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Quiz: The truth about tea

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Drinking a few cups of tea a day may be good for your health.

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Drinking a few cups of tea a day may be good for your health.

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  • Correct Answer:

We drink around a 165 million cups of tea a day in the UK. Around 66% of the British population take part in this centuries-old tradition and some studies suggest there’s a good reason why. Traditional tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and its leaves are rich in polyphenols (like thearubigin) and flavonoids (mainly the catechins) with antioxidant properties. Tea is also a rich source of fluoride and is naturally sugar-free, helping to maintain healthy teeth.

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Which variety of tea is thought to have the highest concentration of antioxidants?

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Which variety of tea is thought to have the highest concentration of antioxidants?

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  • Correct Answer:

Green tea has the richest source of the most powerful tea antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). However, all teas are rich in dietary antioxidants, but the main type differs depending on the type of tea. Green tea has been popular for centuries in China and Japan, while black tea is the most popular variety in the UK.

What’s the difference between the main varieties of tea?

What’s the difference between the main varieties of tea?

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  • Correct Answer:

The difference between the 3 main varieties of tea (green, black and oolong) is the way in which the tea leaf is processed. Green tea is made by heating or quickly steaming the leaves before drying. Black tea is made by allowing the leaves to partly dry, breaking them into smaller leaves and then allowing them to ferment which darkens the leaves and adds a stronger flavour. Once the leaf particles have changed colour they are then heated to evaporate water. Oolong tea leaves are partially fermented for less time than black tea, giving a lighter brown colour compared to black tea.

Drinking a cup of tea every day is a sure way to reduce your risk of cancer.

Drinking a cup of tea every day is a sure way to reduce your risk of cancer.

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Test-tube research seems to show that tea catechins can interfere with cancer cell growth, but the effect in humans is less clear, There’s no hard evidence that drinking tea can prevent cancer in people in general, as many factors affect cancer risk. Results with tea are inconsistent. It’s difficult to separate tea drinking from other lifestyle habits that may affect cancer risk, such as diet, smoking, alcohol use and exercise.

Drinking green tea may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing which of the following?

Drinking green tea may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing which of the following?

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  • Correct Answer:

Some studies show that drinking green tea may lessen these risk factors, but the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) doesn’t consider the current research is strong enough to allow health claims for tea. But as tea is a sugar-free, zero calorie drink, it’s a useful inclusion if you’re trying to lose weight. Weight loss as part of a healthy lifestyle will help manage your blood pressure and cholesterol, so reducing your risk of heart disease.

People who need to control their blood sugar level may benefit from drinking green tea.

People who need to control their blood sugar level may benefit from drinking green tea.

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  • Correct Answer:

There is some research evidence that green tea may help control blood glucose levels, but human research is limited. Studies using concentrated extracts of green tea appear to show a reduced digestion of starch and altered blood sugar metabolism, but only with doses of green tea far higher than usual amounts consumed. Again, the European Food Safety Authority has not found sufficient clinical evidence to support the claim that green tea, or its extract, can help you control diabetes or lose weight.

The research associated with the health benefits of green, black or oolong tea does not include herbal teas.

The research associated with the health benefits of green, black or oolong tea does not include herbal teas.

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Herbal teas are not necessarily made from the Camellia sinensis plant and many are not really teas at all. Herbal teas may be an infusion of leaves, roots, bark, seeds or flowers from other types of plants. Their health benefits, if any, will be different to that of black or green tea. These fruit teas or tisanes are a sugar-free alternative to popular tea. The only tea that is risky to health is tea or tisanes made from comfrey. Comfrey is toxic and can cause liver failure and death.

Freshly brewed green or black tea has more antioxidants than …

Freshly brewed green or black tea has more antioxidants than …

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

You get the most polyphenol antioxidants from freshly brewed tea – the stronger the brew, the more polyphenols it contains Herbal teas may contain very few polyphenols, depending on ingredients. But having more antioxidants doesn’t mean it will have a greater effect on our health. There’s a limit to how much antioxidant our body can use, so all types of tea are healthy for us – and they’re all good ways to hydrate.

To bring out the best taste in the tea, let it steep for…

To bring out the best taste in the tea, let it steep for…

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Fresh brewing is the way to get high levels of antioxidant catechins without the astringent tannins from affecting the taste of your tea. According to the UK Tea Council, the perfect brewing time depends on the type of tea and can range from 2 to 7 minutes. Many teas benefit taste-wise by being made with water just below boiling point. Water at 90C seems to be the ideal brewing temperature for nearly all teas.

A glass of iced tea contains the same general amount of antioxidants as a cup of hot tea.

A glass of iced tea contains the same general amount of antioxidants as a cup of hot tea.

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It depends on how iced tea is made as to whether it contains high levels of catechins or not. Iced tea made with hot water that is then allowed to cool down will have the same catechin level as a hot drink. Iced tea made by steeping tea leaves in cold water won’t have as high a level of catechin antioxidants, but may have some antioxidants from added ingredients such as lemon.

A blended tea, such as Earl Grey or English Breakfast, is…

A blended tea, such as Earl Grey or English Breakfast, is…

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Blended teas are made with teas of different origins, combined to achieve a certain flavour, mouthfeel and astringency. Up to 35 different teas can be blended to make sure your favourite brand has a consistent taste, even though harvesting conditions and processing may change the flavour profile of each tea.

Green tea has been shown to be good for children.

Green tea has been shown to be good for children.

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Little is known about the effects of green tea on children because all the research on green tea has been done on adults.

Which group of people should carefully monitor their consumption of green tea?

Which group of people should carefully monitor their consumption of green tea?

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  • Correct Answer:

Green tea contains caffeine and the NHS recommends that pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding should limit their intake of caffeine to no more than 200 mg a day. People with irregular heartbeats or anxiety disorders also should be cautious about how much caffeine they get, from green tea or other sources.

Drinking black tea at what time may affect your body’s ability to absorb iron?

Drinking black tea at what time may affect your body’s ability to absorb iron?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Studies on black tea taken with a meal rich in plant based iron show a potential reduction in iron uptake of 90%, and so the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia may be increased in those with few iron-rich foods in their diet. Iron uptake from meat and fish sources (called haem iron) isn’t affected by tea. To boost your uptake of iron from plant based foods, swap your drink of tea for a glass of vitamin C-containing fruit juice instead, or have your cup of tea an hour or so after eating.

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