How to be the perfect Valentine... the very best tea for two

The Good Life Letter 

14th February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Perhaps you are just having a break from opening the mountains of anonymous cards which flooded through your letterbox? Maybe you are wondering how to eat the numerous boxes of chocolates your admirers have sent? Or just wading knee deep in blood red roses all tied in pretty bows?

No, me neither!

Instead my day began with a gruff ‘Good Morning’ and a peck on the forehead...more importantly a nice mug of tea.

At that moment you can keep all of the blather that comes with another commercialised day for sending greeting cards and gifts.

No greater love hath one human being for another than the provision of the first hot cup of char of the day.

With my hands clenched around the steaming mug I can face another day in paradise.

Then for some reason I began to look up the reasons why a good cup of tea might be classed as one of the greatest gifts.

But the initial search showed that tea was anything but...

...or so it seemed.

“Too much tea can treble cancer risk in women” (Daily Mail, 2013), “Teenage girl develops hepatitis after drinking too much tea” (Daily Telegraph, 2015) and “Drinking too-hot tea may raise oesophageal cancer risk” (WebMD, 2009) were just some of the horror stories I read.

Could it be that the nectar of the early morning held risks I hadn’t considered?

One set of conflicting stories did raise a smile though...

“Seven cups of tea a day 'raises risk of prostate cancer by 50%” said the Daily Mail in 2012, but followed it up in 2013 with “Drinking more than five cups of tea a day cuts prostate cancer risk by a third”.

So, six cups of tea a day seems to be the magic number! Or it would be if they hadn’t reported (also in 2013) that two teas a day cuts the risk of prostate cancer by a third...

...so what is the truth then?

How you can ensure your daily cuppa is both full of flavour, pure and entirely natural

Should tea really have a health warning?

The British drink an average of three cups of tea a day, which puts us fifth in the world's tea drinking nations*.

Across the land our days begin with a cup of warming infusion of leaves, this amber nectar sustains us throughout the day with the prospect of a tea break and then the evening ends with a nice brew before bedtime.

Our household can’t be the only one where this ritual plays out – you too are tea drinkers, I can tell it!

So, given the fact we all indulge what are the risks, if any, of our national pastime?

One of the most prominent health stories about tea was the increased risk to women from brittle bone disease.

This was exemplified by the published case of a 47 year old woman who developed the condition and lost all her teeth due to tea drinking.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine the case initially raised concerns until the amount of tea she was drinking became evident... 120 tea bags being used to make 12 cups of tea per day.

Pretty excessive I’m sure you agree.

Next, the concern about prostate cancer which underlined one of the Daily Mail stories following a University of Glasgow study that saw how more than seven cups a day increased cancer risks by 50%.

But this study was later shown to be flawed and that at best rather than the tea being a cause of cancer it could have been helping prevent even more cases developing... the individuals in the study had more damaging habits than just drinking tea.

Finally, a 2009 paper published in the British Medical Journal which linked hot tea to an increased risk of oesophageal cancer... this was indeed correct.

But before you start lobbing the PG Tips into the bin... this effect is only seen if the tea is hotter than 70 degrees centigrade. In my book you’d need an asbestos throat to even contemplate tea THAT hot.

In the most part tea was shown to be safer than these stories would have you believe; however, there was something that became very apparent that no-one expected to find.

Those who do drink tea, commercial teas from companies like Lipton, Tetley and PG Tips as well as cheap own brand stuff were putting themselves at risk.

So far from giving all teas a completely clean bill of health I want to sound a note of caution.

Discover why you really should be thinking more carefully about your tea habit

The hidden danger in every tea bag

Like every other commodity in the world it seems that for tea you ‘gets what you pay for’... and in some cases even if you pay a premium price you don’t necessarily get anything better.

It all has to do with where your tea is grown and which part of the bush the leaves are picked from.

Teas grown in the Indian sub-continent at lower altitudes and the older leaves on these bushes contain really high levels of fluoride.

At these levels fluoride isn’t the builder of healthy teeth and bones it is at lower levels, once over 4ppm it leads to a condition called skeletal fluorosis whose symptoms include pain, muscle problems and can cause bones and teeth to break apart.

Of course, if the leaves of these bushes were discarded the risks would be lower, but these are the cheap crop and big business likes anything at a knock down price.

Buying huge bulks of cheap leaves and making teas exclusively from them or blending them with better quality younger leaves or those from plantations operating at higher altitudes makes for a nice tidy profit.

They could choose just the buds of the leaves or tea grown above the line of air pollution and massively reduce the health risks to tea drinkers around the world... but why would they when it reduces the mounds of money they can make?

So, for the last few years I have chosen a 100% pure loose leaf tea, grown in the highest plains of Africa and made only from the youngest leaves – called Kosabei Tea.

So, I’ll wish you all a pleasant, relaxed and love filled day.

Happy Valentine’s Day indeed!

Join me, drink a tea that you know you can trust

Yours, as always


Ray

*If you are interested the top ten tea drinking nations are:

1. Turkey (6.87 Kg per person per year)
2. Morocco (4.34 Kg)
3. Ireland (3.22 Kg)
4.Mauritania (3.22 Kg)
5. UK (2.74 Kg)
6. Seychelles (2.08 Kg)
7. United Arab Emirates (1.89 Kg)
8. Kuwait (1.61 Kg)
9. Qatar (1.61 Kg)
10. Kazakhstan (1.54 Kg)


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