The Many Benefits in A Cup of Tea

Reading ‘a cup of tea’ is enough to induce feelings on contentment.  Just the thought of it is calming.

We’re mostly concerned with Camellia sinensis – your regular tea bush that has numerous varieties.  It can produce small leaf green teas, large leaf fermented black teas like Assam and hybrids like Darjeeling.

You can add milk, lemon or sugar to taste and the benefits stay the same.

    

But what is so great about a cup of tea?

Polyphenols – they give tea the astringent taste. They include antioxidant catechins, the one most prevalent in tea is epigallocatechin gallate shortened to EGCG and regularly mentioned as a strong antioxidant.

Stimulants  – such as xanthenes and theobromines.

And caffeine: 1g black tea has around 25mg caffeine and 1g green tea has around 15mg – a longer brew gives a higher caffeine content.

Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and help to reduce the oxidative stress from pathogens and pollution.  They are thought to be protective against the inflammatory response that causes damage in heart disease and possibly neurodegenerative disorders.

But there is more to a cup of tea than chemicals.

Research looking at the role of tea in the reduction of stress found that drinking a cup of tea can:

  • Signal the end of or a break from a stressful episode
  • Gives a feeling of being cared for when someone makes it for us
  • Makes us stop and rest, we can’t drink it if we are active
  • Being hot, it takes time to drink – unlike a drink of water, there is time to rest and contemplate
  • It can be social, which is good for our soul.

The Fuss About Fermentation

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Pickles stall at the Krabi Markets, from Carol’s recent visit to Thailand

Is it a load of rot?!?  

Well to some extent it is.

Food spoilage can be the first stage of fermentation, for example, bacteria causing milk to sour. However, there is nothing haphazard about the many fermentation processes used in our food.

We often don’t even notice how the foods we eat have been altered by fermentation.

Obvious fermented foods are pickles, beer and bread, but cocoa beans for chocolate, leaves for tea, olives too, wouldn’t be the food we know without fermentation.

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Fermentation can:

Preserve foods – in acid or alcohol as in pickles and beverages

Develop flavours – in coffee beans and tea

Improve the digestibility – in sough dough fermentation alters the carbohydrate and protein, in yoghurt lactose has been converted to lactic acid

Reduce cooking time – fermented rice batters used for idli and dosa cook very quickly

Often the fermentation is over when we consume the food. The bread is baked and the yeast with it, or yeast in wine has turned the sugars in grape juice to alcohol, or the tea leaves are heated and dried or the sauerkraut is too acidic for the bacteria to thrive. Some fizzing drinks like beer are still active, some yoghurt has a live culture and there is a new zest for ancient fermented drinks like Kombucha. A great commercial opportunity has been sparked by this fermentation craze.

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Beyond this is our own gut flora and the balance of getting foods in our diet that encourage a healthy bacteria population to flourish and avoiding the foods that in sensitive people cause bloating and discomfort.

At Moodilicious, we’re going to report on the fact and have a go at some fermentation recipes of our own.

Stick with us if you want to see some fermentation fun!!!