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Why Choose Tea?

From Our Kitchen

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From getting the kids up and ready to go to school/camp to getting ready for work and making sure everyone gets breakfast, we have a lot to do in the morning. Many times we reach for a cup of coffee to get ourselves going. Have you considered tea as an alternative?

While tea does contain less caffeine than coffee, it is packed with powerful antioxidants called flavanoids. Flavanoids reduce damage to the body's cells and protect against heart disease and cancer.  They also play a role in protecting the brain and may have memory and mood enhancing properties.

Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The type of tea is determined by the fermentation of the leaves. The longer the leaves are fermented, the less antioxidant activity. So which tea should you choose to obtain the most antioxidants?

[caption id="attachment_20532" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Tea vs. Coffee"][/caption]

White tea is the least fermented. It has the most antioxidant activity with very little caffeine. It has a mild flavor and light color. White tea can be hard to find and expensive.

Green tea is slightly fermented and low levels of caffeine. It has a light, grassy flavor. Green tea has been widely studied and shown to have many positive health benefits.

Black tea is the most recognizable tea. It is fully fermented and has the highest caffeine level (still only ½ the level of coffee). It has a slightly bitter flavor. The antioxidants in this tea help maintain healthy body functions

Oolong tea is similar to black tea but less fermented. It has a full-bodied flavor with a sweet smell. The caffeine level and antioxidant levels fall between those of green and black tea.

To maximize your antioxidant intake when drinking any tea, brew it loose or with a tea bag. Steep the tea for 3-5 minutes to get the most antioxidant bang for your buck.

The benefits don't stop with hot tea. Despite fresh brewed iced tea being diluted, a lighter source of flavonoids remains present. In addition, iced tea has been known to help reduce stress and keep us relaxed. Plus, it's refreshing on a hot summer day. Choose to drink tea whenever you can, especially as a substitute for soft drinks.

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