Being at home more frequently at the moment studying, I find myself drinking an awful lot of tea! My flat is usually cold so I like to have something hot with me at all times, that’s my excuse anyway. But I just wanted to shed a little light on it, is it good or bad?
I say good. Tea is full of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols, those things that find and destroy the free radicals in our body. Vitamins C and E, beta carotene and selenium, for example, are also antioxidants. So with tea, the stronger the better to get more antioxidants in your cup. Tea does also act as a diuretic but it is mild and the water content of a cuppa more than makes up for it.
However, keep an eye on the calories you add in terms of milk and please don’t add sugar! Tea contains tannins, which stop the absorption of iron. So never take any iron tablets with a cup of tea or have tea with a meal, you will be robbing your body of the iron; leave at least an hour either side of a meal.
Tea also comes with the temptation of biscuits, so try and break the association. I’m a sucker for dunking a biscuit in tea but I think it is important not to make it habit. Biscuits are mindless calories and tend to have trans fat in them.
As with most things, tea and biscuits included, everything in moderation. Make sure tea is not your only source of fluid during the day and be aware of the diuretic effect and caffeine if you are sensitive to it. Don’t go crazy, 7-8 cups a day is a bit excessive so stick to around 3. And it is always good to let your tea cool down for a minute or two before you drink it – continuously exposing your throat to boiling hot liquids causes ongoing inflammation, which can lead to more serious problems with the oesophagus. Be sure to add a little variety to your tea drinking, as I’ve said before green tea contains even more polyphenols that black tea and peppermint tea is good for digestion. Fancy a cuppa?