Tea is arguably the world’s most favourite beverage. It is consumed in cultures around the world either in break times, daily routines or just a way of life.
Around the world, two billion people drink tea every morning. Three billion tons of tea are produced worldwide every year for consumption. One pound of loose tea leaves will create up to 200 cups of tea.
Black tea is the most consumed tea with 84 percent of tea drinkers. Green tea is outpacing all other forms of tea with sixty more volumes consumed since 2004. It is also popular among young people and appeals to wide range of people.
World Tea Day
International Tea Day is observed annually on May 21, according to the United Nations. A resolution was adopted on December 21, 2019 calling on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to lead the observance of the day.
International Tea Day aims to raise awareness of the long history and the deep cultural and economic significance of tea around the world.
The goal is to promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favour of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.
International Tea Day has been celebrated on December 15 since 2005 in tea producing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda and Tanzania.
International Tea Day aims to draw global attention of governments and citizens to the impact of the global tea trade on workers and growers and requests for price supports and fair trade.
Why drink tea?
Tea is a beverage made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Tea is the world’s most consumed drink after water. Tea has been with us for a long time. There is evidence that tea was consumed in China 5,000 years ago.
It is believed that tea originated in northeast India, north Myanmar and southwest China, but the exact place where the plant first grew is not known.
Tea production and processing constitutes a main source of livelihood for millions of families in developing countries and is the main means of subsistence for millions of poor families in several developed countries.
The tea industry is the main source of income and export revenues for some of the poorest countries and, as a labour-intensive sector, provides jobs, especially in remote and economically disadvantaged areas.
Tea can play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction and food security in developing countries, being one of the most important cash crops.
Tea consumption can bring health benefits and wellness due to the beverage’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and weight loss effects. It also has cultural significance in many societies.
Health benefits of tea
Tea can be a tasty beverage since it can be served iced or hot but its benefits go far beyond refreshment. There is plenty of research showing that drinking tea can improve your health.
Black, green and oolong tea are made from the same plant. The unique flavor profiles for each of these teas are due to differences in how the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are processed.
Black, green and oolong tea all contain caffeine. Black tea has more caffeine than green tea but the caffeine content also relates to the brewing process. Herbal tea is not considered as tea as it belongs to a different plant.
Tea provides small amounts of minerals such as potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, copper and zinc. The actual amount varies depending upon the age and growing conditions of the tea plant.
Natural substances, called polyphenols, are found in both caffeinated and herbal teas. These substances are antioxidants; compounds that may help reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.
Some studies suggest that the caffeine and catechins, a type of polyphenol, in tea may help with weight loss. Although research on caffeinated green tea looks promising, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
Drinking tea may help to keep our hearts healthy ae research has shown a reduced risk of heart disease in people who drink green or black tea regularly.
Those who regularly drink tea are less likely to develop atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or die prematurely from any cause particularly stroke compared to others.
A 50-year-old frequent tea drinker might develop heart disease almost a year-and-a-half later or live about a year longer than someone who never or seldom drank tea.
Though there is lots of information online about tea as a cancer-fighting beverage, research has not proven that consuming tea helps to reduce the risk of cancer.
Risk of consumption
Though there are lots of good things about consuming tea buy overdoing it can put your health at risk. One risk is a caffeine overload. Large amounts of caffeine may lead to nervousness, restlessness and may disturb your sleep.
Some people may also experience loose stools and other gastrointestinal issues. Nausea, abdominal pain, heartburn, dizziness and muscle pain are also possible side effects from consuming too much caffeine.
It may also interact with certain medications and increase the effects of caffeine in the body. The total daily intake of caffeine from all sources should not exceed 400 milligrams.
Tea can be part of a healthy eating pattern although we should be mindful of how it is sweetened to limit sugar intake. It’s time now to enjoy a hot cup of tea.