I shouldn't have to tell you about the health benefits of tea. People have been reporting on that for years now — they love to throw around terms like "antioxidants" and "flavonoids." Here's some information from the Tea Council of the U.S.A., Inc., in case you want to steep a cuppa tea and sit down for some feel-good reading about what you're drinking. [Read: Drink tea and feel smug.]
But, let's get serious for a minute — you can hardly switch on the evening news lately without hearing about the encroaching flu season. I'm going to take the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and get my flu shot as soon as I can, and I think you should do the same. And forget about colds — with a daughter in daycare I can't wash my hands often enough to keep the germs at bay, try as I might. But I assure you, she's the cutest Petri dish you've ever seen.
All the same, I decided to look into what the Tea Council says about whether tea can help you from getting sick. Duh. Of course it can! They say theanine, an ingredient found naturally in tea, supports the immune system. Each cup of tea contains and average of 20 to 25 mg of the stuff. In a human clinical trial published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003, drinking five cups of black tea a day for two to four weeks quadrupled the body's natural resistance to infection.
So here's the part where we do a little gambling — the CDC says 30 percent of healthy adults have a chance of getting the flu, even with an annual flu shot. Curses! Drinking tea might not keep you from getting sick, but it helps your odds of staying healthy. I'll take those odds.
And when I end up catching some nasty bug this winter (it's going to happen eventually, right?) I'll reach for tea with honey just because it makes me feel better. So here's the news: Marketing Manager Bess Hammer says we'll be adding a bunch of tea-related products to our website by the end of this month, including 'Ohi'a Lehua Blossom Organic Hawaiian Honey from Big Island Bees. It's a thick honey with a fantastic floral nose that pairs well with tea, of course.
Stay tuned for other products we're going to be offering online — honey spoons, cookies and more. Cheers! And watch out for the flu.