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The rough things make their way into your tea

I thought I was a minority, but my love of tea is not so unique: Tea is the most popular drink in the world besides water. Yes, it's even better than coffee. I love tea for the different flavors, but it does not hurt that it also has some health benefits. Some studies have shown that the anti-oxidants contained in the tea leaf prevent cancer, improve metabolic and cardiovascular function, and even slow down the progression of degenerative diseases (Parkinson's and Alzheimer's). With this info in my pocket, I was confident that my swallowing would drive me up.

When I first heard that tea bags can sneak into rather crunchy ingredients, I was shocked. Under no circumstance. Not possible. I decided to dig something and investigate how problematic my afternoon pick-me-up could be. Is not it just throwing a tea bag in hot water? If you regularly enjoy a leisurely afternoon cup of tea, look out for those super-tasting ingredients that lurk in your mug.


OK, so we obviously do not share anything new by telling you that exposure to pesticides is probably not that good for your health. But if tea is not something you would normally associate with the dangers of agrochemicals, think again.

Several studies have been carried out in recent years, and each has concluded that pesticides are present in a ton of teas: a 201

2 study found pesticides in 100 percent of the teas tested; In a follow-up study from 2014, pesticides were detected in 94 percent of the samples. Worse yet, many of the brands contained quantities considered unsafe for normal consumption. The FDA's 2014 pesticide report found an unacceptable level of pesticide in 57 percent of retail teas tested.

Not what you expected in your mug, right? Here's the point: Occasional pesticide exposures are unlikely to cause devastating health problems. The challenge is that the long-term consequences of pesticide use are not final, but a study like this shows that it can not be good. If you drink tea on a regular basis, this is definitely something to be careful about.

Heavy metals

What you may not have known is that drinking tea can contribute to your daily calcium intake, potassium, magnesium and zinc. However, these are not the only minerals in your brew.

A study published in the Journal of Toxicology examined toxic elements in a variety of common tea brands, and the results are quite worrying. Seventy-three percent of the brewed teas contained lead when soaked for the standard time of 3-4 minutes, and the amount was even higher when soaked longer. Um, in my tea lead? Thanks, next. They also found potentially unsafe levels of aluminum, cadmium and, oh yes, arsenic. I bet you're wondering how the devil leads into a teabag? Companies would never purposely add these toxins to products (or at least we would like that.) To think that they would not do it); It really all depends on where the tea was grown. Heavy metals inevitably accumulate on tea plantations in the soil as they are near coal-fired power plants, industrial waste and the use of pesticides.

A disadvantage is that young tea leaves contain a lower content of heavy metals compared to mature tea because their roots have had less time to absorb the toxic elements in the soil. The only problem is that young leaves are usually more expensive, and most large tea companies rely on ripe leaves for their product.


If you think the leaves themselves are the only problem in your teacup, then you're wrong. You know these chic-looking teabags that are shaped like little silk pyramids? You probably thought that these were made of some material … no. They are typically made of plastic: polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polypropylene, to be exact. Again, not the first thing you instinctively soak in a cup of boiling water before you drink it.

Although there are not a lot of studies that express this for us, here and here I'll make a well-founded bet that plastic tea bags are a bit lazy because of the chance that they have BPA and other endocrine disruptors Leach chemicals into your drink and why many reusable plastic water bottles and food storage containers are now BPA-free. Bisphenol A (BPA) has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and serious reproductive problems. Then there's the whole laundry list of estrogen-mimicking chemicals that can destroy the entire reproductive system and even increase cancer risk.

If you apply this information to tea, these chemicals are likely to be dissolved out of your plastic tea bags and into your cup, just as they would leach into a disposable plastic bottle. The history of tea drinking is estimated to be almost 3,000 years, but it was only after the Second World War that people began to use tea bags in the infusion process. And it's too bad that they started because tea tastes much better when you use loose leaves, and you can get a delightful little infuser like this guy.

Artificial Flavor

One of the most deceitful things tea companies can do is cheat them into thinking they're drinking something they are not. If you drink something with a name like raspberry pizzaz or tropical sunset, there are generally no real raspberries or mangos in this teabag.

This is because food and taste engineers are masters at using synthetic chemicals to create flavors that mimic those of real foods. Oh, and do not let me start with all the FDA loopholes that companies use to identify something natural, not artificial. It is essentially a code for all types of chemicals that do not need to be listed explicitly. Read your labels and always buy organic if possible.

Please tell me something positive.

We also have good news. Many of the topics just discussed have made great progress. China promised to impose stricter pesticide regulations in 2017, and many large tea companies switched to plastic-free tea bags and more biodegradable options.

And you can now have your tea grown on site. Yes, that's right: American-made tea becomes a thing. What used to grow almost exclusively in China and India is now grown in our own backyards. Tea can thrive only in very specific climatic conditions, but there are regions in the United States where relatively large farms can flourish, particularly in tropical Hawaii, California, and some parts of the Southeast.

Where do we go from here?

OK, so we know there was a lot to do. We can see you pushing the cup away – but you do not have to. We're not trying to freak you out, we're just putting all the facts together so you can make better-informed decisions and examine your favorite brands to make sure they make all the right calls. Because we are serious, tea can be super good for you. It's all about figuring out what to look for and knowing where to buy quality stuff.

The best way to avoid potentially harmful ingredients is to purchase organic tea, which is ideally loose leaves. Organic tea leaves are not sprayed with pesticides like their non-biological counterparts, making them a much healthier choice. Loose-leaf tea is often of higher quality (which usually means younger leaves and less heavy metals), and you can buy compostable tea filters or stainless steel tea strainer that are just as practical as the prepackaged alternative.

Don & # 39; t But we do not have to leave the task of finding healthy tea in high quality. We've done some digging to identify some of the best tea brands that you can feel sure you're drinking. Numi Tea, Traditional Medicinals (especially herbs, but still a good choice), Mighty Leaf Tea, Mountain Rose Herbs, Vahdam Tees and the Little Red Cup Tea Co. are all great options. And do not forget the local teashops where you can talk to people who really know what they know to know all the details.

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