Tea has been a popular beverage around the world for thousands of years. First cultivated in China, tea was later exported to England, where it became a much-valued commodity. By the mid-1800s, the British had succeeded in cultivating tea in British-controlled India. Eventually, tea grown in the Darjeeling region of India was considered the highest-quality black tea available, and the preferred tea among many tea drinkers. Today, Darjeeling tea is prized for its taste and health benefits.
All types of tea come from the same plant, says the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion at the University of Arizona. The difference lies in which part of the plant you use; Darjeeling tea comes from the upper leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. After picking, Darjeeling is fermented partially oxidized, meaning that its leaves are processed and exposed to oxygen.
The health benefits of black tea, including Darjeeling tea, are well known. According to The Color of Tea website, tea strengthens your immune system, fights dental plaque, lowers cholesterol and maintains heart health. Its most powerful components are the antioxidants and flavonoids that prevent cell damage, protect your heart and decrease your risk of cancer. In addition, Darjeeling tea contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese, says the University of Arizona.
Prepare Darjeeling like other black teas. Steep it from three to five minutes in water that has just come to a boil. Once brewed, you can enjoy Darjeeling as-is, or cool it to serve as iced tea -- which does not affect is health benefits. You may prefer to add milk, honey, sugar or lemon to your tea, none of which dilute the healthy properties of the tea.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, tea is generally considered safe. However, all black teas contain caffeine, which can be bothersome to some people. Caffeine can cause anxiety-like symptoms and can also interfere with the absorption of iron in your food. In addition, some medications heighten the effects of caffeine which may create problems. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about Darjeeling or other tea consumption.
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