Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tea and Health

photo credit: KnitStorm via Flickr

Recently I stopped drinking coffee. Why, you ask? Well I wasn't a huge coffee drinker to begin with; although I did enjoy the caffeine buzz and roasted, chocolatey taste some blends could provide in the morning, I decided it was time for a change. My decision was based on a desire to start making healthier daily choices when it comes to my food and drink consumption. Sounds sexy, right? Actually, yes. Health is sexy! I decided to switch to tea, and I am so glad I did! This doesn't mean I might not indulge in the odd cappuccino from time to time, after all, coffee does have its health benefits. According to Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic, "coffee may have benefits such as protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer". I just decided it was time to start drinking tea on a more regular basis, to enhance my overall health and explore new tea tastes.

So my "tea-only" adventure begins. I decided to start with the teas I already have on hand, and I am definitely looking forward to discovering new and different teas in the future. So far I've been enjoying the following: Japanese Sencha, Chai, Rooibos, Green Matcha and Green Mint.I'm not really that new to tea. My tea-ducation began when I was working at WholeFoods. Prior to that, tea for me meant Tetley with milk and honey, which is still tasty, but until I served loose leaf tea to the Yorkville elite, I never knew the plethora of teas that existed in the world. Every job teaches you something, and the education I received at Whole Foods was wonderful. We sold mainly Rishi teas and I have kept their information sheet all this time as it really breaks down the health benefits of different types of teas. I understand that this information is also provided to help sell Rishi tea, so I will go on record to say that I don't have any proof of these health claims, but I choose to accept them with blind faith. Here is what Rishi says about tea and health:

White Tea

  • contains cancer-fighting anti-oxidants
  • cooling and detoxifying
  • has the lowest content of caffeine found in all teas
  • anti-aging and anti-stress properties
  • high L-theanine amino acid content promotes longevity and concentration

Green Tea

  • highest content of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants
  • antiseptic and anti-viral effects: kills oral bacteria that can lead to colds and flu
  • fights degenerative diseases and supports immune system function
  • strengthens tooth enamel and fights bad breath
  • potent source of vitamins and minerals
  • effective for slimming and weight loss

Oolong Tea

  • high content of tea polysaccharides
  • lowers cholestorol and blood sugar
  • high content of anti-oxidants
  • strengthens tooth enamel
  • potent source of vitamins and minerals
  • effective for slimming and weight loss

Black Tea

  • heart health: black tea can help prevent heart attacks
  • helps prevent plaque build-up in arteries
  • increases bone density
  • oral health: kills bacteria in mouth that can cause cavities
  • fights bad breath

Pu-erh Tea

  • perhaps the most effective tea for slimming and weight loss
  • helps metabolize fatty acids and oily foods
  • believed to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • cleansing and detoxifying to the bloodstream

Other General Benefits

  • promotes mental clarity and alertness
  • stimulates neural activity and improves learning function
  • provides even, sustained energy and sound rest
  • much lower caffeine content than coffee
  • strengthens immune system and has anti-stress properties
  • cleansing, detoxifying and longevity promoting

For the record, I don't represent Rishi, I just really enjoy their teas, and I found that this bit of information was helpful for providing a quick look at how tea can improve or sustain one's health. I remember everyone going crazy for the Oolong teas and the Jasmine Silver Needle, but my favourites were Peach Blossom (white tea) and the Green Mint. And who can forget those delicious matcha lattes?

Once I go through my stock of tea, I'm looking forward to seeing what my local tea shops can offer. I am already happy to know that the local cafe sells Tealish's amazing looseleaf teas, so you know I'll be trying more of those. What are some of your favourite teas that I should try? I'm up for suggestions! And don't forget to read all about Tealish and their fabulous teas here!

To your health,


  1. Let me know what discoveries you make!

    I stopped drinking coffee on a regular basis after Christmas. It was a well-being decision. I am not a fanatic coffee lover but I certainly did not mind. The problem is that the taste gives me headache.

    And the problem is not caffeine. Decaf has the same effect.

    I now drink peppermint herbal tea all the time now. First, I just love it and second, I no longer have headaches around 10-11 in the morning.

    I take 1 or 2 coffee a week now, usually during the weekend. Half a cup or just a shot of espresso (however, I've been lured to Bridgehead a few times lately and a macchiato does not give me headaches).

    When it comes to tea per say, I usually go for black tea, Earl Gray or English Breakfast.

    The other herbal tea I enjoy is hibiscus, available at Bridgehead (I don't work for them! Just enjoy their products a lot).

  2. After much research, I have found there is no tea healthier than matcha green tea powder

  3. Thanks for joining the conversation, Marc-Andre and Olivia! I definitely need to look into those Bridgehead teas, I've heard a lot of great things. Yes, matcha green tea powder is amazing! That is what we used to make our soy matcha lattes at Whole Foods :) Yum!

  4. I think I will try the peppermint herbal-great post

    Tracey G

  5. I love your depth of research with every topic you explore Heather...always an education AND entertainment to read your blog.

  6. Hi Heather! I thought you deserved this award: