Tea - Drink To Your Health - Caffeine In Tea

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Author Linda Stradley
Article by Linda Stradley of What's Cooking America.
 

Whether it's drunk hot or cold, did you know that tea is one of the best things you can drink?

It is the second most consumed beverage after water.

Tea drinking has been claimed to have health benefits for centuries, but only in recent years have doctors conducted studies to see if the claims are justified.

 

cup of tea

Considering the amount of tea drunk around the world every day, the news that the drink can be good for you is welcome indeed. Recent research has indicated that drinking tea as part of a healthy diet and life style can help maintain a healthy body including a healthy heart.

The value of tea may be due, in part, to its antioxidants. Like fruit and vegetables, tea is rich in antioxidants. (In tea these are known as flavonoids). Antioxidants in the diet may help the body in its management of free radicals – highly reactive substances capable of causing damage to body cells.

If that's not enough to convince you that tea is worth trying, take a look at some of these fast facts. Green and black teas offer the same health benefits. Many people don't realize that black and green tea contain virtually the same amount of antioxidants. In fact, whether hot or cold, bottled or using a bag, tea is probably the healthiest drink around.

Drinking four cups of tea is rehydrating – not dehydrating as is often said – unless the amount of tea consumed at one sitting contains more than 250mg of caffeine (the equivalent of five cups of tea).

According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, tea provides a few tips to get the most out of tea-drinking:

Drinking a cup of tea a few times a day to absorb antioxidants and other healthful plant compounds. In green-tea drinking cultures, the usual amount is three cups per day.

Allow tea to steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins.

The best way to get the catechins and other flavonoids in tea is to drink it freshly brewed. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds.

Tea can impede the absorption of iron from fruits and vegetables. Adding lemon or milk or drinking tea between meals will counteract this problem.

Tea contains fluoride, which has a well-established link to dental health. Studies have shown that tea can provide up to 70% of the fluoride you need. It's also thought that antioxidants in tea may help inhibit the growth of the bacteria that cause plaque.

Tea without milk and sugar has virtually no calories. And in hot weather, it seems refreshing. This may be because it can raise your body temperature and momentarily cause an increase in perspiration, which cools the skin.

Teas such as Lipton are made from tea leaves rich in natural antioxidants, plus other good stuff your body loves. As for the taste, with a range covering hot and cold teas, and green and black varieties, it boosts your taste buds, as well as your well being.


 



Facts on Caffeine in Tea

Decaffeinated tea is not caffeine free. It still contains up to .4% by dry weight caffeine content.

The longer the tea leaves have fermented, the greater their caffeine content.

The smaller the tea leaf, the stronger the extraction of caffeine.

The first and second leaves of the tea plant are believed to contain the largest amount of caffeine at 3.4 %.

 

*Caffeine content (Ref.: International Food Information Council, All About Tea by William H. Ukers)

Type of Tea

Milligrams of Caffeine

Caffeine

Avg Per Serving Range Per Ounce*

Black tea
 

40 25-55 5.

naturally caffeinated

Oolong tea
 

30 12-55 3.75

naturally caffeinated  somewhat less than black tea

Green tea
 

20 8-30 2.5

naturally caffeinated  somewhat less than oolong tea,

White tea
 

15 6-25 2.

naturally caffeinated  somewhat less than green tea

Decaffeinated tea
 

2 1-4 .5

Caused from removing most of the caffeine from black, oolong, green, or white tea

Herbal "tea"
 

0 0 0.

Naturally caffeine free


Does Tea Contain More Caffeine Than Coffee?

Tea has only 1/2 to 1/3 as much caffeine as coffee when you compare them cup for cup.  In dry form, coffee actually has less then tea in dry form.  Next time you brew that pot of coffee, consider how much less your brewed cup of tea will have.  Unless of course you consume your tea dry. (Ref.: Caffeine by The Institute of Food Technologists' Expert Panel on Food Safety & Nutrition.)


What Determines Caffeine Levels?

The amount of caffeine in tea depends on a number of things,  the variety of tea leaf, where it is grown, size and cut of the tea leaf, and how you brew or steep as well as how long. Studies from the Caffeine Institute also show that caffeine levels can vary depending on the location of the tea leaf on the plant. (Ref.: Caffeine by The Institute of Food Technologists' Expert Panel on Food Safety & Nutrition, All About Tea by William H. Ukers)

 




Tea for Beauty

Don't toss your morning tea bag, put them in a plastic baggy in the refrigerator and use them:

  • On your eyes to relieve puffiness or freshen them up after a late night.

  • Brunettes, use a rinse of black tea for rich dark shine to your hair.

  • Blondes can use a rinse of Chamomile tea to bring out your natural highlights

  • For a temporary look of summer sun kissed skin without the UV rays, you can brew up a bath of plain black tea and soak for 20 minutes.

  • After washing your face, uses a cool tea rinse to help with acne.  Tea has great astringent properties.


 



Cooking with Teas


You can use herbal teas for a unique  delicious and healthy seasonings. 
 

You can use the tea dry or brew it to liquid form to use as a marinade. The good news about using herbal tea for seasoning, there are no calories or fat and tea is cheaper then most spices that you buy at the store.
 

Herbal teas are not actually from tea leaves, but are a blend of herbs an spices that create wonderful aromas and colors.


When you use true teas in cooking, they are made from dried tea leaves, and should be brewed and used in liquid form with your recipes.

 

Check out What's Cooking America's Cook Store for your tea making items: Tea Bag Storage Boxes,


 




The Legendary Origins of Tea

The story of tea began in ancient China over 5,000 years ago.

According to legend, Shen Nung, an early emperor was a skilled ruler, creative scientist and patron of the arts. His far-sighted edicts required, among other things, that all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution.

One summer day while visiting a distant region of his realm, he and the court stopped to rest. In accordance with his ruling, the servants began to boil water for the court to drink. Dried leaves from the near by bush fell into the boiling water, and a brown liquid was infused into the water.

As a scientist, the Emperor was interested in the new liquid, drank some, and found it very refreshing. And so, according to legend, tea was created.

This myth maintains such a practical narrative, that many mythologists believe it may relate closely to the actual events, now lost in ancient history.
 

 


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