Drinking tea daily is an enjoyable and easy way to promote better health and help reduce the risk of a number of health conditions including cancer, heart disease, and premature skin ageing.
Here are 6 important things you should know when buying and brewing tea, to get the most out of your tea.
Buy organic tea:
Choosing organic tea is much better for your health and that of the environment. The tea plant absorbs pesticides readily, so choosing to buy organic means no hidden nasties in your healthy cup of tea. When purchasing organic tea look for certified organic bud logo to ensure the organic integrity of your tea. If more people choose to buy organic tea more farmers will be encouraged to grow it, which means less toxic chemicals on and in our tea and less harm to the earth.
Chemicals in Tea Bags:
Unfortunately, a lot of tea companies still use bleached tea bags. When tea bags are bleached with chlorine, toxic substances such as dioxins can be formed which end up in your cuppa. When dioxins are consumed they are absorbed into fat cells in the body, were they can stay for up to 11 years.
These chemicals can potentially cause reproductive and developmental problems, along with disrupt the immune system, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Breastfeeding mothers can also pass on dioxins to their baby through breastmilk and during pregnancy across the placenta.
Silk pyramid infusers are made from materials such as petrochemical based nylon, PVC, rayon, polypropolene and thermoplastic, which when immersed in boiling water may release potentially harmful chemicals into your healthful brew.
If you like the convenience of tea bags look for tea in unbleached bags or natural biodegradable pyramid infusers.
Full Leaf Tea:
Tea bags might be convenient and cheaper but they can also lack quality and taste. The size of your tea leaf can affect the taste of your tea.
Traditional tea bags, due to their limited space, often contain lower grade, smaller pieces of tea ‘dust’ or ‘fannings’ that are left over from when higher grades of tea are gathered.
Full, young leaves are considered higher quality than broken, mature tea leaves.
When you brew full leaf loose tea there is plenty of room for the leaves to unfurl and move about freely in the water, which results in a more full-flavoured, richer tea.
You can also reuse your loose leaf tea and re-brew it 2-3 times, which will bring out other subtle flavours. As tea used for tea bags don’t unfurl they are not great re-brewed.
Add lemon to your tea:
Clinical studies have linked green tea consumption to the prevention of a number of different types of cancer including breast, colon, lung, and stomach. Scientists have recently discovered that adding lemon rind to your cuppa can give your tea an extra anti-cancerous boost, significantly reducing the risk of skin cancer, according to a study published in BMC Dermatology. Citrus rind contains a compound called d-limone, which have cancer protective properties. D-limonene and tea pholyphenols (catechins) have potent antioxidant action together which helps destroy cell damaging free radicals.
Best way to brew green tea:
Green tea should be brewed at around 70*C. Steeping tea for too long or using boiling water will result in more tannins being released, resulting in a bitter and more astringent tea. Green tea only needs to be steeped for 2-3 minutes. There are two ways to make sure your water is not too hot, either stop the kettle just before it boils, or pour boiling water into your tea cup or pot first to allow it to cool a little before adding your tea.
Stop breakfast blood sugar spikes:
A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research showed that drinking the equivalent of 1 ½ cups of green tea with a starchy meal can help control rises in blood sugar levels. Breakfast time is usually when we eat a lot of starchy foods such as cereals and breads, so having a green tea with your breakfast would be beneficial. You have to drink your tea simultaneously with your breakfast and without added sugar to get the blood sugar lowering effect.
Lisa Guy is a popular Sydney based naturopath who has been practicing for 16 years.
Lisa has recently created her own organic wellness tea range which contains a variety of beautiful, unique tea blends that help promote good health and wellbeing.