Being British, I am a keen tea drinker but what are the health implications of drinking tea every day and how safe is the whole process of producing and packaging tea? We do need to know because tea is the most most consumed beverage in the world - after water.
My own experience
In my own pantry cupboard, you will find Twinings English Breakfast Tea and the South African produced Rooibos Tea
. I have these two because I like to think they are safer to drink.
What about safety issues and tea?
On the question of safety, you might not realize that tea leaves are never washed from the time they are picked to the time they end up in your teapot or mug, meaning any chemicals sprayed on the leaves end up in your brew. This makes organic certification more important than ever.
Unfortunately, modern day tea is nothing like the tea of the past because of pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavors and of course the dreaded GMOs. This last one comes into play when the corn-based tea bag material is used by some tea companies. They claim that the bags are biodegradable but, if they are made of GMOs in the first place, consumers are given a false sense of security. And there is more to learn about packaging. Some brands promote their silky sachets and luxurious mesh bags for holding loose leaf teas but sadly, these are made of plastic and not what we would want coming into contact with our tea when we add boiling water.
What is epichlorohydrin?
This is a chemical and many tea bags made of paper are manufactured with epichlorohydrin, a compound used in the manufacture of plastics and used as an insecticide. And it gets worse because when it mixes with water (tea is steeped or brewed in boiling water) it becomes a greater concern because of the cancer causing 3-MCPD it produces. The best way to find out if your particular brand of tea uses tea bags manufactured with epichlorohydrin is to call and ask - or change to loose tea. One tea company that promotes safe tea bags is the Bigelow Tea Company.
What about fluoride in your water supply?
Fluoride can also be a problem. If you live in an area where the local water supply is fluoridated, you might be putting this water straight into your kettle if you don't have a water filtration system that eliminates the fluoride. Many people are unaware that fluoride is a dangerous toxin
, believing instead that it helps to keep their teeth cavity free.
Why do so many enjoy their cup of tea?
It could be that tea has so many uses:
- Tea in the morning wakes you up, supports creativity and encourages moving forward.
- Tea later in the morning or at noon relaxes, renews and purifies while aiding digestion.
- Tea in the evening relaxes us after a hard day, calms while offering a sense of peace and satisfaction to help guarantee a good night's sleep.
The seasons are important too:
- In winter, tea is warm and relaxing, a real comfort.
- In summer, tea is refreshing and reduces perspiration - actually cooling to the system when the weather is hot.
How should tea be stored?
Tea absorbs moisture and kitchen smells. To keep your tea fresh and avoid spoiling the flavor, keep loose tea or teabags in a sealed jar or tin.
How to make a good pot of tea?
- Tea loves oxygen – it helps the flavor develop, so always use freshly drawn, pure filtered cold water in the kettle.
- Warm a clean teapot by swirling a small amount of boiled water in it.
- For black tea, only pour on freshly boiled water and do not over-boil it.
- For green tea, always use the water just at the boil.
- One teaspoon of loose tea per person and one teaspoon for the pot is about right, but add as much or as little to make it to the strength you like.
- Some people believe that sugar masks the flavors in tea. Why not try a fruit tea if you prefer a sweeter taste?
- An old fashioned tea cosy extends the brewing time and can make the tea bitter and stewed. A removable infuser or teabags can help to get round this problem.
How long should a teabag or loose tea brew?
It is recommended allowing a teabag to brew for 2.5 to 3 minutes for the flavor to fully develop. Then add milk or lemon or enjoy it black, whatever your preference. Loose tea should brew in a teapot for up to 7 minutes, remembering that the larger the leaf, the longer the brewing time. Enjoy your cup of tea but first make sure that the tea you have chosen to drink, and the water you use to make it, are as safe as possible. Sources: https://healthmad.com/nutrition/the-hidden-health-risks-of-tea-bags/#ixzz2gP4u4DGe https://foodbabe.com/2013/08/21/do-you-know-whats-really-in-your-tea/