Healthy to a Tea

Since starting my dietary change, I’ve discovered a renewed love for tea.  The magnitude of my affection dawned on me this morning as a sipped a Bigelow Chamomile and drove myself to work.

I’ve always loved tea.  Mostly a chai girl…or more specifically, a Masala girl (as Chai is the equivalent English bastardization of this Indian original).

Did you know that next to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world?  (Don’t tell Starbucks…although they make a mean Earl Grey.)

It’s believed it’s been around since the second millennium B.C. when the Shang Dynasty in China may have used it medicinally.  Of course, the Brits made it a social event in the 17th century.

Interesting that 80% of the tea consumed in the United States and Canada is cold.

Did you know that there are 6 different types of tea and some of them are shown to have significant health benefits?

  1. White
  2. Yellow
  3. Green
  4. Ooblong (or wulong)
  5. Black (or called Red tea in China)
  6. Post-fermented Tea (or called Black tea in China)

Tea is rich in an antioxidant called catechins, although the highest concentration can be found in White and Green tea varieties.  It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, flavonoids, vitamins, caffeine and several polysaccharides.  What’s all this mean?

Green and black tea have been found to protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.  And Green Tea, the rockstar of all teas, has been found to protect against most types of cancers: oral, prostate, digestive, urinary tract, pancreatic, bladder, skin, lung, breast and more!  Green tea has even been proven in trials to reduce body fat by a small amount for a short time as it stimulates your metabolism and reduces the risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.  It also is proported it can improve cholesterol levels.  Meanwhile, black tea has been shown to protect the lungs from exposure to cigarette smoke and to reduce the risk of stroke.

A wide variety of commercial teas also show signs of slowing or terminating viruses.

And I was pleasantly surprised to stop by a local coffee shop a few weeks back and discover Jasmine Green Tea.  It’s just what it sounded like Jasmin flower-infused green tea.  The aroma was amazing and the taste was bold and took some getting into.

by Kristie LeVangie

So now, let’s settle one of the longest-lasting debates of my lifetime outside of the chicken and egg, that is.  Which has more caffeine– coffee, tea or me? (Well, that’s kinda it.)

Per 8-ounce serving, tea has between 30 mg and 90 mg of caffeine.  For 7 ounces of coffee, it’s a bit more complicated depending on your brewing method, but it’s 80-135mg for brewed and 115-175mg for drip.  Compare that with 100mg of Caffeine per 1.5 – 2-ounce serving of Espresso.

So you’ll see…there’s a slight possibility your tea has more caffeine than your morning Starbuck’s injection, but probably not.  Too much caffeine overstimulates your body’s nervous system and some pretty nasty side effects can result with amounts exceeding 300mg regularly.

But never fear, the 30 to 90 mg present in your morning cup of Darjeeling or English Breakfast tea, is just enough to heighten your mental alertness.

I drink Green Tea everyday.  Some days I’ll add another variety to mix it up a bit.  Tea is calorie-free, so if you can avoid the additive pitfall and learn to drink it straight appreciating the flavor, it’s a win-win.

So share with me.  What’s your favorite blend?

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