Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Wonders of Tea: Home-Brewed, and a Bottled Tea I Like

I've been a tea drinker all my life, and couldn't appreciate coffee at all until I reached my 30s. To this day, I brew a pot of loose-leaf black tea every morning -- there are no tea bags in my pantry, but many tins of various black tea leaves. I love to buy tea on my travels, especially at famous teahouses such as those in Paris or Boulder CO. But the main sources for my breakfast teas are Essencha Teahouse and Tea Shop in Oakley (Cincinnati) or the terrific mail-order tea supplier, Upton Tea
Being such a purist, I haven't tried bottled teas very often, and those that did pass my lips were nothing special.
Recently, however, I learned about Ohio-based Tradewinds bottled tea, operating out of Carlisle, just south of Dayton. They make eight flavors of iced tea, from sweet tea to lemonade tea, raspberry tea, unsweetened tea and green tea with honey. To my surprise, my favorite so far has been the green tea (which also comes in diet). It tastes like honey, not green tea -- which I don't care for, as a rule.
Most of the sweetened teas have 70 calories per serving; however, as is often the case with bottled drinks, the fine print on the bottle confesses that it contains 2.5 servings, so I wouldn't drink the whole thing at once. 
Here's some information about the health benefits of tea (source: Tea Association of the U.S.)

Tea contains flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, which scientists believe, over time, damage elements in the body, such as genetic material and lipids, and contribute to chronic disease.
Recent research has explored the potential health attributes of tea through studies in humans and animal models, and through in vitro laboratory research. For the most part, studies conducted on Green and Black Tea, which are both from the Camellia sinensis plant, have yielded similar results. Recent research suggests that tea and tea flavonoids may play important roles in various areas of health and may operate through a number of different mechanisms still being explored. Recent findings include:
  • The antioxidant properties of tea flavonoids may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing lipid oxidation1 , reducing the instances of heart attacks and stroke2,3, and may beneficially impact blood vessel function , an important indicator of cardiovascular health.
  • Tea flavonoids may lower the risk of certain cancers by inhibiting the oxidative changes in DNA from free radicals and some carcinogens1. Tea may also promote programmed cell death, or apoptosis5, and inhibit the rate of cell division, thereby decreasing the growth of abnormal cells1.
  • Tea-drinking has been associated with oral health6 and bone health7.
  • Compounds in tea other than flavonoids have been shown to support the human immune system8.

1 comment:

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