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Archives for the ‘Tea Health News’ Category

February is American Heart Month

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Thanks to Rushing for Life for the Image

Between your sweetheart and your own heart, February was a busy month. The American Heart Association wants you to keep your heart healthy and so do we! According to a study by the Boston University School of Medicine, “A new study finds a strong link between drinking black tea and arterial health in people who have heart disease.” We’ve even mentioned before that black tea has been shown to reverse abnormal functioning of blood vessels.

Need even more proof that you should be drinking tea? According to studies, hibiscus tea is also associated with some cardiovascular benefits. “Data supports the idea that drinking hibiscus tea…may play a role in controlling blood pressure.” Check here for a full list of our teas that contain hibiscus.

As the leading cause of death in both men and women, cardiovascular disease will cost an estimated $475.3 billion in 2009! These terrifying statistics are what make it so important to take care of your body from the inside out. We’ve talked a lot about heart-healthy lifestyles and the important role tea can play. The list of health benefits associated with drinking tea continues to grow without any known side effects that come along with most medications.

If you want to take a more active role in keeping your ticker ticking (and really, who wouldn’t?) check out the American Heart Association’s Heart Profilers service! Now, think with your heart and go pour yourself a cup of black or hibiscus tea! Or even better, share some with a loved one. Your heart will thank you!

Sip, or even Gargle, Tea to fight the Flu this Season!

The USA has already had some record cold snaps this winter, and the 2009 Flu/Cold season is well under way. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there will be more than 200,000 Americans affected by the flu or influenza this year. So what can one do? Can hot tea every day keep the doctor away?

Published research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University found that drinking tea containing high concentrations of the amino acid L-theanine may help strengthen the body’s immune system response. “The health benefits of tea have been touted for centuries…” said lead author Jack Bukowski, (MD, PhD) “…now we have a new explanation for the medicinal effect of tea. Our research suggests that when tea drinkers become exposed to germs, some may be protected from getting sick,” Bukowski, (also of Harvard Medical School), wrote “…importantly, those who do become ill, may develop a milder infection compared to non tea drinkers, indicates that theanine, an ingredient found naturally in tea, supports the immune system”. A cup of tea contains an average of 20-25 mg of theanine.

Other studies even suggest that gargling tea may bolster your efforts to fight the flu. In one study, participants who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice daily were more immune to the flu virus than those who didn’t. Sounds good — but drinking a nice cup of tea sounds much better! To help keep fighting the flu/cold season a warming experience, Bigelow Tea has many tasty suggestions at the ready. With this record-setting winter, prevention has never been so good!

Tea and Yogurt, Together at Last

With food combinations flying all over the place, it was only a matter of time before tea and yogurt began holding hands. With developers constantly searching for ways to improve the healthy attributes already present in yogurt, tea will prove to be an excellent choice as a tasty and inherently healthy coupling.

There were, however, some hurdles to vault in the development of the new yogurt with added tea. The creators needed to know that the tea wouldn’t have a negative impact on the cultures that make the yogurt healthy already. Luckily, they found that, “[r]esults indicated that the presence of the tea did not affect the characteristic microorganisms of the yogurt during refrigerated storage for six weeks at four degrees Celsius […] Moreover, no effect on lactic acid levels was observed after addition of the teas.” The developers are anticipating using both green and black tea.

As we have discussed at length here, green tea and black tea have numerous health benefits connected with them, which will only serve to make these savoury combinations that much more beneficial to you.

So, now that your mouth is watering thinking about this wonderful concoction, allow me to amp it up a notch. Feel free to check out the Green Tea Fruit Medley Smoothie with Yogurt recipe to really please that palate of yours.

Urban Tea Legends!

Legend is that tea began in ancient China 5,000 years ago. Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor issued an edict requiring that drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution. One summer day some dried leaves from a bush fell into a pot of boiling water at the palace, and tea was created. Certainly sounds plausible…but 5,000 years later can you believe the urban legends about tea going around?

We’ve all heard some urban legends (no, not Keith Urban!), those sometimes plausible-sounding but false stories on your e-mail and all across the web. Well, there are several tea urban legends too, like on hot summer days you can cool off with hot tea — it makes sweat, cooling your skin. But it’s not so. For one reason the heat lost by sweating and evaporation on the skin is exceeded by the heat gained by the hot drink.

Another urban tea legend is that tea is a diuretic, which does not have to be true. Tea does not have a diuretic effect due to caffeine unless the amount of tea consumed at one sitting is more than 250–300 mg caffeine, or between five and six cups. In fact, the British Dietetic Association advises that “Tea is not dehydrating. It is a healthy drink.” And the popular belief is that water is the best for hydration, but tea has additional positive benefits over water.

And the myth that tea contains as much or more caffeine than coffee? It’s the contrary; according to the American Dietetic Association, a cup of tea averages 40 mg of caffeine, compared to 85 plus mg found in a cup of brewed coffee. So enjoy that cup of tea, it’s refreshing and healthful, and that’s no legend.

Rachael Ray Drinks Oolong and Thinks You Should, Too!

It should come as no surprise that Rachael Ray may lose her voice from time to time. After all, the recently turned 40-year-old celebrity has her own talk show. After a doctor’s visit she learned that she had damaged her vocal cords. What’s her cure? In addition to some other treatments, “she has been…downing herbal tea”.

Rachael Ray
Photo Courtesy of Usmagazine.com

However that’s not the only reason she drinks tea. She has used her talk show as a platform to rave about new research linking oolong tea to weight loss. She admitted to drinking oolong everyday in a successful effort to shed some pounds. According to the Journal of Nutrition, a study performed showed that “oolong tea stimulated energy expenditure and fat oxidation”. They do however note that these results were based on the chronic consumption of tea and a normal diet. Oolong tea has even been associated with possibly increasing longevity. Want to try for yourself? Get your own oolong today!

Last Call…for Tea

Not only does tea improve concentration, counteract chronic dry mouth, and counteract symptoms associated with a myriad of far more serious health problems facing individuals, a few London pubs have turned to tea to help calm the masses at closing time.

Bars in London will give away free tea to help subdue patrons at last call, and “stagger the closing time surge for cabs home.” Herbal tea is known for its calming effects, and the addition of tea to one’s diet can help with head and stomach aches. Perhaps the late night pub-goers would benefit from a cup or two in the morning as well, especially after all the holiday parties.

Hibiscus: More than just a pretty flower

Hibiscus has been used for a long time by many different cultures for various reasons. According to Wikipedia, “Hibiscus, especially white hibiscus, is considered to have medicinal properties in the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda. Roots make various concoctions believed to cure various ailments” and has been used by the Mexicans for people “with kidney problems [; they] often take it without adding sugar for its beneficial properties and as a natural diuretic.” Natives from Okinawa are known to associate hibiscus tea with longevity and the hibiscus flower is used in nearly all traditional dances in Hawaii.

Beyond simply having a pleasant flavor, teas with added hibiscus can offer a vast array of health benefits. When hibiscus is grouped together with other ingredients blended into the tea itself, it creates a concoction that is beneficial on various different levels, all of them delicious and good for you. For example, green tea has been known to have an incredible array of health benefits as well as black tea. The blending of two or more of these ingredients only serves to make that cup in your hand that much more important.

Bigelow offers many different teas with hibiscus added. Can you guess which ones they are?

Cinnamon Apple Herbal Tea — which is a great choice for the holidays — All Natural Organic Moroccan Mint, and Organic Green Tea with Pomegranate are just a few.

For more answers to this frequently asked question: Which Bigelow herbal teas include hibiscus? go here.

How My Mother Dealt With Cancer Treatment Through a Healthy Diet

A little over a year ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. With the help of quick-working surgeons and a wonderful oncologist, she was able to have a lumpectomy 30 days after her original diagnosis and began her chemotherapy a few days before Christmas.

My mother is a very intelligent and strong woman. She knew that she was heading into some tougher times, but she knew those times would be dealt with much easier if she had the proper tools. Her massive support system was a huge aid, but she also found some helpful hints in A Dietitian’s Cancer Story. She had done a ton of reading, and had listened carefully to her oncologist regarding her diet and some things that she could do to keep her immune system strong and energy levels high. As it is constantly mentioned on this site, green tea is incredible (it’s even better when accompanied by a great antioxidant). The book seconded this and gave her a great recipe for a green tea shake, which she tried and loved. Throughout her chemotherapy, she drank a lot of tea to help boost her immune system. I can personally attest to the fact that it worked wonders.

After her chemotherapy, she had to go through radiation treatments. These treatments are notorious for draining your energy and producing a lot of fatigue if you don’t preemptively strike against that. Her doctor told her that ginseng works wonders for people going through radiation treatment. My mother took ginseng pills and drank ginseng tea a few times a week in an effort to counteract the fatigue she would get from her daily treatments. Very rarely did she ever experience any drop in energy due to her treatments and she was able to easily maintain her happy demeanor.

Overall, a combination of great doctors, great attitude, and a great diet helped her go through the invasive stage of her treatment fairly easy. She went into it scared, but very prepared and ready to take whatever came at her head on. Now that she has moved on past the extreme treatments and into the less invasive, she still continues her healthy diet and drinks a lot of tea to continue to boost her immune system as the cold season bears down on us. It also helps to have a son who writes for a tea blog and provides her with the wealth of knowledge this place has to offer.

Ross Hammond, Bigelow Tea supporter and blog writer

Green Tea Helps Battle Leukemia

Science Daily reported Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that a component in green tea helps kill cells of the most common leukemia in the United States. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL is a type of Leukemia in which lymphocytes in the bone marrow generate too many white blood cells invading the blood stream. It is a progressive cancer affecting older adults. The research using laboratory cell cultures showed that a component of green tea known as EGCG helped eliminate leukemia cells by blocking the communication signals they need to survive.

Leukemia cells beware…green tea is here!

Last month, we talked about tea’s positive effects on two other types of cancer: breast cancer and prostate cancer. And don’t forget about the many more reasons to drink tea.

Having Trouble Concentrating? More Tea Please.

Just like Oliver Twist in the Charles Dickens’ novel asking “Please, sir, I want some more,” you may want to pour yourself “some more”…tea. It seems practicing yoga isn’t the only way to heighten concentration…tea appears to improve concentration too. In yet another study, this time as reported by American Society for Nutrition in August 2008, new research has suggested that certain constituents of tea, namely L-theanine or caffeine, may have modulatory effects on brain state. We’ve spoken before about other research supporting tea’s positive impact on concentration in our entry “Tea Benefits Touted by USA Today”. Among these benefits were findings by neuroscientist John Foxe suggesting that people who drank tea were able to focus better than those who drank a placebo solution.

More promising news for those of us feeling a bit foggy…time for another cup of tea!