Tea and Health
This section is meant to shed some light on why tea is gaining in popularity as people are becoming more health conscious. We do not attempt to cover all aspects of this subject on this site, it is simply too wide reaching. If you do your own internet search for “tea and health”, you will be amazed at the number of news stories and scientific studies that exist.
When we fell in love with tea, we knew none of this. What we did know is that we loved the relaxing yet stimulating effects it provided us and the wide variety of flavors to enjoy. (A striking contrast for former coffee lovers!) What we learned about tea as we got more involved with it, gave us even more reason to keep drinking…
TEA IS ALL NATURAL
Tea is all natural. It contains:
Tea also contains:
Tea is also environmentally friendly, since it is grown from a renewable source.
TEA CONTAINS ANTI-OXIDANT FLAVANOIDS THAT PROMOTE GOOD HEALTH
Tea is one of the best sources of flavonoids in the American diet. Flavonoids act as anti-oxidants within the body, working to neutralize free radicals by combining with them chemically before they can cause damage. Scientists believe that free radicals, over time, cause damage to elements in the body and contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The primary flavonoids present in tea are called catechins in green tea, and thearubigens and theaflavins in black tea. The difference is a result of the processing of the tea leaves – almost no oxidation of green tea leaves versus full oxidation of black tea leaves. Although the flavonoids in both types of tea contain healthful properties, those found in green tea have been to found to contain more powerful anti-oxidant properties than those found in black tea – between two to eight times as much.
Bottled (Ready-To-Drink) teas contain fewer anti-oxidant properties for the simple reason that they contain very little tea, and mostly water and sugar.
How Tea Stacks Up Against Other Anti-Oxidants
There are many other beverages and foods that are also known to exhibit anti-oxidant properties, and currently much controversy as to which of these exhibits the most health properties. Among these are citrus fruits, berries, onions, parsley, red wine, dark chocolate. Each food or beverage industry’s ad campaigns attempt to represent its product in the best light. It is best to let actual research data speak for itself. For example, studies of various “healthful” beverages show that the following quantities (number of 8oz glasses) of those beverages contain similar amounts of anti-oxidants. Green and black tea are at the top of the list, requiring much less intake, and having no negative after-effects upon consumption.
source: “The Polyphenolic Content of Fruits and Vegetables and Their Antioxidant Activities: What Does a Serving Constitute?” Paganga et al., Free Radical Research, Volume 30, Feb 1999
Some Potential Benefits
Because of its anti-oxidant properties, tea is a healthy addition to any diet. Ongoing scientific studies continue to investigate the benefits of tea in a wide range of health areas. These include the claims that drinking tea may:
Promote cardiovascular health
Inhibit cancer by Neutralizing free radicals
Lower LDL levels
Strengthen the immune system
Contribute to oral health (fluoride)
Aid in fighting obesity
Help build bones
Inhibit progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
Improve sex life
TEA IS LOWER IN CAFFEINE
A moderate intake of caffeine is considered to be between 300-400mg per day. This equates to drinking around six to eight cups of (freshly steeped) tea. On average, one serving of tea contains less than half the level of caffeine of a typical coffee – between 40-50mg for tea, and 90-120mg for coffee. Most sodas contain around 40-50mg of tea as well, but are loaded with unhealthy additives such as flavorings, sugar or sugar substitutes.
It is important to note that many loose leaf teas may be re-steeped up to three times, and some even more, depending on the type and quality of the tea. The caffeine in the loose tea leaves is expelled into the cup during the first steeping. Each subsequent steeping does not provide any additional caffeine, thus three or more cups of tea can be consumed having the caffeine content equivalent of just one cup. This also means that regular tea containing natural caffeine, can be easily de-caffeinated before drinking. Simply “rinse” the tea briefly (20 seconds) in the hot water, filter, and steep.
Because of its relatively low caffeine content, tea could rarely act as a diuretic. Around 250-300mg of tea would have to be consumed in one sitting – between five to six cups of freshly steeped tea.
Pregnant women, limited to less than 200mg of caffeine per day, can continue to enjoy their favorite teas throughout pregnancy. This is especially useful in the first trimester, as tea can often help calm an upset stomach or relieve nausea.
TEA MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
Steeped tea has the ability to stimulate the body and mind, while at the same time, helping to prevent anxiety. This is because tea contains both energizing properties (caffeine) and relaxing properties (theanine). Tea can be drunk to energize in the A.M. and to de-stress in the P.M. It acts as a “ying-yang” balancer to the system, which makes it a good beverage to drink at any time of the day.
TEA IS HYDRATING
For some time, doctors and nutritionists have been recommending “8 cups of fluids per day” for maintaining proper hydration levels in the body. Tea is hydrating, not dehydrating. It does not have a diuretic effect unless the amount consumed at one sitting contains more than 250-300mg of caffeine – the equivalent of five to six cups of freshly steeped (not re-steeped) tea.
Thus, drinking tea each day actually contributes to daily fluid requirements, and is a tasty substitute for all that water.