The subject of caffeine in tea is surrounded by misunderstanding and myth, which has too often led to tea drinkers sacrificing their enjoyment of the healthy herb in the belief that caffeine in tea is excessively damaging. Whilst a new study suggests restricting tea consumption during pregnancy to four cups a day due to the potentially negative effects of caffeine on the foetus, UK Nutritionist and Scottish Food Advisory Committee member Dr. Carrie Ruxton offers important guidelines on how to manage its intake without losing the benefits in caffeine.
Dr. Ruxton cautions in Rising Kids, “A cup of tea is 99 percent water – four in ten cups of the nation’s daily fluid intake comes from tea. Tea is also high in natural plant antioxidants which are accepted to deliver health benefits. If pregnant women cut out tea without consuming other fluid sources, they might risk dehydration. Or if they switched to soft drinks, sugar intakes could increase.” She adds, ‘My research, and indeed other studies, have also concluded that a moderate caffeine intake improves physical performance by increasing fat burning and reducing feelings of exhaustion.’
Dr. Ruxton is part of the recently established Tea Advisory Panel which offers independent and expert advice on tea and its impact on human health. Amongst other matters, the Panel commented recently on an U.S. study which found that consumption of 2 cups of tea daily reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by 30% in a sample of 414 women. The study reinforced an earlier, Swedish study of 61,000 women which found that consumption of 2 or more cups of tea a day reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by 46% when compared with women who never or rarely drank tea.
The health benefits in tea are clearly potent and when considered in context of its enjoyment, variety and potential to uplift producers, can there be a better beverage?