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The truth behind the teas you are drinking

By Stepy on August 29, 2013 DrinksHealthHealthy LivingNewsTeas3

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  • There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea to get you through a long stressful day or to decompress.
  • It has a way of providing energy, soothing the soul, and refreshing your spirits.
  • Tea has been used for millenniums starting in China as a potent tonic with a huge range of health benefits.
  • A wonderful beverage like this couldn’t have any harmful substances in it, right? Wrong.
  • An investigation by Vani Hari, Founder of Food Babe uncovered some shocking facts about popular tea brands.
  • These are the teas that showed potentially harmful substances:
  • Celestial Seasonings
  • Tazo
  • Lipton
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Teavana
  • Bigelow
  • Tea Forte
  • Twinings of London
  • 1. HOW DO PESTICIDES MAKE IT IN YOUR TEA?
  • Though teas may be marketed as crucial beverages for your health, many of them contain harmful pesticides, artificial flavors, toxins, GMOs, and more.
  • Why would pesticides be in your tea? The answer is because many popular teas are not washed before they are packaged. This means that if your tea was sprayed with pesticides during growth, they can only end up in one place – your cup.
  • The findings:
  • Celestial Seasonings:
  • Recent research by Glaucus Research on the brand Celestial Seasonings found that over 90% of their teas tested showed pesticide levels that were over United States limits.
  • Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal: It showed 0.26 ppm of propachlor, which under California Proposition 65 is considered a carcinogen.
  • The “Wellness” tea products from Celestial Seasonings also contained propargite, which is also a known carcinogen.
  • The FDA sent two letters to Celestial Seasonings, warning them about bad quality control.
  • Teavana:
  • Have you been to Teavana? Everything about this chain store seems classy, high end, and healthy. They wow customers with great presentation to make up for their high prices. Though this place may seem like tea heaven, their products were shown to be filled with pesticides in the Glaucus Research study.
  • Facts: A shocking 100% of the Teavana teas that were tested were found to contain pesticides.
  • Their product called “Monkey-picked oolong” contained 23 pesticides.
  • Note: 77% percent of these teas would be banned from import in the European Union.
  • Facts: 62% of teas tested contained endosulfan, a pesticide banned in the U.S. and 144 other countries because it is linked to impaired fertility and may harm unborn babies.
  • 2. THE “NATURAL FLAVOR” HOAX:
  • We have all seen teas advertised as having “natural flavors” to make consumers believe that they are drinking better quality ingredients. The truth is that the so called “natural flavors” label is just a way to disguise poor quality and sub-par taste.
  • The positive news is that there are companies who are against the use of natural flavors, and only use real ingredients in their teas. The Food Babe recently interviewed Ahmed Rahim, the CEO of Numi Tea who expressed his disgust on the natural flavor hoax: “You can breakdown anything that is found in nature and if it ends up tasting like the flavor you wish to use – you can add it to any product and call it NATURAL FLAVOR on the ingredient label. It could come from a stone in the ground and you’d never know.”  
  • 3. GMOs IN TEA:
  • The subject of GMOs doesn’t come up very often when talking about tea, but conversations may start to change. Some teas contain known GMOs like modified corn starch and soy lecithin. Make sure to read labels before making your tea purchase.
  • 4. ARE PLASTIC TEA BAGS DANGEROUS?
  • It is now well known that plastic containers and bottles can leach harmful chemicals like BPA and BPS into food and liquids. Unfortunately, the same applies to plastic tea bags. Dr. Mercola explains, “While these plastics are generally considered among the safest in terms of leaching potential, the molecules in these plastic tea bags may still in fact break down and leach out when steeped in boiling water—which is the recommended way to brew a good cup of tea, especially when you’re using higher quality whole tea leaves, which these newer tea bags are designed for.”
  • 5. ARE PAPER TEA BAGS BETTER OR WORSE?
  • Paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, which turns into 3-MCPD (a known carcinogen) when it makes contact with water. Dow Chemical Co, one of the largest producers of epichlorohydrin wrote that it is a very dangerous chemical, and requires extra precautions when it is being handled. “Granted, that doesn’t automatically render it dangerous in the final product, but it can still be a cause for concern, particularly as it can turn into a carcinogen when water is added,” shares Dr. Mercola.
  • His advice is to purchase your tea from manufacturers who can certify that their tea bags do not contain this compound.
  • 6. SAFTEY TIPS WHEN SELECTING TEA:
  • Select an organic, non-GMO certified brand of tea.
  • We recommend Numi Tea, which is organic, GMO-free, and simply delicious. It is a reputable source you can trust. Their tea is sold at Whole Foods and many supermarkets and online.
  • Read the labels to make sure there no “natural flavors” or “added flavors.”
  • Make sure that there are no GMO ingredients added like modified corn starch and soy lecithin.
  • Recommendation:
  • Next time you go out, take your own tea bag as most restaurants serve teas with pesticides such as Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Bigelow, and more.
  • 7. HOW TO BREW THE PERFECT CUP OF TEA:
  • 1. Boil water in a tea kettle (avoid non-stick pots, as they can leach harmful chemicals)
  • 2.  Preheat your tea pot. Add a small amount of boiling water to the container that you are going to use.
  • Ceramic and porcelain help retain heat.
  • Cover the pot or cup with a lid.
  • Let it stand until cup becomes hot, then pour out the water.
  • 3. Add the tea using an infuser, strainer, or add loose leaves into the pot.
  • Without an infuser or strainer, your tea will be more flavorful.
  • You can change the flavor of tea to your liking by adding more or less leaves.
  • 4.  Add boiling water to pot or cup, depending on the amount of tea you are using. (For 2 teaspoons of tea, add two cups of water, etc.)
  • 5. The ideal water temperature depends on the type of tea that you are steeping.
  • Temperature guide:
  • a. White or green teas: Well below boiling (170-185 F or 76-85 C). Once the water is boiling, let the water cool for 30 seconds for white tea and 60 seconds for green tea.
  • b. Oolong teas: 185-210 F or 85-98 C.
  • c.  Black teas and Pu-erh teas: Full rolling boil (212 F or 100 C)
  • Here are some general guidelines for steeping times:
  • a.  Oolong teas: 4-7 minutes
  • b. Black teas: 3-5 minutes
  • c. Green teas: 2-3 minutes