preventing heart disease. To brew it, let the water come to a full boil; that not only improves the flavor, but the heat from boiling water unleashes higher levels of antioxidants. Steep the leaves for three to five minutes; if you leave them in longer than that, the tea will taste bitter.

• Green tea. Green tea not only keeps strokes at bay, but a study from Italy found that drinking three cups of green tea daily prevented prostate cancer in men who had precancerous cells indicating the presence of the disease. Unlike black tea, green tea turns bitter if you steep it in boiling water. Bring the water to a boil and wait 60 seconds for it to cool down to 160 degrees F, and steep the leaves for only one to two minutes.

• White tea. White tea is made from young tea leaves that are harvested just before the buds open, and as a result, it has lower levels of caffeine and a slightly sweeter taste than black, oolong, or green tea. White tea has also been found to be effective at fighting infections caused by staph and streptococcus bacteria, pneumonia, and tooth decay. It tastes best brewed in water that’s 185 degrees F, so wait 30 seconds after boiling the water for it to cool down. White tea also needs to steep longer than black or green tea, anywhere from four to 15 minutes.

• Oolong tea. Oolong teas fall somewhere between green and black, in terms of taste, and they have high levels of polyphenols, which protect against heart disease and strokes. It has a little more caffeine than green tea. Use water just below boiling, between 185 degrees and 190 degrees, and steep the leaves for three to four minutes.

Published on: July 9, 2009
Updated on: March 11, 2010

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