Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tea Please! Everything you needed to know about tea

I am sitting in front of my computer with the worst stomach ache in the world drinking some Camomile tea - nonna's best remedy for a bad tummy.  It has lead me to write this post about tea.  Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water.  There are a million different types of tea however they all stem from these 5 bases - black, green, white, oolong, red, and herbal.  And I am determined to try them all.... oh boy.

Here are some of the benefits of Tea

There are a lot of studies that demonstrate the anti-cancer properties of the antioxidants in teas.  Some studies even go as far as to say that if you consume 4 to 6 (or more) cups of tea on a daily basis it can reduce the risk of gastic, esophageal and skin cancer!  Other studies have shown that only 2 cups of tea may lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 46%!!  The greatest studies of all have been done on green tea - for example a Japanese study found that green tea actually LOWERS death rates from heart disease.  Did you know that tea ranks as high - if not higher! - than most fruits or vegetables when measured in antioxidant potential of plant-based foods?  Pretty amazing.

Ok, go grab your green tea and come back.
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Welcome back.

So many types - but what to choose? Black? White? Oolong? Green?
Black, white, oolong and green teas derive their leaves from Camellia sinesis - a warm-weather evergreen tree.  The more processing tea leaves undergo, the darker they will turn. Green tea and white tea are the least processed tea. They are simply steamed quickly. White tea, however, is derived from the young new leaves from the Camellia plant during the spring. These young leaves are silvery white as they contain no chlorophyll. Black and oolong teas are partially dried, fermented and crushed.  

What about Herbal Tea?
Herbal tea is different than the teas mentioned above - it is not derived from the Camellia plant leaves and therefore does not have the health promoting properties as the others.  The majority of herbal teas that you can find in the supermarket are not tea at all, they are actualy infusions made with flowers, roots, spices, herbs and parts of plants.  We have a variety of herbal teas available that have amazing health benefits.  My personal favorite is the Organic Ginger Aide by Traditional Medicinals - a company owned by Higgins and Burke.  The next best thing to Camomile when I eat something that doesn't agree with me.
Check them out...

Caffeine in tea? oh yes...
The American Diestetic Association states that a cup of tea contains an average of 40 mg of caffeine, compared to 85 mg as found in a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

What about Decaf Tea?
We do not know whether decaf teas have the same health benefits. It is not yet known if removing caffeine also removes polyphenols in the decaffeinating process.

Other fun facts!
If you are the type to fret over the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and other signs of growing old, oolong tea may be the answer to your worries. In a recent experiment carried out jointly by researchers from the US, Taiwan and Japan, mice which were fed tea displayed fewer signs of aging than mice that were fed water. The Straits Times, Sept. 24, 01

The wonder cup just got even more wonderful. Green tea, rich in antioxidant treasures that protect against heart disease and cancer, now shows promise as an allergy fighter. In laboratory tests, Japanese researchers have found that the antioxidants in green tea, block the biochemical process involved in producing an allergic response. Green tea may be useful against a wide range of sneeze-starting allergens, including pollen, pet dander, and dust. Prevention, April 2003

Green tea catechins are chondroprotective and consumption of green tea may be prophylactic for arthritis and may benefit the arthritis patient by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown. The Journal of Nutrition, Mar 2002
Green tea may be useful in controlling inflammation from injury or diseases such as arthritis. Boston Globe, April 26, 99

Bone Strength
Tea flavonoids may be bone builders. A report in this week's Archives of Internal Medicine looked at about 500 Chinese men and women who regularly drank black, green, or oolong tea for more than 10 years. Compared with nonhabitual tea drinkers, tea regulars had higher bone mineral densities, even after exercise and calcium-which strengthen bones-were taken into account. U.S. News & World Report, May 20, 2002

"Tea is one of the single best cancer fighters you can put in your body," according to Mitchell Gaynor, MD, director of medical oncology at the world-renowned Strong Cancer Prevention Center in New York City and co-author of Dr. Gaynor's Cancer Prevention Program. The latest tea discovery? Strong evidence that both green and black tea can fight cancer-at least in the test tube-though green tea holds a slight edge. In a new study, both teas kept healthy cells from turning malignant after exposure to cancer-causing compounds. Prevention, May 2000
People who drink about 4 cups of green tea a day seem to get less cancer. Now we may know why. In recent test-tube studies, a compound called EGCG, a powerful antioxidant in tea, inhibited an enzyme that cancer cells need in order to grow. The cancer cells that couldn't grow big enough to divide self-destructed. It would take about 4 cups of green tea a day to get the blood levels of EGCG that inhibited cancer in the study. Black tea also contains EGCG, but at much lower concentrations. Prevention, Aug 1999

Tea can lower 'bad' cholesterol levels. Researchers at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, asked test subjects to eat low-fat, low-calorie prepared meals and drink five cups of caffeinated tea or caffeinated and non-caffeinated placebos that mimicked the look of tea. Levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol dropped 10 percent among the test subjects who drank tea. Vegetarian Times, Jan 2003

Heart Disease
Drinking black tea may lower the risk of heart disease because it prevents blood from clumping and forming clots. In a recent study, researchers found that while drinking black tea, the participants had lower levels of the blood protein associated with coagulation. Better Nutrition, Jan 2002
Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one,Ó says a Chinese proverb. Research is showing it may just be true. Dr. Kenneth Mukamal of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported that out of 1,900 heart-attack patients, those who drank two or more cups a day reduced their risks of dying over the next 3.8 years by 44 percent. Newsweek, May 20, 2002

Weight Loss
Trying to lose weight? Reach for a cup of green tea instead of a diet beverage. Compared to the placebo and caffeine, green tea extract consumption produced a significant 4% increase in 24-hour energy expenditure. If you consume 2,000 calories per day and don't gain or lose weight (you're in energy balance), an increase of 4% would translate roughly into an 80-calorie daily difference. Over a year, this could result in 89 pounds of weight loss. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nov 1999
Recent evidence shows that in the battle of fat loss, green tea may be superior to plain caffeine. According to a new study, green tea appears to accelerate calorie burning - including fat calories. Researchers suggest compounds in green tea called flavonoids may change how the body uses a hormone called norepinephrine, which then speeds the rate calories are burned. Joe Weider's Muscle & Fitness, April 2000

Loose vs Bags
Tea made from loose leaves has more antioxidants than tea bags, which tend to have lower-quality, powdered leaves. Prevention, April 2003

Black vs Green
Black tea is turning out to be just as healthful as green tea. Univ of California Wellness Letter, March 2002
One cup of black or green tea has more antioxidant power than a serving of broccoli, carrots, or spinach. Prevention, Aug 1998

Decaf Tea
Tea decaffeinated using a natural CO-2 process retains 90% of its cancer-fighting properties. Prevention, Feb 2000
Java junkies, perk up: Substituting tea for coffee will cut your caffeine intake by more than half. Prevention, May 96

White Tea
White tea appears to have more potent anticancer qualities than green tea. Reuters Health, March 30, 2000

(Information Source: