Tea For Two. Tea For All

I love tea. It is by far one of the top beverages I grab and one which has several amazing benefits for body and mind.

I’ve enjoyed comforting cups of tea long before stores like Distinctly Tea, Teaopia, The Red Teapot, and All Things Tea, catering to everything tea related, began popping up everywhere. Today, these specialty stores are filling a need for the increasing popularity of drinking tea.

Tea is no longer “Grandma’s beverage,” even though my tea drinking days were initiated by my Grandma and I have been referred to as a tea Granny and a tea totaller: tea attracts and benefits people of all ages–even kids.

When you hear the word “antioxidants,” what do you think of first? Fruits and vegetables. However, tea is bursting with antioxidants and in fact more than fruits and vegetables combined. Tea, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is the one of the best sources of antioxidants in any diet. Antioxidants are the compounds which neutralize harmful and damaging free radicals which over time are believed to contribute to the development of diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Additional research has shown that even through the consumption of fruits and vegetables are important in any diet, loose leaves contain very high levels of antioxidants. In only two cups (coffee mugs, that is) of tea, there is the equivalent of seven glasses of orange juice or (make sure you’re sitting down for this) 20 glasses of apple juice.

And just as there are numerous varieties of coffee available, the same goes for tea.

Colourful tea (image courtesy "Haneburger" via Wikimedia Commons)

Black tea is what most people would think of when it comes to tea, but consider the rich and luscious green, white, oolong, roobios (pronounced Roy-Boss), matcha or yerba mate teas that are also available–and not to mention Earl Grey and Darjeeling.

Wendy Behenna, an independent consultant at Distinctly [Distinctively] Tea in Waterloo notes that there are more than 350 kinds of loose-leaf tea in the store to choose from. These are made from the various types of tea and blended with a wide variety of flowers, spices, fruit, herbs, roots, and other plants and herbs. All of them are carefully combined to make a tea experience uniquely delicious, calming, and healthy. It’s a far cry from dozen kinds at the local grocery store.

As for it’s particular health benefits, it has been said that next to water, tea is the healthiest beverage you can consume. To demystify a popular misapprehension that tea has more caffeine than coffee, tea in fact has only one-third to one-half the amount of caffeine in an equivalent amount of coffee.

As for kids and tea, there has been controversy in and around children consuming tea and the caffeine it contains as impeding growth and development. Rooibos tea and fruit teas are both caffeine-free and can offer positive health benefits that assist with digestive problems, headaches, nausea, insomnia, allergies and colic. Incidentally, ice tea (and homemade really is better) has the same benefits as your favourite cup of hot tea.

Don’t know where to start? There are even tea parties to get you going. Behenna suggests “Tea & Me Parties” in which you can host a party at your home or the at store. It’s a relaxing and fun way to learn about the many health benefits while sampling various teas before buying the kinds you “think” you might like but haven’t tried. Think of it as a tea test-drive, for a beverage that is a year-round, antioxidant-rich, and healthy and delicious.

Steeping Tea’s Benefits:

  • Reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure
  • Improves concentration, focus and increases alertness
  • Lowers cholesterol and increases metabolism
  • Eliminates indigestion
  • Fights fatigue
  • Improves both urinary and brain functions
  • Helps reduce the risk of arthritis, diabetes, neurodegenetive disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Boosts immune system and burns calories
  • Relaxes the mind and reduces stress
  • Therapeutic effect on gastric or intestine illness

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Melissa Martz has been a freelance writer since 2007 and a nanny since 1997. Her work has appeared in more than 25 publications including Abilities, Horse Canada, Parents Canada, and local magazines such as MOST Waterloo Region and Golf Waterloo Region.  She is also the Seminar Co-ordinator for The Waterloo Region Family Network.

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