Weight Management – Plans for Holiday Survival!

Louise’s top 5 tips for festive survival

In November cooler days come our way across Canada, and maybe some of you are starting to think about the winter holidays. As a tea lover I find so much pleasure in giving, sharing and enjoying tea that I hope my early tips for holiday survival will set you up for a healthy and relaxing season.


Source: Flickr

1. Choose your beverages wisely

Many of us forget to check our liquid calories which can add up quickly. Did you know that tea is 99% water and is an all-natural zero calorie beverage? Water is the perfect beverage recommended by health professionals as a healthy choice. Water, like tea, also helps your body stay hydrated, contributes to optimal physical and mental performance and most importantly, helps you eat less if you drink before and during meals! Thousands of published studies in leading medical journals support the potential health benefits of drinking tea. In fact, the December 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published 12 studies, including those showing that tea has been found to help promote weight loss.

Calories card

2. Host a tea party

Did you know that When the word “tea” is used to describe a mealtime, it refers to the mid to late afternoon meal that is traditional in England and other countries with British roots. At this meal, tea is served along with finger foods such as sandwiches and scones.

A get-together with tea and friends brings out the best of both the worlds. Small sandwiches (cucumber, watercress, salmon etc.), and small dessert bites make for a wonderful departure from the regular heavy food focused party fare and offer the perfect pairing for food and friend enjoyment. And there are so many varieties of teas to choose from – whether it be black, green, oolong or white. Not only does tea taste great, but there is a large and growing body of research backing it as a healthy, good for you beverage. You can create a unique event by offering a selection of different teas. Visit tea.ca for recipe ideas and tea & food pairings to help in planning a TEArrific get-together that will bring out the best in your friendships.

3. Take time to relax and refresh

So put your worries aside and start sipping! Tea is a refreshing and relaxing drink and is considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle. Taking a break with a soothing hot drink can help you relax and reduce stress. It’s easy to brew a terrific cup of tea, either from loose leaf tea or tea bags. Always bring water to a rolling boil. For black tea, use water that has just boiled and for green, oolong and white teas, use water that is 80°C (185° Fahrenheit) Then, pour water directly onto tea leaves or bag. Do not over-brew your tea which means removing the tea bag or infuser after 5 minutes of steeping for black teas, and after 1-3 minutes for green, oolong and white teas. You’re now ready to sit back and enjoy the best cup of tea. For full instructions visit our Tea Types & Steeping Instructions page.

4. Boost your mood and stay alert

Drinking tea can improve attention and some people find it allows them to be more focused on the task at hand. In a recent study, subjects who drank tea produced more accurate results during a task that required focused attention and also felt more alert than subjects who drank a placebo that did not contain tea. These effects were found for two to three cups of tea consumed within 90 minutes. It is thought that caffeine and the amino acid theanine, both present in tea, contribute to many of tea’s psychological benefits. [1]

5. Give a gift of tea and health

It’s November and with that the holiday season (and shopping) is right around the corner. Tea is a healthy beverage and who wouldn’t love to receive a gift of specially selected tea, tea pot or a lovely mug? Here are some terrific tea related gift ideas.

  • Teapot: Tea tastes better brewed in a teapot. Why not surprise someone special with a unique tea pot this season?
  • Tea table book: Any book about teas is sure to be well-received by tea lovers. Look for tips on different styles of teas, and interesting details for tea enthusiast to soak up while they enjoy their favourite cup of tea.
  • Tea box: These are a great way to store envelopes of tea. They’re sure to be a big hit for those that love their tea and want to have a variety on hand to use and share.
  • A beautiful tea cup: A new mug that is unique and personalized is sure to be favoured by any tea lover.

Woman holding winter cup close up on light background. Woman han

To shop, visit our Find a Retailer page to locate a tea shop near you or online.

I wish you all the best of the season and do feel good about enjoying and sharing tea as part of a healthy lifestyle.



[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/6/1700S.full

5 Tips on Everyday Superfoods for Heart Health!

By Lucia Weiler BSc, RD

October is a month of harvest plenty and Thanksgiving. It’s a great time to take a look at what we can do to take care of our health and wellness. Did you know that making a few simple positive lifestyle changes and sticking to them over time can make a big difference in your heart health? Here are my top 5 nutrition tips to help you embrace heart health.

Photo: Nana B Agyei

Photo: Nana B Agyei

1. Omega-3 Fats[1]

Omega-3 fats are essential fats that your body can’t make from scratch so it must get them from food. Omega 3 fats also deliver some big health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease. For example, Omega-3 fats appear to help keep the heart beating steadily and reducing the risk of potentially fatal arrhythmias. Omega-3 fats also help lower blood pressure, improve blood vessel function, and lower triglycerides – blood fats linked to heart disease and diabetes. Research has also found that omega-3 fatty acids prevent blood clots and may ease inflammation, which plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis.[2]

Foods high in Omega-3 include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least two servings of fish each week; a serving is 75 g (2.5 oz.).Other foods that contain omega 3 fats include some vegetable oils (Canola), nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables. Some foods may be enriched with omega-3 fats such as eggs, yogurt and margarine.

2. Whole Grains and Fibre

Research shows that people who eat more whole grains may have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.[3]

To help reduce the risk of heart disease choose to get more fibre from whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit.

Oatmeal and other whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, rye, millet, quinoa, brown rice, and wild rice also help reduce the risk of diabetes, which in itself is a risk factor for heart disease.

Photo: Rachel Hathaway

Photo: Rachel Hathaway

A healthy diet includes 25-38 grams of fibre a day and many people only get about half the amount of fibre they need. You can get more fibre in your diet by making small changes that add up over time. Boost your veggie and fruit intake (see next tip #3) and include whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds in your meals and snacks. When grocery shopping, compare food labels and choose foods with 2 to 4 grams of fibre per serving.

3. Veggies and Fruit

Eat your F&V’s says comedian Jimmy Kimmel referring to fruit and veggies of course. I couldn’t agree more. Grab your F&V’s for a snack on the go, make them HALF your plate whenever you’re eating a meal! Any F & V counts and eating 5-10 servings every day may help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Many F&V’s are rich compounds that can work as antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants are natural plant compounds that have powerful health benefits. The darker the colour the better. Powerhouse dark colour veggies include broccoli, spinach, red peppers, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries just to name a few.

Tip – Frozen and canned fruit and veggies are harvested and packed at their peak, and have about the same nutritional value as their fresh version. Remember to check labels for NO added sugar or salt.

4. Nuts and Seeds – Choose them more often!

Scientific evidence suggests that eating ¼ cup of nuts or seeds as part of a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Because they contain unsaturated fat and soluble fiber, just a small amount of nuts or seeds each day can help reduce damaging high levels LDL cholesterol. Most nuts and seeds are also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that is also thought to help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease or a heart attack.

5. Tea[4] (Brewed Camellia Sinensis) 

tea time

The natural plant compounds found in tea called flavonoids have powerful health benefits. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlighted that drinking tea helps lower the risk for heart disease and stroke. Researchers in Australia found that regular consumption of 3 cups of black tea a day can result in significantly lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor of disease and small decrease in blood pressure from dietary changes may have significant benefits.

Tea contains naturally occurring compounds called flavonoids that can function as antioxidants, but researchers are finding benefits that go well beyond. While investigators are still exploring the various mechanisms by which tea flavonoids function, studies suggest multifunctional mechanism that work in tandem to improve cardiovascular health.

Lucia Weiler is a nutrition communications professional living in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Chemistry from the University of Toronto, and an accreditation by the College of Dietitians of Ontario. As a food and nutrition expert, she specializes in marketing, education, and regulatory affairs related to food and beverages. Lucia offers insightful nutrition trends presentations and workshops as the co-founder of Nutrition for NON-NutritionistsTM . Lucia is also a faculty member at Humber College School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism and she regularly contributes to media and trade publications.  

[1] Harvard School of Public Health sourced http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/

[2]  Leaf A. Prevention of sudden cardiac death by n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. J Cardiovasc Med.(Hagerstown). 2007; 8 Suppl 1:S27-29.

[3] Dietitians of Canada, Eatright Ontario sourced http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Fibre/Focus-on-Fibre.aspx#.VgYnA_lVhBc

[4] Am J Clin Nutr December 2013

Back to School: Stress, Heart Health, and Coping

With the breezy days of summer behind us September can bring about a lot of change. Kids are going back to school and new fall routines kick in. Maybe like many Canadians you too find that fall can be a new balancing act as you’re juggling new routines that cause levels of stress rise now and then.

Photo: Courtney Dirks

Photo: Courtney Dirks

Did you know that stress affects your heart health? Research shows that too much stress can harm your heart and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.[1] Stressors include not just major life events such as moving or starting school but also daily events such as traffic jams, meeting deadlines or facing conflicts.  The level of stress you experience and how you react to it can lead to a wide variety of health problems[2] including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats.

A great deal of research has been published on tea’s health benefits and tea has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is a risk factor of heart disease and small decrease in blood pressure from dietary changes may have significant benefits. Researchers in Australia found that regular consumption of 3 cups of black tea a day can result in significantly lower blood pressures. “There is unequivocal evidence that tea as a lifestyle factor can impact health,” said Dr. Carol Greenwood, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. “Drinking tea should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”


Knowing your stressors can also help you choose strategies that are right for you. There are three basic types of coping skills for stress. 3 One is physical such as exercise, deep breathing and healthy eating. Another type of coping skill is mental such as positive thinking or meditation. The third type of coping skill is personal or social. “Take a time out! Make an extra effort to experience the good in your life. Seek out things that make you happy and that matter most to you.” advises the Heart and Stroke Foundation. All three types of stress coping skills are useful to help you deal with stress in your life and you may find one more helpful than another depending on your particular situation.[3]

Everyone feels stress in different ways and knowing where your stressors come from and what to do about it is an important first step in managing your health. Many people find tea a refreshing and relaxing drink.

Tea originates from the Camellia sinensis plant, and has been used for hundreds of years to help with relaxation. Recently TAC TEA SOMMELIERTM/SM Professionals have been trained in the art and science of tea. Here are our TAC TEA SOMMELIERTM/SM Professionals’ tips for brewing a delicious and relaxing tea:

Brewing Instructions

Use one teaspoon of loose tea or one teabag per cup (five to eight ounces).

  1. Begin by bringing fresh drawn cold water to a rolling boil.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the black tea leaves or teabags to release the best flavour. Never add tea leaves or teabags to the water.
  3. Cover and let the tea steep for three to five minutes then remove tea leaves or bag.

Note: For green tea, do not use boiling water but let it cool for a few minutes before pouring. Steep only for 3 minutes.

More information about heart health and tea is available at www.tea.ca

Closeup of an open notebook and a cup of hot tea on a rustic white wood table. High angle shot in horizontal format.

[1] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3484039/k.3548/Heart_disease__Reduce_your_stress.htm?gclid=CITxoOyumscCFYVAaQod8zEBQg

[2] American Heart Association Stress and Heart Health http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/HowDoesStressAffectYou/Stress-and-Heart-Health_UCM_437370_Article.jsp

[3] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Coping with Stress http://www.heartandstroke.com/atf/cf/%7B99452D8B-E7F1-4BD6-A57D-B136CE6C95BF%7D/coping-with-stress-en.pdf

All About Caffeine

Caffeine is world’s most widely consumed stimulant and has been consumed for thousands of years. Caffeine is found naturally in many plant-based foods and the main sources in the Western diet are coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate) products and cola products1. Canadians get about 60% of caffeine from coffee and 30% from tea. Tea contains 66% less caffeine compared to an equal-sized serving of coffee, but enough to provide the cognitive benefits. This means that most people can consume about 8 cups of tea a day compared to only 2 cups of coffee a day and stay below the moderate caffeine intake of 400mg/day.  Tea is also the world’s second most popular beverage after water which is good news for consumers who are looking for a drink that tastes great and is better for them. There are many types, forms and flavours of tea to discover whether it be black, green, oolong or white.


Many Canadians reach for their favourite caffeinated beverage, for a temporary energy boost or to elevate their mood. Because of caffeine’s wide-spread consumption its effects on human health have been extensively studied1. Caffeine is known to increase alertness and reduce fatigue.  Scientists have shown that caffeine’s cognitive benefits not only increase alertness, but also improve reaction time, and it seems like many people can perform complex tasks better, and their memory is improved as well. Caffeine has also been recently linked to weight loss and consequent reduction of the overall risks for developing the metabolic syndrome. Preliminary research is looking at other benefits of caffeine. For example, some people (mostly men) who consume caffeine regularly have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease according to scientists at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston2.

Although in healthy adults, a small amount of caffeine may have positive effects including increased alertness and concentration, some people find that caffeine disturbs sleep, causes headaches, and makes them irritable and nervous3. After consuming caffeine, it is absorbed quickly in the gut, and it takes only 15 to 20 minutes to get into your blood. Caffeine levels in the blood peak at 60–90 minutes after consumption. On average half of the caffeine you consumed would be broken down in 2-4 hours, but in some people the effects of caffeine can last up to 10 hours4.

If caffeine is an issue for you, knowing how much caffeine is in your food and drink is an important step in taking charge of your intake.

Just released data from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) outlines the scientific opinion on the safety of caffeine consumption. The report concluded that for healthy adults, with the exception of pregnant women, single doses of caffeine up to 200 mg and total daily caffeine consumption of up to 400 mg are safe5. This recommendation is consistent with Health Canada’s guidelines on caffeine consumption which state that for the average adult, moderate daily caffeine intake at levels of 400 mg/day is not associated with any adverse effects6. Specific advice on moderating caffeine intake applies to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (300 mg/day) and children (45-85 mg/day)6. EFSA guidelines suggest consumption up to 200 mg per day by pregnant and nursing women.


Figure 1. Tea Association of Canada’s Caffeine Content Graphic

Figure 1 (above) provides typical caffeine levels found in standard 250 ml (1 cup) servings of tea and coffee. Actual caffeine levels are dependent upon specific blends and strength of the brew. On average, there is 45 mg of caffeine in a cup of tea which is about 66 % less caffeine than the amount found in a cup of coffee6. This means that most people can consume about 8 cups of tea OR 2 cups of coffee a day and stay below the caffeine intake at levels of 400 mg/day.

Bottom Line

Caffeine is a natural compound and is considered safe when consumed in moderation. Tea is calorie-free and all-natural beverage that contains 66% less caffeine of compared to an equal-sized serving of coffee, but still enough to provide the cognitive benefits. Enjoy herbal teas or decaffeinated teas if you want to limit caffeinated beverages.

More information is available at www.tea.ca

[1] Heckman MA, Weil J, Gonzalez de Mejia E. Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) in foods: a comprehensive review on consumption, functionality, safety, and regulatory matters. J Food Sci. 2010 Apr [cited 2013 Feb 20];75(3):R77-87. Abstract available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20492310

[2] Palacios N, et al, Caffeine and risk of Parkinson’s disease in a large cohort of men and women. Mov Disord. 2012 Sep 1;27(10):1276-82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22927157

[3] Dietitians of Canada, Caffeine and Health Sourced July 2015 http://www.dietitians.ca/Dietitians-Views/Food-Regulation-and-Labelling/Caffeine-and-Health.aspx

[4] Dietitians of Canada, Eatright Ontario https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Caffeine/Facts-on-Caffeine.aspx

[5] European Food Safety Authority, Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine, EFSA Journal 2015; 13(5):4102 doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4102 http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4102.htm

[6] Health Canada, Caffeine in Food. 2012-02-16,  Retrieved from  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/addit/caf/food-caf-aliments-eng.php (July 2015)

Drink Tea for Your Health

You may wonder what makes tea a healthy beverage. Scientists think that it’s the natural plant compounds found in tea called flavonoids that have powerful health benefits. Flavonoids can function as antioxidants but researchers are finding benefits that go well beyond. While investigators are still exploring the various mechanisms by which tea flavonoids function, studies suggest multifunctional mechanism that work in tandem to improve cardiovascular health. TAC_flavonoid_postcard_ENG A great deal of research on tea’s flavonoids focus on cardiovascular health benefits and this blog gives you a glimpse of the evidence available on tea flavonoids and heart health. – A recently published review article by researchers from the University of L’Aquila in Italy found that both green and black tea can improve the health of our blood vessels and highlighted that even as little as 1-2 cups/day of tea, combined with a healthy diet, could lower risk of heart disease. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/6/1660S.full. – Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that consuming one cup of tea per day may reduce incidence of stroke and heart attacks by 8 to 10 percent. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/6/1651S –  Earlier human population studies found that people who regularly consume 3 or more cups of Black tea per day have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.  [1] [2] – High blood pressure is a risk factor of disease and small decrease in blood pressure from dietary changes may have significant benefits. Researchers in Australia found that regular consumption of 3 cups of black tea a day can result in significantly lower blood pressures.[3] – A major study published in the September 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming five or more cups a day of green tea was associated with a 26 percent lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.[4]

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you think you know about tea? Test your knowledge by answering questions on our Facebook Page.

In summary, important areas of heart health benefits of tea & flavonoids include:

  • cardiovascular health
  • blood vessel and endothelial function
  • blood pressure
  • dyslipidemia
  • inflammation
  • oxidative damage

Recipes for more ways to enjoy tea for your health! Brewed green tea with mint Green tea comes from the plant camellia sinensis. Immediately after harvesting tea leaves are steamed or heated to prevent oxidation and then rolled and dried, creating a delicate taste that is light green colour and very refreshing. Due to the more delicate nature of green teas there are special guidelines for green tea preparation. The key to making delicious green tea is to use hot (not boiling water) and only steep it for 3 minutes.

  • Bring water to a rolling boil. Let water cool for a few minutes so it’s about 80 Celsius.
  • Use one bag of tea, or if using loose green tea leaves measure one teaspoon per cup into an infuser.
  • Pour hot water (not boiling water) directly onto tea leaves or tea bag
  • Steep for about 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags or the infuser.
  • Add a few sprigs of mint leaves and use a slice of lemon for serving.
  • For Mint Iced Tea – pour prepared tea and mint leaves over a glass of ice and enjoy.

Cinnamon Iced Tea TAC TEA SOMMELIER™/℠ Professional’s tip: Pour a cup of boiling water over black tea and a cinnamon stick. Steep for 4 minutes, let cool then pour over an ice-filled glass. If desired, use a slice of lemon for serving. Enjoy! Cinnamon Black Tea  – TAC TEA SOMMELIER™/℠ Professional’s tip: Pour a cup of boiling water over black tea and a cinnamon stick. Steep 4 minutes. If desired, use a slice of lemon for serving. Enjoy!

Photo: Thinstock

Photo: Thinstock

ADAPTED by L. Weiler RD FROM: Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Healthy-Iced-Tea-Flavors-Iced-Tea-Recipes#ixzz3cRLIAXXI

[1] Larsson SC, et al. Black tea consumption and risk of stroke in women and men. Ann Epidemiol 2013 Mar, 23(3):157-60.

[2] Arab L, et al. Green and Black Tea Consumption and Risk of Stroke. A Meta-Analysis. Stroke 2009;40(5):1786-92

[3] Hodgson Jonathan M. et al, Effects of Black Tea on Blood Pressure: A Randomized Controlled Trial , Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(2):186-188. doi:10.1001/archinte.172.2.186. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1108657

[4] Shinichi Kuriyama, et al. Green Tea Consumption and Mortality Due to Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and All Causes in Japan (The Ohsaki Study) JAMA. 2006;296(10):1255-1265. doi:10.1001/jama.296.10.1255. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=203337

Satisfy Your Thirst with Tea

Did you know that after water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world? Staying well hydrated is so important to good health since losing as little as 1 to 2% of body weight from fluids can impair physical performance and our ability to think.[1] If you are like most people, about 80% of your total fluid intake comes from drinking water and other beverages.[2] Tea is 99.5% water and it counts towards your daily fluid intake. Tea is known for its many health benefits, so drinking tea is also good for you! Read on about how to satisfy your thirst with tea! [#TeaForYourHealth]
Easy Tea From A Teabag Versus Quality Brew

Healthy Hydration Benefits[3]

Your body is made up of nearly two-thirds water so it is really important that you get enough fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated.  Remember ‘fluid’ includes water and additional drinks that give you water such as tea and other beverages. You also get water from the foods you eat. On average most people get about 80% of their fluid intake form drinking water and other beverages, and the other 20% from foods.2

Be sure to get enough fluids to be at your best in these important areas of health and wellness:3

  • “Physical performance – under relatively mild levels of dehydration, individuals engaging in rigorous physical activity will experience decrements in performance related to reduced endurance, increased fatigue
  • Cognitive performance – dehydration changes some cognitive functions such as your ability to concentrate, alertness and short-term memory
  • Gut health – fluids can aid in digestion
  • Skin – the skin contains approximately 30% water, which contributes to plumpness, elasticity, and resiliency

How much fluid do you need a day? [4]

Your body loses water when you’re breathing, sweating and getting rid of waste. If you lose more fluid than what you drink and eat, your body can get dehydrated and you may feel tired, get headaches and not perform at your best. NOTE:  You can become dehydrated even before you feel it. That is why it’s important to drink fluids regularly, even before you feel thirsty. So you may be wondering how much fluid you need. Your fluid needs are influenced by a number of factors including your age, gender activity level and the weather! (Hot and humid weather can increase your fluid needs.) Healthy adults should consume between 9 and 12 cups of fluids every day. Here are general guidelines for fluid intake to keep your body hydrated.4 Remember fluids include water, tea and other beverages:

  • Aim for 3 L (12 cups) fluids for men 19 years old and over each day
  • Aim for 2.2 L (9 cups) of fluids for women 19 years old and over each day.

Daily Healthy Beverage Guidelines[5]

Beverages make up an important part of nutrition for Canadians. Men and women aged 19 to 30 obtain around 20% of their daily calories from beverages.[6]  The Daily Healthy Beverage Guidelines, published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition, can help you make smart choices about the types of beverages you consume. The guide looks at the relative health and nutritional benefits and risks of various types of beverages. Under the guidelines, unsweetened tea is second only to water as a beverage choice and people can drink up to eight cups of tea a day as part of a healthy diet.5

Use the "Download" link below to learn more!

Use the “Download” link below to see more!

Download: Daily Beverage Guideline 2-Page Flyer (PDF)

Cool Drinks for Hot Days

On hot summer days what’s more refreshing than grabbing a cool drink? Enjoy hydrating with iced tea! Canada’s Food Guide suggests you satisfy your thirst with water as a great-tasting calorie-free way to help you stay hydrated. This is especially important in hot weather or when you are active.[7] Since tea is 99.5 % water, it can count towards your fluid intake for the day – plus it tastes great! Next to water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, which should be no surprise to Canadians – they drink almost 10 billion cups of tea each year![8]

Refreshing Iced Tea Recipe

Brewed Iced tea tips:

  1. Brew your favourite tea with hot water concentrated as usual
  2. Pour it over ice filled glasses and enjoy
  3. For extra flavour add a slice of your favorite fruit, such as lemon, lime, orange, or even peaches
What’s your favourite brewed iced tea flavour?

What’s your favourite brewed iced tea flavour?

Here’s to your good health!


[1] Liebermann HR. Hydration and Cognition: A critical Review and Recommendations for Future Research. J Am Coll Nutr 2007;26:555S-61S.

[2] The Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate. Washington DC: National Academy Press, 2004.

[3] Barry M. Popkin, Kristen E. D’Anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg, Water, Hydration and Health, Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug; 68(8): 439–458.

[4] Dietitians of Canada, Guidelines for Drinking fluids to Stay Hydrated, Nof 27, 2014 http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Water/Why-is-water-so-important-for-my-body-Know-when.aspx

[5] Popkin BM1, Armstrong LE, Bray GM, Caballero B, Frei B, Willett WC., A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States., Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Mar;83(3):529-42.

[6] Garriguet D. Beverage Consumption of Canadian Adults. Statistics Canada Health Reports, November 2008.

[7]  Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health Canada. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, 2007.

[8]  Tea Association of Canada, Canadian Tea Fact Sheet & Trends 2014 :  www.tea.ca

What is good for the heart is good for the brain

Dear tea drinkers,

In May we celebrate Mother’s Day and honour special women in our lives. In your family, as in mine, tea may have been traditionally part of many treasured times with mothers and grandmothers. Although thousands of years old, tea is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, as scientists continue to find evidence of tea’s healthfulness. Studies conducted with both black and green tea have yielded exciting results suggesting that natural compounds in tea called flavonoids may help to maintain good health.

There is an important distinction to make however, between herbal tea and tea. Oolong, white, green and black are considered “true teas,” as their leaves come from the actual tea plant camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia. Rooibos and herbal teas do not contain leaves from the tea plant but are infusions of other plants, spices or fruit. Since Herbal teas are not derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, tea experts refer to them as a “tisane.”

We already know that tea is good for the heart, and healthy blood flow is also important for the brain. Our expert, University of Toronto’s scientist Dr. Carol Greenwood connects these by saying “What is good for the heart is also good for the brain.” There is a unique aspect of tea and health research that also supports brain health and cognition.

Connection of heart and brain. Vector icon of heart and brain sy

Here are some of the studies from recent scientific findings:

  • A recent human study examined the effect of the unique tea amino acid L-theanine (-glutamylethylamide) on attention related task performance. Task performance was measured by electroencephalographic (EEG), or the measurement of electrical activity produced by the brain as recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp. The results suggest L-theanine plays a role in attentional processing in synergy with caffeine. [1]
  • A published randomized human clinical trial found that subjects given a daily supplement with green tea extract and L-theanine extracted from tea experienced improvements in mild cognitive impairments (MCI). In a test of attention and self-reported measure of alertness, subjects consumed two cups of tea (100 mg caffeine and 46 mg L-theanine) versus a placebo beverage. Results indicated that accuracy on the Attention Switching task was improved after tea as compared to the placebo, as well as performance on two of the four subtasks from the Intersensory Attention task. [2]
  • Caffeine and L-theanine in tea may offer cognitive benefits and improve mental clarity and work performance. A cross-sectional study showed that participants who consumed more tea felt less tired and reported higher levels of subjective work performance.[3]

beautiful young woman having tea with grandmother or mother

In celebration of mothers and all the special women in your life, host a tea party, maybe even outside!  There are so many varieties and flavours to choose from. Did you know there is a difference between brewing black and green teas? For black tea use boiling water and steep 3-5 min, for green tea use hot water and steep only 2-3 min. Different types of teas should be brewed at different temperatures for different lengths of time. Here are some tips to help to get you started:

Steeping Instructions

Tea Type Preparation
White 80°C / 185°F (Steep 2-5 min)
Green 80°C / 185°F (Steep 1-3 min)
Oolong 80°C / 185°F (Steep 2-3 min)
Black 100°C / 212°F (Steep 4 min)
Herbal 100°C / 212°F (Steep 3-6 min)

How to Brew the Best Cup of Tea

  • Start with fresh-drawn cold water and bring to a rolling boil and let sit to temperature suggested above
  • Warm the teapot
  • Use one teaspoonful of loose tea or one teabag per cup (6 oz. about 175 mL or ¾ cup) of water
  • When the water is at the correct temperature, take the kettle to the warmed teapot and pour over the tea
  • Cover and let steep for times suggested above
  • Strain tea or remove the teabags. Enjoy!

For more information visit the Tea Types & Steeping Instructions page.

[1]  Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-Theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr 2008;138:1572S–7S.

[2]  De Bruin EA, Rowson MJ, Van Buren L, Rycroft, JA, Owen GN. Black tea improves attention and self-reported alertness. 2011. Appetite, 56: 235-240.

[3] Bryan J, Tuckey, M, Einöther S.J.L. et al. The relationship between tea and other beverage consumption, work performance and mood. Appetite, 2012. 58 (1), 339–346.

Step into spring with a healthy brew that may help fight cancer

Dear tea drinkers,

April brings spring flowers and bright sunny days. Yellow daffodils start to bloom and these flowers may remind you of Cancer Awareness Days. Tea’s cancer fighting abilities have been researched for a long time. More than 3,000 published studies exist that evaluate the role tea (white, green, oolong or black) and tea compounds may play in certain cancers of various sites.[1]

Gastrointestinal Health Benefits

For example in relation to colon cancer, the benefits to gastrointestinal health gained from tea drinking seems to be cumulative and dependent upon the amount of tea consumed per day as well as the number of tea-drinking years. One study found that women who consumed the equivalent of 2.5 cups of tea per day had a 60% reduction in rectal cancer risk, compared with women who drank less than 1.2 cups of tea daily[2]. An additional study found tea drinkers to have an approximate 42% reduced risk of colon cancer as compared to non-tea drinkers. Men who drank more than 1.5 cups of tea per day were found to have a 70% lower colon cancer risk. [3]

Hot Green Tea On Wood Table.

A study published in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that the main antioxidant in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), helps kill cancer cells.[4] Tea and tea compounds contain flavonoids that are effective antioxidants. These substances can help prevent or delay oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen and or reactive nitrogen species. Oxidative damage to the body, cells and tissues may contribute to diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Researchers continue to explore the potential health benefits of tea, which is leading many scientists to agree that tea, both black and green, may contribute positively to a healthy lifestyle.

Editorial Note: Tea and Cancer info:  http://www.teausa.com/14655/tea-fact-sheet, http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/what-is-a-risk-factor/diet/antioxidants/?region=on

[1] http://www.teausa.com/14655/tea-fact-sheet

[2] Dora I, Arab L, Martinchik A, Sdvizhkov A, Urbanovich L, Weisgerber U. Black tea consumption and Risk of rectal cancer in Moscow population. Ann Epidemiol. 2003 Jul; 13(6): 405-11.

[3] Su LJ, Arab L. Tea consumption and the reduced risk of colon cancer — results from a national prospective cohort study. Public Health Nutr. 2002 Jun; 5(3): 419-25.

[4] Ling Tao, Jong-Yung Park, Joshua D. Lambert. Differential prooxidative effects of the green tea polyphenol, (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, in normal and oral cancer cells are related to differences in sirtuin 3 signaling. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Feb;59 (2):203-11. [Epub 2014 Nov 17]

Tea can help you limit calories & caffeine

Eating Well at Work is the theme of Nutrition Month – March 2015. Does your morning kick-start or afternoon pick me up include a beverage? You may be surprised to see how quickly your liquid calories add up from flavoured hot drinks, fruit juices, double-doubles and energy drinks.  Quench you thirst with water or swap your sip to tea, a calorie-free, natural healthy beverage.

calorie comparison

Caffeine is found naturally in coffee and tea and can improve alertness for short periods of time. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Research also shows that caffeinated drinks do not dehydrate us, especially if we are used to caffeine. Health Canada suggests that for the average adult a moderate caffeine intake at levels of 400 mg/day is not associated with any adverse effects.  So if you’re a tea lover you’re in luck because tea has about 66% LESS caffeine compared to coffee! You can enjoy up to 8 cups* of tea / day compared to only  2.5 cups of coffee / day without going over 400 mg/day caffeine limit.


If you’re watching your caffeine and calorie consumption, you might want to embrace the wonderful world of tea. There are many teas to discover, black, green, white, oolong  or pu-erh – all teas produced from a plant called camellia sinensis that has proven beneficial health effects.

Here is to your good health at work and beyond.



* one cup serving is 250 mL or 8 oz.

Source: Health Canada, Caffeine in Food; Dietitians of Canada, Information about Caffeine.

Drinking tea can lead to a healthier heart

Dear tea drinkers,

My name is Louise Roberge and I’m the president of the Tea Association of Canada. We serve as the number one source of information, research about tea. We are passionate about tea and dedicated to increasing awareness of quality tea and its health benefits to Canadians. We are delighted to launch our monthly blog to share with you all things to do with tea with a particular focus on the health benefits of the most consumed beverage in the world after water. Our hope is that this blog will spark conversations amongst tea enthusiasts and we invite you to share your thoughts and comments in the box below.

What’s nicer than sipping a hot cup of tea to warm you up on a cold February day? Bud did you know that one of the many benefits of tea is related to heart health?  Researchers found that people who drink as little as 1-2 cups of tea a day, combined with a healthy diet, could lower their risk of heart disease. Another study indicated that consuming one cup of tea per day may reduce incidence of stroke and heart attacks by 8 to 10 percent. [1] In a just published study, researchers found that people with high blood pressure who drank 2 cups of black tea a day for eight days showed significant improvements in blood pressure. [2]  These findings show that tea may significantly contribute to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease since tea is the most consumed beverage after water.

The powerful naturally occurring plant compounds found in black and green teas are called flavonoids.

Flavonoids in foods have positive health effects that help reduce the risk of heart disease and protect through high antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits.

All teas from the camellia sinensis plant, such as black, green, oolong  teas naturally contain flavonoids. In fact one third of the weight of a tea leaf is comprised of flavonoids, which are released when the tea leaves come in contact with hot water. Brewing your tea releases about 300 mg of flavonoids per 250 mL serving.  This makes tea a key dietary source of flavonoids, since in comparison, fruit juices run at about 3-50 mg flavonoids per serving (see chart below.) Note that while tea is a naturally rich source of flavonoids, it is not a substitute for fruits or vegetables which provide a wide range of nutrients such as flavonoids and essential vitamins and minerals.

[1] Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition December 2013; 98(6): 1601S – 1708S

[2] Davide Grassi et al,  Black Tea Lowers Blood Pressure and Wave Reflections in Fasted and Postprandial Conditions in Hypertensive Patients: A Randomised Study. Nutrients 2015, 7, 1037-1051;


Here are a few tea tips to enjoy during heart month:

  1. Enjoy tea throughout the day. Keeping your flavonoid levels high throughout the day helps it function as a protective antioxidant.
    2. Try your tea in different ways.  For example, squeeze in a bit of lemon for a boost of vitamin C
  2. Try a variety of teas from regions of India, China or Kenya – but for heart health benefits be sure they are teas from the plant camellia sinensis.

Enjoy tea for your health,