Tea is one of the most versatile beverages around. Drink it hot or cold. Add sugar, cream, or lemon. It even comes in a wide variety of natural flavors—black, green, white, oolong. So many options, how do you decide which is the best tea?
People have been steeping tea leaves for what seems like forever. Actually, historians estimate various societies have been drinking some type of tea since 2700 B.C. Back then, the leaves were brewed primarily for medicinal applications. It’s believed people didn’t start consuming tea as an everyday beverage until the 3rd century. That’s also about the same time that the plants became a cultivated crop. Most teas continue to be harvested from China, Japan, and Taiwan as well as India and Sri Lanka.
Tea remains one of the most popular beverage choices around the world, beating out soda and coffee. The Tea Association of the USA estimates that nearly 80% of all American households have some form of tea in their pantries. It also reports that more than half of us drink tea every single day and have an electric tea kettle.
Good for you
While taste is a big reason why people choose tea, researchers have linked the beverage with many health benefits.
• No additives
On its own, tea (hot or cold) is devoid of sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar. It’s also extremely low in calories, at least until you sweeten it or add other flavorings.
Nutritionists promote these natural compounds because they’re shown to possess antioxidant properties that ward off free radicals, which doctors believe contribute to various chronic diseases.
• Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
Several studies have identified a relationship between regular consumption of black tea and lower occurrence of heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer. Other research confirms similar results with green tea and a reduced chance of death from cardiovascular disease.
• Brain boost
One of the positive side effects of a healthy heart is a healthy brain. However, scientists are looking closely at the L-theanine amino acid found in green tea. Without getting into the scientific nitty-gritty, it’s believed this component helps people stay calm under stressful situations. Other studies are examining how it might promote activity in the regions of the brain responsible for concentration and problem solving.
• Increased metabolism
Some of the newest research suggests natural flavonoids may boost one’s metabolism, and that means more effective calorie burns.
All this modern-day research, while interesting, seems to confirm what people have suspected for thousands of years: Tea not only tastes good; it’s good for you.
Dr. Oz has declared this dried fruit as a new superfood. Containing less sugar than many other fruits, the mulberry remains sweet tasting. Studies show that the berries are bursting with antioxidants that protect against heart disease. The mulberry also contains a compound that some researchers believe inhibits sugar digestion. According to Dr. Oz’s website, mulberry tea with meals could control blood sugar, which is beneficial to people with pre-diabetes or diabetes.
If you’ve ever been to Ireland, then chances are your recognize the red box of Barry’s Gold Blend. Its unique balance of tea leaves was perfected more than 100 years ago, and is among the most popular on the Emerald Isle.
This little box packs a punch of flavor for the classic cup of English tea. Each bag contains a collection of more than 30 teas thoughtfully selected at the height of the season from some of the best growing areas in Africa, India, and Sri Lanka.
If you like to experiment with flavors to suit your mood, then you’ll appreciate the variety offered in this tea collection. There are 20 different blends to select from—traditional Earl Grey to extravagant Blueberry Merlot. The unique pyramid silken infuser is designed to allow the leaves to gently relax in the hot water, amplifying their individual characteristics. The chest contains two pyramid infusers of each blend.