The current state of beverage options in America is a little baffling. From one perspective, we have more options than ever and yet it is notable how few of these options are healthy. Unlike ancient times when there were fewer alternatives but they were healthy beverage choices. It reminds us of a story we heard about one of the Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology, Zhang Guolao. Zhang was said to have ridden his donkey while sitting backwards because he felt that society had regressed — there was more wisdom in the past.
Image of 8 Immortals Including Zhang on the donkey. Courtesy of Wikipedia
Reflecting on earlier times, the preferred beverage choice was tea primarily from the Camellia sinensis plant. Most of the teas available such as white, green, oolong, and black teas come from this plant. It is quite astounding the breadth and depth of teas that are derived from the same species based on variables like: soil composition, altitude, sun exposure, weather, age and maturity of the plant, and processing techniques. One variety is known to get better with age as does fine wine.
The varieties of the tea from the Camellia sinensis plant appear to have excellent anti-oxidant value as well as other reported health benefits. Pu-Erh tea is considered to be a slimming tea and also to have digestive benefits. Furthermore, it is sometimes purchased as an investment because it is the only tea that when stored properly, improves with age and increases in value. Green tea is thought to boost the immune system and help maintain a healthy mental focus and meditative like state. Regular consumption of oolong tea has shown in studies to reduce blood sugar levels in patients with type II Diabetes.
Actually, these teas share many of these beneficial properties because they come from the same species of plant. The important thing to note is they all taste delicious in their own remarkable way. There is such variation in taste even within a single type of tea that it will keep your interest for a lifetime. Unlike some of the other beverage options readily available today, tea gives you something and leaves you better off than you were before you consumed it. So next time you are faced with a beverage choice, do something that would please old Zhang and choose tea. Cheers to health and longevity.