Tea: Best Drink of the Day

The old ad slogan from many years ago that stated tea was the best drink of the day was actually right on the nail when it comes to the many health benefits that come with drinking tea. I'm not talking about green tea here, but the favoured drink of the British (and plenty of other nations besides, although they may not want to admit it), which is black tea commonly taken with a little milk and even sugar!

So what did our grandmothers know that a whole generation seemed to forget, or at least not notice?

Well, for starters, tea has always been associated with relaxing and of all things this is probably the only aspect of tea that is not quite accurate. That's because tea contains caffeine and lots of it. In actual fact, ounce for ounce, or gram for gram depending upon where you live, tea contains a lot more caffeine than coffee. The only reason that cup of Java sends you into orbit and the tea doesn't is because tea is brewed a lot weaker than coffee.

Black and Green Teas

Black tea contains less nutrients and antioxidants than its green cousin, but most of those present in green tea are also there in black tea. In fact drinking three cups of black tea a day will bring all the health benefits you'll get from one or two cups of green, depending upon how you brew it and how big your cups are!

Why do we put milk in black tea?

The bitter taste you get from drinking black tea, well... black, comes from substances called tannins. Tannins are not so good for you in large amounts, but by adding milk to your cup, the enzymes in the milk break down the tannins rendering them harmless. It also mellows the taste of the brew which makes it much more palatable.

So why do we add sugar to tea?

If you want to be healthy, don't add sugar. It's purely a sweet tooth thing and not necessary for improving the flavour of tea. In fact tea tastes better without sugar, once your taste buds have adjusted to it. It's true!

Is Drinking Too Much Tea Harmful?

It can be harmful in large amounts; just as drinking too much coffee is bad for you. Too much caffeine causes high blood pressure with increased risk of strokes and coronary problems. It also makes you want to urinate more often, which dehydrates the body. It can also disrupt sleep, so it's always a good idea to avoid anything containing caffeine for a few hours before going to bed.

The general rule of thumb is if you enjoy a cup of tea, then drink it! If you like 4 or 5 cups a day, that's also ok but don't go too crazy and you'll be fine!