Most men will opt for coffee over tea, myself included. That doesn’t mean we have to choose. We can appreciate the many health benefits of tea, and we can pair it with music.
Today, a ballplayer came up to me, accompanied by several teammates, to inquire about tea. He asked very generally, “What are your thoughts on tea?” I fought the urge to talk about black coffee and instead focused on his query. I shared my initial, positive thoughts and promised to write him up something further.
There are four “true teas,” meaning they are derived from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Herbal and fruit “teas” are a different story, and we’ll save that for another post. Today, we’ll muse on the white, green, oolong and black varieties. Each conjures up a different image and soundtrack for me.
White tea is a solid choice if relaxing is your aim. I’m envisioning a SoCal summer evening, talking to my grandfather about his old furniture business in New York, 1940s saxophone playing in the background, a mug in each of our hands. From octaviatea.com:
White tea is considered to be the healthiest of all types of tea because it has the highest levels of antioxidants and theanine, a rare amino acid found only in high-quality tea. Antioxidants are believed to maintain health, combat aging and prevent disease. Theanine promotes mental and physical relaxation, improves mood, reduces anxiety, boosts the immune system and increases concentration. White tea also has the lowest caffeine content of all true teas.
Folks generally gravitate towards green tea for its perceived fat burning properties. I’ll set the mood. The world around you is silent. It’s 5:30am. All you see is stars and a stretch of road. Headphones on, you bang Rakim’s “Mahogany” and sync your breathing up with the steady, slow beat. You sip green tea from a paper cup. You hit your sprints. You’re done before the rest of the world begins to wake up. You win. From Penn State:
Clinical studies suggest that green tea extract may boost metabolism and help burn fat. One study found that the combination of green tea and caffeine improved weight loss and maintenance in people who were overweight and moderately obese. Some researchers think that substances in green tea known as catechins are responsible for the herb’s fat-burning effect.
Oolong tea is a bit of a nutritional mutt, a hybrid if you will. I imagine traveling the Mexican coast in a beat up black 1970s CJ7 holding a metal thermos of oolong. Music, Son House, blues. From organicfacts.net:
Health benefits of oolong tea include the reduction of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, inflammatory disorders, and high cholesterol levels, while providing vital antioxidants, promoting superior bone structure, robust skin and good dental health. Oolong tea is fragrant with a fruity flavor and a pleasant aroma. Despite its caffeine content, it can still be extremely relaxing to drink.
Black tea has the richest, deepest flavor of any of the four. Unlike the other varieties, black tea has been fermented, giving it a darker color and bolder flavor. Speaking of bold, an aggressive squat workout and System of a Down follows a hot mug stunningly. From organicfacts.net:
The health benefits of black tea include beneficial impacts for high cholesterol, diarrhea, tooth decay, low-concentration levels, digestive problems, poor blood circulation, high blood pressure, and asthma. Black tea is one of the most popular teas known to man, and is well known for its medicinal qualities and health benefits.
I won’t give up my morning ritual of black coffee, ever. Choosing tea, however, offers a plethora of health benefits. Either choice is the right choice.