The benefits of tea

Find the best brew for you


WHAT IT IS Leaves that have been exposed to the air and turned black due to oxidation.
WHAT IT DOES Sip the black brew to your heart’s content – new research is finding that black tea can hold its own against the eternally-lauded green in the health-benefit stakes.

Studies show it significantly reduces risk of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease, which is the leading killer of Aussie women. Plus it may help prevent clogged arteries, improve blood vessel functioning and lower blood pressure.

It could also be used to control diabetes, since it has glucose-inhibiting properties. And although it won’t do much for the colour of your teeth, it contains fluoride that fights cavities. Six cups a day may also provide resistance to microbial infections and possibly tumours, while two cups could ward off urinary tract cancer.

TRY Lipton’s Large Leaf Imperial Earl Grey. It comes in pyramid bags, which give the leaves room to expand in hot water, resulting in a more flavoursome cup.


WHAT IT IS Leaves from the bud of the tea plant, flash-steamed and dried. Wins the award for being the least processed form with the most antioxidants and the least caffeine.

WHAT IT DOES Due to antioxidants aplenty, white tea may be the most powerful for cancer prevention.

A study from Oregon State University, US, found it was the best tea for inhibiting cell mutations – often the early stages of the big, bad C.

And white tea’s kryptonite for viruses and bacteria, says microbiologist Dr Milton Schiffenbauer. In his studies, tea destroyed more than 80 per cent of viruses within 10 minutes. If that’s not impressive enough, experiments show it can inhibit fat-cell generation. Cool, huh?

And the beautiful part: UK researchers found white tea thwarts the breakdown of skin’s elastin and collagen, helping prevent wrinkles.

TRY Lotus Peak White Tea. A light and delicately sweet taste that may appeal to green-tea loathers.


WHAT IT IS Leaves that have been steamed or cooked prior to oxidation.
WHAT IT DOES Asians have lower rates of many cancers and a high consumption rate of green tea. Coincidence? Nope – chemicals in green tea can destroy cancer cells, and women who drink 10-plus cups a day (toilet, anyone?) have a 43 per cent reduction in cancer risk.

People who drink five cups a day burn up to 335kJ more a day than tea-totallers. It can protect against eye disease, stimulate bone formation and may promote healthy teeth.

TRY Dilmah Green Tea. Milder than some greens. Do try it.