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    The lifeblood of tea

    Nov 27, 2016 · by Peter O · no comments


    It is well known that drinking tea stems back to ancient cultures and traditions. In China, tea drinking is incredibly common, and is part of the Chinese lifestyle. In India, Chai tea is engrained in Indian culture and is also a major Chai tea-producing country. In parts of Africa, tea-growing is common and a major export for many African countries. In the United Kingdom, tea drinking is traditionally a sociable occasion however nowadays is part of everyday life for British people. Furthermore, all of these tea-drinking countries specialize in different types of tea. This article will explore the health benefits of several types of tea in relation to the country it is most popular.

    In China, green and black tea is most favored by the Chinese. According to a China travel guide, tea production has played a role in driving economic development whilst remaining a practice of daily life. (1) Furthermore, China is the world’s largest green tea exporter, comprising more than 80 percent of the global market. (2) Historically, tea drinking in China may have been for medicinal purposes or for religious reasons. Ancient Chinese folklore claims that a farmer founded green tea more than 2000 years ago after falling asleep under a Camellia tree whilst boiling water. (3) Nevertheless, tea drinking is still incredibly popular in the East and many Chinese swear by the health benefits of green and black tea. Population studies indicate that green tea-drinking cultures tend to have lower risk of heart disease than others, highlighting the health benefits of the popular drink. (4)

    In India, Chai tea is common and surprisingly different to Chinese tea. Chai can be made in different ways and involves adding milk, sugar and various spices. These include ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, cloves or nutmeg and can completely change the flavor of the tea depending on how much is used and what combination of spices are added. Chai tea may offer health benefits due to the spices used, which are rich in antioxidants and associated in Indian culture with different healing properties. (5) Chai tea is available in many coffee shop chains such as Starbucks and Costa, however these are very different to the real Chai tea that is produced in India. Many coffee houses add extra sugar, citric acid and other properties to the drink that make it unhealthy. It may be best to try making it yourself using a traditional recipe.

    Last but not least, tea in the United Kingdom is normally a type of black tea that is mixed with milk and sugar depending on personal taste. The majority of tea purchased in the United Kingdom comes from abroad, such as the brand ‘Tetleys’ which comes from Africa and Assam. (6) There may be significant health benefits of drinking this type of tea as long as there is little to no sugar added. Overall, tea remains the lifeblood of the world, associated with many cultures and customs. It may be worthwhile to try different kinds of herbal teas and reap the health benefits that other cultures swear

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