Friday, October 23, 2009

Say so long to soda... welcome white tea!

We all have our morning rituals. Mine begins with a fresh cup of hot loose leaf white tea.

I ended up drinking white tea after trying green tea... I had read about the health benefits of green tea, but I have to admit, it made me tense for some weird reason.
Coffee makes me bounce off walls, but white tea is something I can sip all morning long.
It contains some caffeine... enough to lift the morning head fog, but not enough to make you want to squeeze a million errands into 5 minutes.

I've also written about the health benefits of white tea. The words" anti-inflammatory wrinkle fighter" certainly make it taste even better!

Researchers from Kingston University tested the health benefits of 21 herbs and plants. While most had health benefits, they say they were blown away to see how much white tea outperformed the others.

White tea is also steamed rather than fermented or roasted like green or black tea. It's not as processed as the other teas which may explain why it does well in studies.

According to researchers:
Professor Declan Naughton, from the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University in South West London, said the research showed white tea had anti-ageing potential and high levels of anti-oxidants which could prevent cancer and heart disease.
"We've carried out tests to identify plant extracts that protected the structural proteins of the skin, specifically elastin and collagen," he explained.
"Elastin supports the body's natural elasticity which helps lungs, arteries, ligaments and skin to function. It also helps body tissue to repair when you suffer wounds and stops skin from sagging." Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues in the body and is important for skin, strength and elasticity, he added.
Results showed white tea prevented the activities of the enzymes which breakdown elastin and collagen which can lead to wrinkles that accompany ageing. These enzymes, along with oxidants, are associated with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

"We were testing very small amounts far less than you would find in a drink," Professor Naughton, one of the country's leading specialists on inflammation, said.
"The early indicators are that white tea reduces the risk of inflammation which is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers as well as wrinkles."

If this is your first time trying white tea, make sure you try white tea mixed with fruits or you'll ask me why it tastes a bit like a freshly mowed lawn.
You won't even need to add sweetener because you'll be able to taste the fruit.
I used to buy my loose leaf tea at Teavana/International Plaza, but they only have a small selection of organic white teas.
The reality is if I am going to drink or eat something for the health benefits (white tea is one my favorite "treats") I'd prefer not to have additional chemical pesticides.

As I searched online, I found a tea store in California that sells a large variety of loose leaf, organic teas.  Jackpot!
As a former "dessert addict,"  flavors like "Blueberry Pomegranate" or "White Goji Blossom" caught my eye.
The owner of Art of Tea, Steve Schwartz studied ayurvedic medicine so he understands the benefits of drinking teas. He even offers training courses to become a "Tea Sommelier."

White tea is my "dessert" after eating dinner at a restaurant.
It helped me conquer a self-induced, sugar addiction without feeling like I was depriving myself .
The website also has a great BLOG where Steve shows you how to make your own ice tea with loose leaf tea.

Shhhh... don't tell my parents... 
I'm actually going to give the ice tea container and naturally flavored organic teas to my dad for Christmas. I've slooooowly influenced him to put down the soda can, switch to ice tea or even Crystal Light (I know, chemical sweetener, but we're taking baby steps). I think some of the dessert white tea or fruit flavors (even if he has to add a little stevia to sweeten) may help him make the switch to a healthier drink.
I already know my mom will like it.
I think I paid about $28 for a 1/2 pound, but you only use a hearty pinch so it lasts a LONG time.
Some things, like loose leaf organic white tea are worth it.