At home, we are tea drinkers. We like our English Tea, Earl Grey, Peppermint, Lemongrass and even Tulsi. Last Monday, during a chat with the family doctor, she cautioned against taking all those 3 in 1 beverages. Too much added “liau”, she says. Hubby was crestfallen. He could be the posterboy for Boh’s Teh Tarik Kurang Manis – drinks a packet a day!
I decided to google around to see if there was any truth in it. What I found was even more insidious. Toxic teas!
– Recent testings in Canada and the FDA shows a lot of pesticides in our regular teas
– I’ve been proven right – those triangle plastic tea bags… they leach BPA
– sadly, I also found out that there are a lot of regular tea bags (those that don’t break apart easily)… they are reinforced with some plastic polymer which also leach out
– some so called organic teas also have residue pesticides – I am guessing they must be organic pesticides!
I have always thought that a moderate amount of tea is good for you. My grandfather always had a pot of tea in his teapot basket to drink throughout the day but in those days, I think pesticides were probably not used so liberally.
Now the axiom of everything in moderation rings even more true. Like my good friend, R has always maintain – spread the risks – don’t stick to 1 thing or 1 brand.
Even without all these commercially induced dangers, overdrinking tea has it’s own dangers, not that people who drink 1 cup a day are in danger of it but if you drink a big bottle a day which amounts to 5 liters a week, you are at risk of getting dental or skeletal fluorosis. The reason why I am wary of too much fluoride in our bodies is because last year, B’s front tooth emerged with a 2mm white spot on it. After consulting the dentist, he said it was pretty common nowadays because of the flouride in our water and the spot is the result of fluorosis.
The same study done in 2013 which also found lead, arsenic, cadmium, aluminium due to the tea plant’s absorption of these compounds from the soil and into the leaves.
Gosh! What a conundrum! Sounds like plain water is the best way to go! But what of those of us who like our tea? I don’t think processing your own tea leaves is a viable option but my friend’s hubby actually did a batch for fun. He had a tea plant growing quite well on his rooftop in sunny Singapore. He managed to harvest enough to process and make a few pots!! I thought it was pretty awesome. I actually had the privilege of trying his literally “home made brew” – tasted delightfully refreshing like green oolong.
Here’s my plan of action:
– switch around brands, even if you go organic.
– drink a bit more “white” teas. Apparently ‘white” teas which are made from young leaves have a higher antioxidant levels and lower levels of fluoride oxidization. I won’t eliminate the dark teas because everything in moderation!
– when at home, use loose tea leaves
– experiment with fresh herbs infusion like mint, ginger ( i’ve been meaning to experiment with the kaffir lime leaf-lemongrass-ginger infusion which I tried in Krabi)
– recently, I have discovered that wheat grass powder when made into a drink tastes exactly like green tea. So nowadays I drink that when I feel like having a cuppa. Wheatgrass is said to be able to neutralize the flouride in our water too! Singapore has it’s very own organic Wheat Grass farm, Kin Yan Agrotech, which you can visit and that’s the brand I am taking right now.