Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Grandma Knew Her Stuff; Brew a Pot of Tea and Make a Cuppa, Because the World's Second Most Common Drink Is Good for You

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Grandma Knew Her Stuff; Brew a Pot of Tea and Make a Cuppa, Because the World's Second Most Common Drink Is Good for You

Article excerpt

Byline: Clare Collins

GROWING up, tea drinking was reserved for my grandmother's visits.

Making it followed a strict and fascinating ritual. Take scalding hot water. Warm the teapot. Add one spoon of tea leaves for each person and one for the pot. Cover with a tea cosy. Turn the pot three times to the left, three to the right, then three to the left. Leave to brew. Warm the cups; milk in first, pour through a tea strainer.

My grandmother could taste any attempt you made to shortcut the process. Once Grandma approved the tea, pressure eased and

conversation flowed.

In Australia 38% of the general population and 67% of those aged over 70 are tea drinkers. Our

median intake is two cups a day.

1. Tea and survival

Around the world, tea is the most common drink after water. Its popularity increased in the 1800s because the practice of boiling water to make the tea meant

water-borne pathogens like cholera and typhoid would be killed, making it safer to drink.

Science has muscled in on our tea drinking habits and started to unravel what makes us love our "cuppa". There is a large group of bioactive components in tea called polyphenols, which include

catechins and tannins.

Concentrations of these compounds vary depending on how you make the tea, including the amount of tea leaves per cup, water temperature and brewing time. Catechins have anti-oxidant properties and are most abundant in green tea. Tannins, which

inhibit non-haem iron absorption in the gut, are most abundant in black tea.

2. Tea and your brain

Components of tea that can boost brain activity include caffeine, catechins and the amino acid, L-theanine.

In a systematic review of the effects of tea on mood and cognitive function, the combination of L-theanine and caffeine was shown to increase alertness and attention-switching accuracy up to two hours after consumption.

Preliminary evidence also suggests catechins may have a calming effect during the second hour post-cuppa.

3. Tea and weight loss

There has been a lot of interest in whether tea, particularly green tea, can increase energy expenditure and help with weight loss. …

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