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Tea Time

Not drinking it? You're missing a lot.

No longer just for grannies and stuffy Englishmen, tea is an important beverage to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle. In fact, after water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world—and it possesses a host of health benefits. If you haven't joined the crowd, here's what you need to know before pouring a cup: Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and the processing of the leaves results in different types of tea.

1) GREEN
Origin: Comes from tea bushes from either China or Japan. Fresh leaves are picked and then are steamed or pan fired to release moisture. Leaves are then rolled and dried and given a final firing to ensure that all moisture is gone.

Flavor: China-style: light, smoky, and nutty. Japan-style: grassy, bright, and oceany.

Health Benefits: Green tea is by far the most researched tea out there, and for good reason: Its high level of antioxidants may help the body fight everything from cancer to skin disorders like psoriasis and dandruff. Studies have shown that in populations where green tea is consumed frequently, cancer rates tend to be significantly lower.

Try: Mint Green Tea, $13 @ paromi.com

2) BLACK
Origin: Picked leaves are left to oxidize completely until they turn black, and they are then pan fired. Black tea contains the highest amount of caffeine.

Flavor: Pungent, thick, rich, and tends to be on the sweeter side.

Health Benefits: Researchers found that chemical compounds in black tea may stop the growth of bacteria that causes bad breath. Other research has shown that the high amounts of amino acids may help strengthen the immune system.

Try: Earl Grey Dolce, $13 @ paromi.com

3) OOLONG
Origin: Leaves are shaken or rolled to bruise their edges, and after a short fermentation they are pan fired. Oolong tea is often served at Chinese restaurants.

Flavor: Rich and fruity (like a cross between green and black teas).

Health Benefits: Research suggests that drinking oolong tea may promote weight loss as well as help boost one's immune system. It is also said to help prevent tooth decay and is effective for fighting dermatitis.

Try: Lemon Ginger Oolong, $13  @ paromi.com

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