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Tea Time!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Before you pour yourself a cup and sit back to enjoy your daily dose of tea, Katha Nauriyal tells you how to sip on it the right way 

It’s no secret that tea is good for your health. It’s packed with antioxidants and provides you with a little boost of energy every morning. However, just like with coffee, the way you drink your tea can alter its nutrient content. Read on to find out how the little things you’re doing can affect how healthy your daily cup is!

Hot stuff!
A hot cup of tea is the perfect treat in this gloomy weather. But, if you drink it too hot, you can actually suffer from nosebleeds! Drinking very hot tea can rupture the blood vessels in your nose and while those who are prone to nosebleeds should cool any hot drink before drinking it, you need to be even more careful when it comes to tea. If you’ve already suffered from a nose bleed, avoid drinking tea for at least 24 hours. This will give your blood vessels enough time to settle down. Follow this tip if you’ve recently undergone a nasal treatment or surgery. Swilling tea two minutes after it has been prepared pushes you five times closer to the risk of cancer, as compared to drinking it within four minutes. Upasana Shukla Maheshwari, a nutritionist and diet planner, says, “Drinking extremely hot tea over a period of time can irritate your stomach and oesophageal lining.”

No, it’s not always tea time
Tea can impede the nourishment that food provides to your body and hinder the absorption process of its proteins. It can also mess with the secretion of gastric juices. So, it is best to avoid drinking it between meals. While having a strong cup of tea immediately after a meal can interrupt and hamper smooth digestion, the same rule applies to drinking it when you’re hungry — it will cause stomach discomfort and will also lead to a loss of appetite.

A cup of good health
Selecting the right cup is just as crucial as picking the quality of your tea. If a vacuum or thermos cup is left with tea leaves for too long, it can cut down on its nutrient content and wreck your tea. While ceramic cups are the most popular picks, clay and earthen teacups cause less seepage and are natural heat retention materials that brew tea leaves instantly.

Brew to best
Tea is best enjoyed when you brew its leaves properly. Most tea bags can be used at least two to three times with their flavours still intact. “If you boil tea leaves for too long, the polyphenyles and essential oils it contains start oxidising, reducing its nutritive value,” says Upasana. So, brew your tea leaves for a shorter period. If you let them sit in simmering water for too long, it will only kill the natural vitamins that are present in tea. “Remember that roadside chai is brewed for a long time, and this increases its tannin content. It also has copious amounts of sugar and milk that contribute to a heavier waistline,” Upasana adds.

Tricks for healthy tea
A few tricks here and there can go a long way in cracking how to master the perfect, healthy cup.

  • Always pick organic tea as tea crops are often heavily sprayed with pesticides that pose a danger to your health.
  • Add ginger or cardamom to your tea.“Ginger not only helps to cure stomach problems, it also helps clear your throat and prevent colds, especially in this changing weather. Cardamom, on the other hand, fights free radicals and increases blood circulation,” Upasana tells us.
  • Avoid adding artificial flavouring to tea as most are packed with preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. Consuming these can lead to obesity and weight gain.
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