Health benefits of tea revealed

There is now even more reason to enjoy a cup of tea with a new review of existing research showing the humble cuppa can help prevent a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University’s School of Medical and Health Sciences examined more than 100 studies from around the world that have looked at tea consumption.

They found that black, white and green tea can reduce the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

The findings could offer some hope to the more than 65 million people expected to be living with Alzheimer’s disease by 2030.

Likewise, some 5.1 million deaths worldwide were attributed to diabetes in 2013, a figure that is growing annually.

Flavonoids key

ECU Centre for Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Care Research Fellow Dr Fernando said the review offered new lines of enquiry for scientists.

“There is strong evidence that tea consumption can lower the levels of beta amyloid b (Aβ) in the brain, the build-up of which can cause Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

“In particular a number of studies have found that the flavonoid Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is found in tea, can reduce the levels of Aβ in the brain, which could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

Diabetes risk down

The researchers also examined the evidence that tea consumption could be protective against diabetes.

“Both population-based studies as well as human clinical trials have shown a link between tea consumption and a reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes,” Dr Binosha said.

“One study found that drinking tea could result in a significant reduction in the symptoms of diabetes, including a 15-fold increase in insulin activity. Low insulin activity is a major risk factor for diabetes. ”

Next steps

“Overall, tea appears to offer a safe and acceptable approach toward lowering the risk factors associated with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr Fernando said.

“What is needed now is more randomised, clinical trials which are placebo controlled using standardised doses to determine exactly the manner, type and amount of tea required to achieve these beneficial results.”

Lifestyle factors

ECU’s Centre for Excellence for Alzheimer’s disease Research and Care has also recently identified depression and trouble sleeping as potential risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Centre is also currently investigating if a combination of the spice circimun and fish oil can potentially delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

‘Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease: Can Tea Phytochemicals Play a Role in Prevention?’ was recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.


Carrie Bickmore wins Twinings Design Challenge

Carrie Bickmore has won the Twinings Design Challenge with her packaging design remaining on shelf in supermarkets nationally for the next four years.

Ten cents for every pack of Twinings Morning Tea sold will be donated to Carrie’s chosen charity; Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer.

Tens and tens of thousands of votes were cast placing Carrie ahead of Emma Freedman, Samantha Harris and Nicole Kidman.

“My design was inspired by my childhood. Music and dance was always a massive part of my life, I was a ballet dancer as a child, and I’m always the first and last on the dance floor,” said Bickmore.

“Music has been my sanctuary through the tougher times of my life, and some of the happy. I thought music and movement would be something Australian women can all relate to.”

“And to be able to continue supporting my charity, Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, helping fund vital research into brain cancer is a phenomenal opportunity – I can’t thank everyone enough who voted for my design, this means the world to me.”

What science says about getting the most out of your tea

Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Tea is personal; everyone has opinions about making the perfect cup. But what does science say about getting the most out of your brew? The Conversation

It’s not the only reason to drink it, but tea consumption is linked to a number of health benefits. It’s thought to improve mood and cognition, and reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Tea is a source of micronutrients, including fluoride, magnesium, and zinc. However, the health benefits are mostly linked to three main bioactive compounds; Catechins, caffeine and L-theanine. Bioactive compounds are non-essential nutrients that may impact health.

Laboratory and animal studies have suggested these compounds may have multiple health effects. But, the results in human studies are much less clear. Catechins are a type of polyphenol, a group of chemicals with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent cell damage. Caffeine makes you feel alert and the amino acid L-theanine is believed to be responsible for tea’s relaxing properties. These compounds also contribute to your brew’s taste and mouthfeel.

Which tea is healthiest?

Black, oolong, white and green teas all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The differences come from the harvest timing and processing, particularly the level of oxidation, a reaction that occurs when processed leaves are exposed to high oxygen levels. Black tea is fully oxidized, oolong is partially oxidized, while green and white teas are unoxidized. White teas are from early harvests, green from later.

Processing has little impact on L-theanine, with similar levels found in all teas. Caffeine levels vary widely, however black tea typically has the most. Catechins are altered by oxidisation, so levels are highest in green and white teas.

More antioxidants and less caffeine means green tea is typically considered the healthier option. So green tea has been the focus of most studies of the health benefits. However, all teas are a good source of L-theanine, caffeine and catechins.

But, be warned. Having “tea” on the label doesn’t guarantee bioactive content or health benefits. Pre-packaged iced teas and instant teas may have limited bioactives and can be high in sugar. Herbal and fruit teas don’t contain any actual tea leaf, and so properties vary.

Excessive consumption of tea can also be harmful, leading to over consumption of caffeine. Tannins, which are another group of polyphenols in tea can also bind to iron and reduce iron absorption if consumed with or soon after a meal.

Brew science

Getting the maximum health benefit from your cuppa is more about the brewing than the tea you choose.

Patience is important. If you are jiggling the tea bag around in the cup for 15-30 seconds, you are probably only getting a fraction of the bioactives you would by following the maker’s instructions.

Brewing with freshly boiled water for two to three minutes, as per the instructions, extracts about 60% of the catechins, 75% of the caffeine and 80% of the L-theanine. The longer you brew the more bioactives you get, but also the stronger the taste. Research has found that brewing for 20-30 minutes at 80°C extracts the maximum level of bioactives, but that’s not really practical for daily life, and probably isn’t very tasty!

Interestingly, the pH of water also impacts the extraction process. Low pH (acidic) water extracts bioactives better than high pH (basic) water. The pH of tap water is about seven, which is neutral, so there might be a benefit to adding lemon with your tea, rather than after its brewed.

Tea in the microwave?

The idea of making tea in the microwave is horrifying for purists. It’s argued microwaves are inferior to kettles for heating water, as there is less control over the temperature. But the microwave could actually be a useful tool for extracting more bioactives.

Microwaves can actually increase the levels of bioactives in your cup. Adding freshly boiled water to the teabag, steeping for 30 seconds, followed by a minute in the microwave (medium power) extracts more bioactives than a standard three minute steep.

Does milk change the health benefits of tea?

Some studies have suggested milk alters the antioxidant activity and health benefits of tea.

But others have shown the same level of antioxidants reach the blood after consuming tea with and without milk. There’s no real science behind the age old question of when the milk should be added. The Royal Society of Chemistry suggests adding it first prevents denaturation, or clumping, of milk proteins, which might give the milk a stale taste.

Milk probably doesn’t affect how healthy the tea is.

Loose leaf vs teabags

Loose leaf may contain more bioactives because they use higher quality leaves. But leaves in teabags are cut smaller, and this is thought to enhance the extraction process.

Lower quality teas may also include more stems, which are higher in L-theanine than the leaves. So while fancy loose leaf might taste better, you probably get more bang for buck from a humble tea bag.

Health benefits might not be the only reason we choose to drink tea, but if you want to get the most out of your cup, patience is the key. Whichever type of tea you choose, the longer you brew, the more goodness in each cup.

Emma Beckett, Postdoctoral Fellow (Human Molecular Nutrition), School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle and Quan V Vuong, Senior Lecturer in Food Science & Human Nutrition, University of Newcastle

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Top image: Morgan Sessions/Unsplash, CC BY-SA




Finalists named in Twinings design challenge

The top four finalists of the Twinings Design Challenge are Carrie Bickmore, Emma Freedman, Samantha Harris and Nicole Kidman.

Packs of Twinings Morning Tea blend featuring the four designs hit shelves from today. They were chosen by a judging panel including Archibald Prize judge Ashley Dawson-Damer, out of a field of 33 incredible designs.

Ten cents from every pack of Twinings Morning Tea sold will be contributed towards the top four’s charities of choice; Carrie Bickmore – Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, Emma Freedman – Captain Courageous Foundation, Samantha Harris – Make-A-Wish Australia, and Nicole Kidman – Variety: The Children’s Charity.

Australians will have a chance to vote for their favourite design and voting is open, running between now to 8th May.

Whichever celebrity accumulates the most votes will have her design remain on shelf, where 10c from every pack sold will be contributed to her charity of choice over the next four years.

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Boutea Premium Tea launched

Boutea, a loose leaf tea founded by Australian rugby union player Adam Ashley Cooper, is now available in Australia.

The range consists of four varieties: English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Green Citrus and Peppermint. Whilst the English Breakfast sticks to traditional roots of full-bodied flavour and maple colour, the Earl Grey delivers a strong floral aroma with a well-structured and creamy body.

For fans of herbal teas, the addition of citrus peel balances the earthiness of traditional green tea in the Green Citrus blend whereas the Peppermint delivers a slightly restrained peppermint profile ensuring you can finish the whole cup.

Whilst living in Canberra and playing for the Brumbies, Ashley Cooper discovered his love of tea. Outside of playing, training and sleeping, he and his team mates created a ritual of going to cafés together to socialise off the field.

During this time, he lived next door to tea connoisseur Jody Hillier who introduced him to the many intricacies of the world of tea. Their shared passion for a remarkable brew resulted in a partnership where five years later, Boutea was born.

This premium tea is now available for purchase via the company’s website. As well as the taste, the simple yet classic black and white aesthetics is intended to create a visual point of difference from other teas on the market.

Coca-Cola shakes up the iced tea category as Fuze Tea launches in Australia

Coca-Cola South Pacific has today announced the launch of ice tea brand FUZE TEA in Australia, supported by a multi-million dollar marketing push.

The brand aims to deliver an aspirational iced tea offering to consumers and is positioned as a premium alternative within the category.

Through its dynamic range of flavours, FUZE TEA will celebrate 'surprising fusions that are deliciously good', as part of the brand's strategy to shake up the category for new and existing iced tea drinkers.

The FUZE TEA range includes five different tea types and flavours that will appeal to those who are looking for an unexpected yet delicious drink while they entertain or socialise.

Flavours include Wild Raspberry & Hibiscus, Summer Mango & Chamomile, Juicy Peach, Crisp Apple & Lemongrass and Zesty Lemon, made from a variety of teas including black, green and rooibos. Three of the five variants are low kilojoule and are sweetened with stevia.

FUZE TEA will primarily target the adult social occasion with a focus on capturing the attention of women in the 18-49 age bracket.

The launch of FUZE TEA is backed by a multi-channel marketing strategy. In the coming months, the brand will launch a series of high-impact marketing initiatives including a TVC, out-of-home, PR and digital activity.

A key pillar of the strategy is a partnership with Channel 7's My Kitchen Rules, with full integration across the show's platforms.

This includes FUZE TEA championed as a signature 'welcome drink' for contestants when they host their Instant Restaurants at their homes while there will be further product placement which will appear on the show throughout the season.

Emma Harper, Brand Manager, FUZE TEA, Coca-Cola South Pacific said: "FUZE TEA is an exciting brand that we are delighted to bring to market in Australia.

We see a big opportunity to breathe some new life into the category and offer consumers a genuinely new proposition with new flavours and fusions that will change the way they think about iced tea.

"Watch this space as we continue to evolve FUZE TEA in the coming months. In the mean time, we look forward to seeing consumers embrace the brand and its proposition.

Over time, we'd like to see FUZE TEA at the heart of social occasions, associated with relaxing and good times with friends."

New steamer wins Australian award

Coffee Machine Technologies’ ‘Viper’ multi-purpose steamer has won the Best New Australian Made Product Award at the food industry’s largest trade event, Fine Food Australia.

 The Viper steamer is made in Victoria using all Australian-made components and can froth milk manually or automatically and dispense hot water for tea.
The prize for winning the award is a licence to use the Australian Made logo, paid in full for one year. The iconic green-and-gold kangaroo logo is Australia’s only registered country-of-origin certification trademark for the full range of genuine Aussie products and produce.
Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, welcomed Coffee Machine Technologies onboard and congratulated the team on their win.
“Coffee Machine Technologies’ commitment to Australian manufacturing is commendable and we look forward to helping the company promote its great quality Australian Made products to the world,” Mr Harrison said
“The Australian Made Campaign is proud to support the food and foodservice industries through the Fine Food Best New Australian Made Product Award.” 
“We are very excited to have won the award for ‘Best New Australian Made Product’,” Coffee Machine Technologies Managing Director, John Colangeli said.
Runners up for the award were Queensland Plastics, for its preparation board, and Kialla Pure Foods for its ‘Plate 2 Farm Tracker’ software.