Tea & An Insight into Caffeine

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A tea plantation in Munnar, Kerala, India.

“Drinking a daily cup of tea, will surely starve the apothecary”

 –Chinese proverb 

The shrub Camellia Sinensis (seen in picture above) produces the same leaf that is used for black, white, green, oolong and pu-erh tea.


Here’s some benefits you’ll get from your brew;



🍡 Green tea has a number of benefits including anti-bacterial, digestion, tooth care, anti-aging, osteoporosis and cancer prevention.

πŸ’š Oolong tea can keep with slimming and heart health, anti-aging, anti-bacterial and digestion.

πŸ’› Pu-erh tea is best for slimming, but is also good for heart health, anti-aging and digestion.

β˜•οΈ Black tea also has many benefits including those above, but it’s best to drink it black or with lemon. When drinking it with milk the nutrients naturally found in tea will be diluted by the dairy proteins and the benefits will be lost.

🌱 Tea contains a compound called tannin which has antioxidant properties as well as anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties. Tannins also have well documented antimicrobial properties, effective against many bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

πŸ’• According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition there is the suggestion that long-term ingestion of tea could result in a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (based on consumption of green and black tea over 12 weeks) (1) . 

🌿 Having a herbal infusion is a fantastic way of ingesting the beneficial therapeutic properties in a subtle amount, while not having the side effects related to black tea. Seek and you shall find a plethora of ingredients ranging from fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers to tree bark -like the smokey flavoured Pau D’arco.

 

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Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the three main components of tea, the other two being polyphenols (including tannin) and aromatic or essential oils. It’s popularity is down to it being a stimulant, it has been shown to speed reaction time, increase alertness and improve concentration. 

The height of this chemical reaction can last from 15 to 45 minutes and after 6 hours the body has eliminated half of the caffeine (2). 

A word on caffeine however, although the Mayo Clinic (3) says that 400mg of caffeine is a safe amount for most healthy adults to drink daily, some may have a sensitivity to it causing a jittery feeling, nausea, headaches, or diarrhea after one cup of coffee (30-180mg).

You know your own body, so only drink what’s best for you, but too much can be toxic and have negative consequences on the nervous system, heart health, sleep, absorption of nutrients, immunity and hydration.

When pregnant or breastfeeding one should limit their caffeine intake as it can interfere with fetal development, lowering birth weight and possibly result in skeletal abnormalities. 


How much caffeine are you having each day?



Here is a listing of the caffeine content of beverages (5 oz, cup) (4)


Tea (black tea assumed)

Brewed, major U.S brand   20-80 mg.

Brewed, imported brands     25-110

Oolong           12-55

Green              8-36

Iced (12oz)     67-76

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Coffee

Drip                 60-180 mg. 

Percolator      40-70

Instant            30-120

Decaffeinated (brewed)    2-5

Decaffeinated (instant)     1-5

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Other

Hot cocoa                             2-20 mg. 

Coca Cola  (reg. or diet)     46 

Chocolate (dependent on strength of coca)                                      20-100 

*In raw chocolate (cacao) the caffeine content is even higher, so not advised for an evening treat, unless you want to stay up!

*Caffeine can also be hidden in drinks and food, especially those marketed to boost energy. 
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Tea is featured in my alphabet of wellbeing, the healthabet, find it on Instagram here



References



(1) Effects of tea intake on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, Gang Liu (a1), Xue-Nan Mi (a2), Xin-Xin Zheng (a1), Yan-Lu Xu (a1), Jie Lu, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/div-classtitleeffects-of-tea-intake-on-blood-pressure-a-meta-analysis-of-randomised-controlled-trialsdiv/AD10B8AF38E3184FCFDDC9778F833835

(2) All The Tea in China, Kit Chow & Ione Kramer, pg 95

(3) Caffeine: How much is too much?http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678

(4) All The Tea in China, Kit Chow & Ione Kramer, pg 97
 

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