Saturday, August 11, 2012
Tea; the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
"Tea is only tea, not medicine," the tea master told me, with an authoritative tone and heavy Korean accent, cutting off my attempt at a conversation about the health benefits of drinking tea.
He wasn't denying that tea has significant health properties but was pointing out that that's not the mind one should enjoy tea with. So, as long as we forget all this while making tea, maybe knowing the health benefits of tea will be an enticement to choose tea over a less healthy beverage in the future.
First of all, green tea has the highest concentration of catechin of any food, a type of flavonoid antioxidant amazing for fighting cancer, it's loaded with vitamin C, and has Riboflavin, vitamin B-12, and a healthy dose of fluoride. Green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and strengthen your bones. The balance of vitamins and minerals in green tea help the body absorb them easily, too.
There is also evidence that green tea can lower cholesterol, help burn fat, prevent diabetes and stroke, as well as stave off dementia.
In oolong and Puerh teas, the oxidation that occurs lowers the concentration of antioxidants, but it is only slightly. I've also noticed that bottled green teas tend to have a reddish tint, which means oxidation has occurred. Puerh tea actually develops living microorganisms, though, that are beneficial to your body. Puerh tea is good for soothing a sore throat and helps digestion, as well as keeps you warm in the winter.
There really isn't much about tea that's bad.
If you have problems with caffeine, then you might use caution.
In tea producing areas in China, studies revealed extremely low cancer rates, but one type of cancer that did show up was throat cancer. This wasn't so much from drinking tea as much as it was from drinking extremely hot tea. Puerh tea is prepared with boiling water and drunk quickly.
In the UK, studies revealed that drinking seven cups of tea a day may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Tea bushes are extremely sensitive to their environment, and the leaves are susceptible to absorbing pollutants from the air. This could become an issue in today's world...
Tea's flavour comes from its tannins, however the tannins are also what colours our teeth yellow.
When I asked my dentist about this, he said it doesn't actually dye your teeth but it dyes the dirt on your teeth but after time will soak into the teeth. So, if you brush your teeth shortly before or after drinking tea, it shouldn't turn your teeth yellow.