Kitchen Hint of the Day!

November 17, 2014 at 6:23 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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The tannic acid in strong black tea can tenderize meat in a stew, as well as reduce the cooking time. Just add 1/2 cup strong tea to the stew when you add the other liquid. It will also give you stew a great brown color.

Drink (green tea) to your health!

June 5, 2014 at 9:17 AM | Posted in green tea | Leave a comment
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A very good article from the Dallas News on one of my favorite drinks, Green Tea. I’m having a cup right now!

 
Drink (green tea) to your health!
By jane sadler

 

Today, my physician assistant needed something to calm her pregnancy-related nausea. She was green as a glass of green tea and in need of assistance. As she cannot tolerate routine prescription anti-nausea medication, I offered her a more natural alternative with a cup of diluted green tea to calm her symptoms.

Green tea has been used in both traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to decrease and control bleeding, improve heart and mental health and aid in digestion. Some studies have shown that green tea may be an adjunct to successful weight loss and even improve liver health in some diabetics.

A new study suggests that green tea “disrupts the metabolism of cancer cells” in pancreatic cancer and could reduce the risk of other cancers or slow its progression.

While facts have been contested, Anti-oxidants may help your body to prevent inflammation that can cause organ damage and adversely affect your immune system. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a potent anti-oxidant. EGCG is the active ingredient in green tea that is thought to be helpful for stomach problems like vomiting and diarrhea, lower blood pressure, improve type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, memory retention and cancer prevention.

Recently, Veregen, a green tea extract, has been tested and approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to treat genital warts.

Green tea, like black tea, is made from the Camellia sinesis plant, a shrub native to Asia. Unlike black tea, green tea is thought to have higher levels of antioxidants because green tea is less fermented. These less processed plants better retain their vital nutrients.

Studies investigating green tea have not been conclusive; therefore, the FDA does not currently recommend using green tea to treat the above conditions.

The amount of green tea that needs to be consumed to show benefits varies in studies from 3-10 cups per day. It has been suggested that bottled green teas may not have as high levels of EGCG as natural steeped tea and may contain extra ingredients. At 20-45mg per 8 ounces, its caffeine content is approximately ½ the caffeine contained in a cup of coffee.

Talk to your doctor before consuming large amounts of green tea as there can be side effects. Unregulated (i.e. imported) green tea extract may not be safe as they may contain unknown ingredients such as lead.

As for my physician assistant, she looks much less green after her green tea.

**Written with the assistance of Texas A&M medical student, Rhoda Jamadar

 
http://healthblog.dallasnews.com/2014/06/drink-green-tea-to-your-health.html/

Some Info on my Favorite Drink – Tea

November 16, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food, green tea, low calorie, low carb | Leave a comment
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Tea

Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the

Fresh tea leaves of different sizes. The smaller the leaf, the more expensive the tea.

plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavor which many enjoy.

The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs containing no actual tea, such as rosehip tea or chamomile tea. Alternative terms for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied contrast with tea. This article is concerned exclusively with preparations and uses of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, the Minnan word for which is the etymological origin of the English word tea.

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant that grows mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Some varieties can also tolerate marine climates and are cultivated as far north as Pembrokeshire in the British mainland[5] and Washington in the United States.

Tea plants are propagated from seed or by cutting; it takes approximately 4 to 12 years for a tea plant to bear seed, and about 3 years before a new plant is ready for harvesting. In addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer, tea plants require at least 50 inches of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils. Traditional Chinese Tea Cultivation and Studies believes that high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 4,900 ft: at these heights, the plants grow more slowly and acquire a better flavor.

Only the top 1-2 inches of the mature plant are picked. These buds and leaves are called flushes. A plant will grow a new flush every seven to fifteen days during the growing season, and leaves that are slow in development always produce better flavored teas.

A tea plant will grow into a tree of up to 52 ft if left undisturbed,[4] but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking.

Two principal varieties are used: the China plant (C. sinensis sinensis), used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas (but not Pu-erh); and the clonal Assam tea plant (C. sinensis assamica), used in most Indian and other teas (but not Darjeeling). Within these botanical varieties, there are many strains and modern Indian clonal varieties. Leaf size is the chief criterion for the classification of tea plants, with three primary classifications being: Assam type, characterized by the largest leaves; China type, characterized by the smallest leaves; and Cambod, characterized by leaves of intermediate size.

There are at least six varieties of tea: white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and post-fermented teas of which the most commonly found on the market are white, green, oolong, and black. Some varieties, such as traditional oolong tea and Pu-erh tea, a post-fermented tea, can be used medicinally.

A tea’s type is determined by the processing which it undergoes. Leaves of Camellia sinensis soon begin to wilt and oxidize, if not dried quickly after picking. The leaves turn progressively darker as their chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. This enzymatic oxidation process, known as fermentation in the tea industry, is caused by the plant’s intracellular enzymes and causes

Longjing tea being infused in a glass

the tea to darken. In tea processing, the darkening is stopped at a predetermined stage by heating, which deactivates the enzymes responsible. In the production of black teas, the halting of oxidization by heating is carried out simultaneously with drying.

Without careful moisture and temperature control during manufacture and packaging, the tea may become unfit for consumption, due to the growth of undesired molds and bacteria. At minimum it may alter the taste and make it undesirable.

Tea is traditionally classified based on the techniques with which it is produced and processed.

White tea: Wilted and unoxidized
Yellow tea: Unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
Green tea: Unwilted and unoxidized
Oolong: Wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
Black tea: Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
Post-fermented tea: Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost

Although single estate teas are available, almost all teas in bags and most other teas sold in the West are blends. Blending may occur in the tea-planting area (as in the case of Assam), or teas from many areas may be blended. The aim of blending is to obtain better taste, higher price, or both, as a more expensive, better-tasting tea may cover the inferior taste of cheaper varieties.

Some teas are not pure varieties, but have been enhanced through additives or special processing. Tea is highly receptive to inclusion of various aromas; this may cause problems in processing, transportation, and storage, but also allows for the design of an almost endless range of scented and flavored variants, such as bergamot (Earl Grey), vanilla, caramel, and many others.

Tea plants are native to East and South Asia and probably originated around the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China, and Tibet. Although there are tales of tea’s first use as a beverage, no one is sure of its exact origins. The first recorded drinking of tea is in China, with the earliest records of tea consumption with records dating back to the 10th century BC. It was already a common drink during Qin Dynasty (around 200 BC) and became widely popular during Tang Dynasty, when it was spread to Korea and Japan. Trade of tea by the Chinese to Western nations in the 19th century spread tea and the tea plant to numerous locations around the world.

Tea was imported to Europe during the Portuguese expansion of the 16th century, at which time it was termed chá. In 1750, tea experts traveled from China to the Azores Islands, and planted tea, along with jasmines and mallows, to give the tea aroma and distinction. Both green tea and black tea continue to grow in the islands, that are the main supplier to continental Portugal. Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II, took the tea habit to Great Britain around 1660, but it was not until the 19th century Britain that tea became as widely consumed as it is today. In Ireland, tea had become an everyday beverage for all levels of society by the late 19th century, but it was first consumed as a luxury item on special occasion such as religious festivals, wakes, and domestic work gatherings such as quiltings.

The health benefits of tea is a controversial topic with many proponents and detractors. An article from the journal Nutrition (1999, pp. 946–949) states:[29]

The possible beneficial effects of tea consumption in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases have been demonstrated in animal models and suggested by studies in vitro. Similar beneficial effects, however, have not been convincingly demonstrated in humans: beneficial effects have been demonstrated in some studies but not in others. If such beneficial effects do exist in humans, they are likely to be mild, depending on many other lifestyle-related factors, and could be masked by confounding factors in certain populations. Another concern is that the amounts of tea consumed by humans are lower than the doses required for demonstrating the disease-prevention effects in animal models. Caution should be applied, however, in the use of high concentrations of tea for disease prevention. Ingestion of large amounts of tea may cause nutritional and other problems because of the caffeine content and the strong binding activities of tea polyphenols, although there are no solid data on the harmful effects of tea consumption. More research is needed to elucidate the biologic activities of green and black tea and to determine the optimal amount of tea consumption for possible health-beneficial effects.

In 2010, researchers found that people who consumed tea had significantly less cognitive decline than non-tea drinkers. The study used data on more than 4,800 men and women aged 65 and older to examine change in cognitive function over time. Study participants were followed for up to 14 years for naturally-occurring cognitive decline. (AAICAD 2010; Lenore Arab, PhD; UCLA[30])

Several of the potential health benefits proposed for tea are outlined in this excerpt from Mondal (2007, pp. 519–520) as following:

Tea leaves contain more than 700 chemicals, among which the compounds closely related to human health are flavanoids, amino acids, vitamins (C, E and K), caffeine and polysaccharides. Moreover, tea drinking has recently proven to be associated with cell-mediated immune function of the human body. Tea plays an important role in improving beneficial intestinal microflora, as

Tea plantation in Munnar, Kerala, in southern India

well as providing immunity against intestinal disorders and in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage. Tea also prevents dental caries due to the presence of fluorine. The role of tea is well established in normalizing blood pressure, lipid depressing activity, prevention of coronary heart diseases and diabetes by reducing the blood-glucose activity. Tea also possesses germicidal and germistatic activities against various gram-positive and gram negative human pathogenic bacteria. Both green and black tea infusions contain a number of antioxidants, mainly catechins that have anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumoric properties.

In a large study of over 11,000 Scottish men and women completed in 1993 and published in the 1999 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (1999, pp. 481–487), there was an increase in the risk of coronary disease with the regular consumption of tea, although it disappeared after adjustment for confounding factors (age and occupational status).

The IARC list teas as under Group 3 carcinogens since injection of black tea concentrates under the skins of mice showed some cancerous growths. However, it has not been possible to prove that tea affects humans in similar ways through consumption.

Consumption of some forms of tea has the potential to result in acute liver damage in some individuals. Several herbal and dietary supplements have been linked to liver damage, caused in part or completely by the presence of green tea extract in these supplements; the most notable cases include Hydroxycut (415 mg of a mixture of green, white, and oolong tea extracts, and several other herbal extracts, per dose); Exolise (360 mg of green tea extract per dose); and Tealine (250 mg of green tea extract per dose). These concerns resulted in withdrawals of the first two products and a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of Hydroxycut. The risk is thought to be quite small: in case of Hydroxycut, 9 million bottles were sold in the U.S. over the lifetime of the product, resulting in 23 known severe cases, however, these included at least one fatality and at least three cases of liver failure resulting in a liver transplantation. In case of Exolise, the risk of an adverse effect was estimated as less than 1 per 100,000.

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