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Posts Tagged ‘Tea’

A designated “day” seems to exist for everything imaginable. June 10, 2016 is National Iced Tea Day.

The history of tea goes back some 5,000 years. Recipes for cold spiked punches, made mostly from green tea, surfaced in the late 1700s. Nearly 100 years later, recipes of the iced tea we love today appeared in cookbooks. While iced tea is great unsweetened, early versions were mostly sweetened and often served  with lemon.

Iced tea became a national favorite after Richard Blechynden, a tea merchant, decided on a hot day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis to distribute free iced tea instead of his usual hot tea. This iced beverage immediately became a hit and has become one of the most popular drinks around the world. Some 85 percent of tea drinkers want theirs iced.

Celebrate this national day with a tall glass of refreshing and healthful iced tea.

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Are you a candidate for cancer? People may take precautions yet still succumb to this awful disease. While the last blog looked at ways to avoid becoming a statistic, many questions remain. One study rarely paints a clear picture of what helps and what hurts in the prevention process. Below are recent research findings about nutrients to help discern what is best for you.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants are known to block the activity of harmful substances called free radicals. Because of this action, many tout that antioxidants ward off malignancy. Numerous foods, especially fruits, offer an abundance of antioxidants in the diet.

Grapes and grape juice: Grapes and grape juice contain high quantities of the potent antioxidants polyphenols and resveratrol. In animal studies, resveratrol prevented cell and tissue damage known to trigger the cancer process. Additionally, resveratrol slowed cancer cell growth and inhibited the formation of tumors in lymph, liver, stomach, and breast cells. It also triggered death of leukemic and colon cancer tumors and blocked development of skin, breast, and leukemia cancers at all stages of the disease.

Supplements: According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidant supplements haven’t proven effective in reducing the risk of developing or in dying from cancer. In fact, evidence suggested that excessive antioxidant supplements may increase the risk of certain cancers. According to recent studies, vitamin E supplements increased possibilities for prostate cancer. Mortality rates increased for those who took supplemental beta carotene and vitamins A and E.

Fruits: Many fruits have benefits in addition to antioxidants that may effectively protect against cancer. Apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries are high in fiber and vitamin C. These fruits may help prevent colon cancer and probably lower risks of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, lungs, and stomach cancer. See additional information at this site of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Cruciferous vegetables: This vegetable group (bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, radishes, turnips, and others) once strongly linked to preventing lung, colorectal, stomach, breast, prostate and other cancers, may be less effective than previously thought. Newer research failed to substantiate earlier relationships. However, these vegetables are high in nutrients and antioxidants and may in the future provide a link to combating cancer. In animal studies, broccoli and tomatoes—which are high in the antioxidant lycopene—reduced tumor growth in prostate cancer.

Teas: This beverage has the antioxidant catechin which may cut cancer risk. Green tea contains more catechin than does black tea. Green tea extracts may lower the risk of prostate cancer. While some studies found that oral cancer benefitted from tea, other studies failed to find the same association. Therefore, studies related to tea and cancer are inconclusive and need additional study.

Vitamin D and Calcium: Vitamin D lowers risks for colorectal cancer. Adequate blood serum levels of vitamin D cut total cancer incidents and mortality. However over a seven-year period, the Woman’s Health Initiative found that healthy women who took vitamin D and calcium supplements did not improve their chance of avoiding colorectal cancer. High intakes of calcium—greater than 1,500 milligrams/day—increased the risk for prostate cancer but results may have occurred because of lower vitamin D2 levels.

Modifying the diet may affect your risk of cancer. As researchers point out, diet alone is unreliable. However, it is one factor you can control to help you remain cancer free.

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Finally, someone designated a month just for my taste. January is National Hot Tea Month. The Duchess of Bedford in 1840 initiated the afternoon tea to ward off “that sinking feeling.” I can attest to that. Nothing quiets my soul like settling down in the late afternoon with Earl Grey to whisk away worries of the day.

My love for hot tea spans more decades than I will admit, but the joy of such a respite goes back centuries. Drinking tea, credited to a Chinese Emperor, began nearly 5,000 years ago.

Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world other than water. Not all teas are the same nor do they offer equal health benefits. Black, green, oolong, and more recently white tea, come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea, the most popular tea for Americans, claims 87% of the market. Its fermented leaves produce a rich full color and flavor. Oolong, rarely seen in America, is mildly fermented. The astringent flavored green tea and the sweet, silky, delicate-favored white tea aren’t fermented.

Herbal teas differ from what we call true tea. Herbal teas come from the leaves, fruits, or flowers of other plants. They contain no caffeine nor do they possess the same healthful qualities of the tea plant.

One tea bag of black tea has slightly less caffeine (about 40 milligrams) than a 12-ounce cola and about half as much as coffee. Caffeine in green tea is about half that of black tea, and white tea contains even less than green tea. One decaffeinated tea bag has about 2 milligrams of caffeine.

If you drink tea every day, it may keep you healthier in several ways. While earlier research touted healthfulness of green tea, black tea also promotes physical well-being, and white tea may contribute greater advantages because of its plentiful supply of antioxidants. Benefits attributed to tea include:

  • Decreased serum cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides
  • Reduced risks of heart disease and stroke
  • Lowered risks of cancer including certain skin, colon, ovarian, and oral cancers
  • Improved immune function
  • Increased bone mineral density (BMD) which may lead to protecting women from osteoporosis
  • Decreased incidence of dental cavities
  • Reduced risk of kidney stones.

While you flatter your palate and celebrate the virtues of hot tea, bask in the thought of improved health. As the Apostle John wrote, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you” (3 John 1:2). Start today with a  cup of steaming hot tea. Enjoy!

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