It’s Tea Time: Green Tea Benefits
I’ll admit I’m a coffee drinker and am enjoying my robust first cup as I write this blog post. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t also enjoy a relaxing cup of tea. It is true that tea has only about 1/3 of the amount of caffeine as coffee so it is okay to have more of it. Tea choices seem endless these days, with an ever increasing combination of flavors. Perhaps it would be helpful to know a bit about the types of tea and also which brands will provide you with toxin-free truly good for you tea.
First let’s dispel a few tea myths. “Tea dehydrates you because of its caffeine content”. The truth is that because tea is 99.5 percent water, it is a perfectly good choice for hydration in addition to your water intake. “Tea heats you up and should not be consumed on a hot day”. Actually it cools you down. As you warm up inside, blood vessels on the surface of the skin will dilate which increases blood flow and you release heat. Another falsehood is that caffeine weakens bones. In a study of 1,500 women aged 70-85, those drinking four or more cups a day had higher bone density than non-tea drinkers.
“I’ve published more than 500 papers, including a lot on tea,” says Weisburger, who drinks 10 cups daily. “I was the first American researcher to show that tea modifies the metabolism to detoxify harmful chemicals.”
All teas from the camellia tea plant are rich in polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant. These wonder nutrients scavenge for cell-damaging free radicals in the body and detoxify them, says Weisburger. “Astounding” aptly describes tea’s antioxidant power, he tells WebMD. “Whether it’s green or black, tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables.” (WebMD black tea vs green tea benefits)
Black Tea (40 mg caffeine per cup) makes up about 75% of the global tea consumed and has high concentrations of the antioxidant compounds known as theaflavins and thearubigins. These compounds have been linked to lower levels of cholesterol. Research has shown that people who drink three or more cups of black tea daily may cut their risk of stroke by 21 percent.
Green Tea (25 mg caffeine per cup) has a more delicate flavor than black. Green tea is full of antioxidants called catechins which may help prevent cancer and heart disease One study found that each cup of green tea consumed daily may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10 percent.
Oolong (30 mg caffeine per cup) is similar to black tea and has a robust, rich taste. It may aid in weight loss. Oolong activates an enzyme which in turn aids to dissolve triglycerides, the form of dietary fat that’s stored in fat cells. One study showed that women who drank oolong tea burned slightly more calories over a two-hour period than those who drank only water.
White Tea (15 mg caffeine per cup) has a much milder flavor than any other variety, may help with cardiovascular issues and cancer prevention and research is showing that it may help people with diabetes. Initial studies show that consuming white tea resulted in improved glucose tolerance and a reduction in LDL cholesterol.
Herbal Tea (caffeine free) and isn’t technically a tea at all! They are usually a combination of dried fruits, flowers and herbs, not tea leaves. Many herbal teas are used for specific remedies. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily could help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Peppermint tea is excellent for tummy upsets, gas and bloating. Ginger Tea is also good for those things. Rooibos is an excellent choice if you prefer a non-caffeinated herbal tea as it is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants.
There’s nothing like curling up with a nice cup of hot tea to relax and unwind. And with all these great health benefits listed, you might be heading out to the store to pick up a few new boxes. But here’s a word of caution, not all tea is created equal. Many of today’s tea brands are masquerading under the health benefits labeling parade, but are actually laced with pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavors and GMOs. A recent third-party analysis by Glaucus Research found that 91 percent of Celestial Seasonings tea tested had pesticide residues exceeding the U.S. limits. Teavana tea was tested by an independent lab and 100 percent of it was found to contain pesticides.
Here’s a great chart created by FoodBabe.com:
Here are some companies that are striving to provide clean and safe tea. The following according to CleanPlate.com are all free of epichlorohydrin, as well as pesticides and artificial flavorings:
Numi Tea. Confirms a company rep, “Our teas are pesticide-free and non-GMO verified, and our tea bags are made from manila hemp cellulose, and free of epichlorohydrin. The tags are made from 100% recycled material and soy-based inks.”
Rishi Tea. Rishi’s certified organic teas are bagged with PLA—polylactic acid, creating “silken” bags. Unlike other “silky” bags, which can be made with PET plastic, these are corn- and potato starch-based. Adds Assistant Tea Buyer Jeff Champeau, “Our Natural Fiber Loose Leaf Tea Filters are made without glue or any other binding agent.”
EDEN Organic. Confirms company rep Wendy Esko, “The bags are made from oxygen washed manila fibers with no polluting whiteners used. Once filled, the bags are crimped and sealed with 100% cotton string. No staples, plastics, or glue are ever used.”
Organic Stash. “The filter paper used for Stash Tea bags is made from 100% cellulose fibers (wood) and is made to appear white by forcing air between the fibers. No bleach is used,” explains Stash’s website. “The filter paper is not coated with the compound called epichlorohydrin, and does not contain any free epichlorohydrin.”
Choice Organic Tea. One of the company’s consumer relations experts, Nia, assured Clean Plates that all Choice Teas are not only organic but free of epichlorohydrin.
Two Leaves organic teas. Says a company rep, “We pride ourselves on being pesticide-free as well as on having corn-based tea sachets.” The website adds, “Our sachets are made of biodegradable cornstarch based nylon, not petroleum based nylon.”
Organic Yogi Teas. Writes a Yogi Tea rep, “We currently use a non-heat sealable filtration paper made from a select blend of high quality manila hemp (abaca) fibers and wood pulp. The filtration paper does not contain epichlorohydrin, nor plastic or polypropylene. It is oxygen bleached using a natural process that is completely free of chemicals or toxins, including dioxin.”
Tetley Black & Green tea. Tetley’s new Black & Green (a blend of both varieties) uses Perflo paper bags, which are free of epichlorohydrin. The tea is also free of pesticides. (Includes: green tea benefits)
Resources: American Institute for Cancer Research, in Washington, D.C.
Tea Association of the USA, in New York City
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