People have been drinking tea for centuries. From ancient tea ceremonies to the best tea shops across the world today, there’s a reason that humans have enjoyed this beverage for so long. Have you ever thought, however, that eating tea leaves may be beneficial as well?
Tea is widely acknowledged as a healthy beverage, and we’re sure that you’ve gone to a non-sugary type of tea to boost your mood on more than one occasion. As a child, if you had a sore throat, Doctor Mom would probably prescribe one of two things: gargling salt water or hot tea with honey. Incorporating a variety of tea into your daily beverage intake can not only soothe your throat, but it has also been found to aid in weight-loss. With trendy teas like matcha on the rise, you probably consider yourself either a tea aficionado or someone who’s fine with a standard issue, unsweetened tea from a large brand like Lipton.
Tea experts and novices alike have something to learn about tea, though. It turns out that drinking your tea isn’t the only way to experience its health benefits. It’s said that eating tea leaves can introduce antioxidants into your body. This sounds great, but doesn’t drinking tea provide antioxidants as well? Yes, drinking tea does provide flavonoids that have been shown to be beneficial to one’s health, but the amount of antioxidants in solid leaves can be incredibly (and almost unbelievably) higher than leaves that have been brewed. One chart compares flavonoid levels in brewed green tea to solid green tea leaves. Using units of milligrams per 100 grams, it shows flavonoid levels in solid leaves as being up to over 12,000 percent higher than their brewed counterparts. If getting plenty of antioxidants is your goal (as well as some added benefits like digestive and heart health), you may want to consider nibbling the contents of your tea bag rather than brewing them.
While some people warn against eating tea leaves too frequently, a moderate consumption of tea in its solid form may prove to be something you enjoy doing every now and again. It may prove a fun experiment to try incorporating tea leaves into your next lunch or dinner recipe and seeing whether or not you enjoy this antioxidant-rich food.
The accompanying slideshow is provided by special contributor Bill Hunt.