Tea can help increase alertness, maintain cardiovascular health and is a source of antioxidants.


If tea is not your bag, it should be.

Health Canada has recently endorsed what millions of tea drinkers around the world have instinctively believed for years.

Tea’s role in maintaining good health was recognized last month by Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate. It was approved for increasing alertness, maintaining cardiovascular health and as a source of antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize the body’s free-radical molecules, which damage cells. This damage is believed to contribute to the development of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

“We often think about what we eat and we rarely think about the beverages we drink,” says Louise Roberge, president of the Tea Association of Canada.

“Tea has antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables.”

Three types of tea — black, green and oolong — were approved. Green tea extract was approved for weight management if used in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The three teas come from the same plant, but the leaves are processed differently. Black and oolong tea leaves undergo crushing and fermenting while green tea leaves are withered and steamed.

Canada’s $319-million tea market reflects our per capita consumption, which has increased almost 50 per cent in the past 10 years, according to the tea association. Canadians show a sense of adventure in the teas they consume, particularly the many flavoured options, Roberge notes.

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