In most households, drinking tea first thing in the morning and later in the day is the norm. Some find it refreshing; others just addictive. Whatever your reasons maybe, if you are someone who is habituated to the ‘tea-drinking’ practice, this article is for you. It will discuss the different types of tea, how the practice came into being and how you can get rid of this habit that does more harm than good.
“Subah ki chai se neend khul jaati hai.”
“Shaam ki chai se energy feel hoti hai.”
Heard these lines before?
We are sure you have.
Many people around us are habituated towards consuming tea more than even twice a day. You’d be surprised to know that it is the second most-consumed beverage after water! From black tea, oolong, and white tea, to yellow and green tea: the market is full of so many varieties of teas. They have been marketed for reasons that include health benefits, as an energizing drink, as a means of socializing and even weight loss! The aim of this article is to demystify this common notion. By knowing its effects on your body you can make an informed decision about continuing with this habit or letting it go.
How did the habit of drinking tea come into being in India?
Tea production was introduced in India by the British, to break the Chinese monopoly on tea. It was first consumed only by Anglicized Indians and it wasn’t until the 1950s that the culture of tea consumption started growing at a steady pace in India. Large areas of land were used for tea production From those days to now, the habit of drinking tea has become fairly common across the nation. It is the most common drink offered to welcome guests, a means of bonding over a cuppa with snacks in the evening time or something to beat the chills. With the popularity of green tea, oolong tea and different types of tea to add variety to this habit, it has certainly become an important one in people’s lives.
Where does tea come from and how is it processed?
Tea is produced from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. Based on the way it is harvested or processed, the end product results in different types of tea. As soon as they are picked, the enzymes in the leaf carry out the polyphenols reactions. Wilting/Withering is a process that removes excess water from the plucked leaves. Another process that imparts different taste and aroma to tea leaves is of oxidation, which is a chemical process that leads to browning of tea leaves. To help speed things up, tea manufactures roll the leaf, spilling the enzymes and juices through-out the leaf causing an active, oxidization process. For green tea, oxidation is 0%, for oolong tea, the oxidation is around 5-40% and in black tea is it 100%.
Following types of tea are produced based on the way they are processed:
What type of side-effects do different types of tea cause?
Arranged in descending order of caffeine content, following are the effects of the variety of teas:
Black tea: This tea is stronger in flavour than other teas due to higher oxidization. It consists of a high amount of caffeine that leads to constipation, heartburn, acidity, sleep problems, diarrhoea, sweating, and even confusion.
Oolong tea: Oolong tea is made when the leaves are traditionally rolled, curled or twisted into either firm balls or thread-like strands. Due to being 8 to 80% oxidized and high in caffeine, it leads to ringing in the ears, vomiting, irritability, headaches and even tremors.
Green tea: It has become famous for its rich anti-oxidant content and positive effects on weight, cancer prevention and improved brain function. However, excessive consumption can lead to liver damage. It also consists of catechins; a group of flavonoids that exist naturally in the fresh leaves of the tea plant. Catechins make it difficult for body to absorb iron from food and can thus, lead to anaemia.
Yellow tea: It is prepared when the tea leaves are solar weathered, pan fried, steamed, followed by drying. As it is unwilted, unoxidized and allowed to cool on its own, it has higher anti-oxidants than green tea. Although the caffeine content is lesser than black, oolong and green tea, it increases blood pressure, decreasing calcium absorption by bone due to overexertion of calcium through urine. People who have glaucoma are worse affected by its consumption.
White tea: It is the most minimally processed form of tea which is sweet and silky in taste, with a pale yellow color. Its excessive consumption can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness, skin irritation and even heart problems.
Nowadays, people also believe that drinking blended teas like black tea with tulsi and ginger, or honey and cinnamon would give them additional benefits. Though it may be better than plain black tea, it does not take away the fact that all teas are still high on caffeine and are processed products.
So one can see that with so much of processing, the packaged tea bears little resemblance to the original tea leaves of the plant.
Consumption of tea early in the morning puts a heavy load on digestion and inhibits the waste elimination cycle. This toxic accumulation causes the beginning of many diseases. Consuming it with sugar and dairy or biscuits and namkeens as is usually the norm further add to the toxic load on the body.
All these types of teas being processed are highly acidic by nature and lead to acid-alkaline disturbance in the body, Tea stimulates the nervous system but the crash soon after causes one to feel tired leading one to increase consumption overtime.
In short, Tea is a stimulant, addictive and hinders the assimilation of nutrients in food.
How to break this addictive habit of drinking tea?
If you have decided to quit drinking tea, initially you may experience nausea, irritability, headache, dizziness or other symptoms.These are withdrawalsymptoms and usually fade away in 3-4 days as the body adjusts. All you need to do is handle the situation with patience.
You can adopt the following measures:
Reduce the number of cups of tea, each day if you are not able to leave this habit immediately.
Keep the tea powder away from your sight.
Sniff the tea powder to get over the craving.
Spend some time take deep breaths. You can also go for a brisk walk or spend time in nature to distract yourself from the immediate craving.
Try to avoid social occasions where drinking tea is a regular habit when you are trying to break the habit. By avoiding such scenarios, you’ll be able to kick off the habit sooner.
The time has come when we all decide to look at the truth behind the overwhelming marketing schemes under which different types of tea are being sold in the market. The Tea habit might offer momentary calm, energy and focus, but it takes a toll on one’s vitality.
Try the recipes and practices stated above and let us know in the comment section about how successful have you been in kicking off this habit!
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