Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tea For The Heart

February is National Heart Month.  During this month, I will be blogging about foods for the heart.

Today, I am going to write about tea.  Tea has been around since about 2737BC.  In fact, tea was discovered by accident by Chinese Emperor Shin Nong.  Some dried camellia blew into the Emperor's pot of boiling water.  The Emperor drank the "tea" and found it had a delightful aroma and a pleasant taste.  He declared that tea gives vigor to the body.  The beverage tea was born.

Tea has come along way since the days of long ago.  One thing is still true, tea does have excellent health benefits.  According to the November 2010 issue of "Mayo  Clinic Women's Health Source" some of the benefits of tea are:

Cardiovascular:  Green tea may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Both black and green tea can reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke.

Cancer:  Green tea may prevent gastric, pancreatic, bladder and ovarian cancers.  Reason:  Tea contains catechins.

Cavities:  Green tea destroys bacteria that causes cavities.  It also helps prevent plaque formation.

Parkinson's Disease:  The caffeine in tea may help prevent or slow the development of Parkinson disease.

Other benefits are:

Bone Density: Regular tea drinking preserves your bone density.  There are various studies out that support this.
Alzheimer's:  Drinking green tea may  delay the onset of Alzheimer's.

High Blood Pressure:  Drinking 1/2 a cup of green tea or oolong tea can lower your blood pressure.

So how many cups of tea should you drink per day.  In doing some research I found the consensus to be three plus cups a day.

                                      Making  The Perfect Cup of Tea

1. Use bottled water if possible.  If not, tap water is fine - just be sure it is cold.  Hot tap water can carry sediments from the tap.  Also,  cold water has the ability to hold more oxygen gas than hot water does.
2.  Be sure to prepare the teapot or the tea mug.  Rinse them with hot water.
3.  Bring the water to a full boil.  Remove the tea kettle from the heat.
4.  If you are using leaf tea measure one teaspoon of loose tea for each serving of tea plus one for the pot.  If you are using a tea bag one teabag per cup of tea.
5. Pour the water over the tea.  Steep the tea according to the type of tea you are making.

                                     Tea Type                                      Steeping Time

                                      White                                                 1-3 minutes
                                      China Green                                         3 minutes
                                      Japanese Green                                2-3 minutes
                                      Black                                                  3-5 minutes
                                      Darjeeling                                              3 minutes
                                      Oolong                                               3-5 minutes

A Fun Thing:

If you want to have some fun with tea try a Flowering tea.  You can find them on the Web.


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