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Recent studies boast that a cup of tea is good for us!
(Here are a couple of pieces of my tea collection.)

Tea Time?
by Diannek

It's fairly safe to say that tea has always finished way down the list of preferred non-alcoholic drinks by most Americans. Coffee, thanks to Starbucks, bottled water and sodas top the charts as our current favorites. But tea, served either hot or iced, is the choice of a growing minority. 

Green tea has received some very good press lately as a health drink. And as a result the grocery shelves are stocked with dozens of "greenies" these days. But what about the old standbys that tea lovers are most fond of -- like Earl Gray, the Phantom's favorite? And all the rest of the old teabags -- the flavored, spiced and just plain Lipton-type teas that we've enjoyed for years? Must we switch over to the green stuff, which in all honesty, just isn't my cup of tea... Recently on Oprah (fall season of 2004)a tea maven told us that drinking green tea every morning instead of coffee could help in weight reduction.

There's even more good news on the horizon. 

Get this: A recent article in (usaweekend.com 11-18-2001) by Jean Carper reported some extremely interesting research findings on tea drinking as a health benefit. And the truly good news about this study is for the best benefit:  
-Drink both black and green tea, the regular kind sold in teabags and leaves in grocery stores. Their antioxidants are equal. But green tea boasts special-acting EGCG (whatever that is!)
-Bottled tea and instant tea (yuck) have few antioxidants, according to the research.
-Herbal teas do not have the same health properties as real tea (yeah! I've always preferred the real deal when it comes to a nice cup of tea.)
-Tea with caffeine has slightly more antioxidant activity. (Oh!)
-Steep tea leaves or bags in hot water 3 to 5 minutes to thoroughly release antioxidants. (If the tea bag is in a coffee mug full of hot water for 5 minutes, you're gonna have a very strong cup of tea!)
-Adding milk to tea does not block absorption of antioxidants... (that's nice.)
-Don't give much tea to kids...(well, we knew that. Tea is for grown-ups.)

Here's a brief synopsis (from the Carper article) of the purported health benefits of tea drinking:

You could lower your risk of stomach, colon and breast cancer, and lab studies find that tea chemicals actually may stop cancer growth! (Wow!) It may tame inflammations, like arthritis, and even chronic stomach inflammation, which can lead to cancer. "Previous tests prove tea can neutralize germs, including some that cause diarrhea, pneumonia, cystitis and skin infections." (Who knew!) And if that wasn't enough, "green tea's antioxidant EGCG (ah-hah!) stimulates the body to burn calories, notably fat." And according to the study, the burn-off is 80 extra calories, due, they say, to increased energy and not the effect of the caffeine. (Hmm.)

So the next time you can't quite decide what to drink, consider requesting a nice cup of tea. What can it hurt?

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