Tea is a miraculous thing. Bursting with antioxidants and health benefits galore, civilizations have been imbibing it for centuries. Drink it iced in the throes of summer or steaming hot to stave off that winter flu. Any season, any time of day, tea is there to boost your health while bringing you serenity and comfort. But, wait… could there be a dark side to this naturally healing beverage? Thanks to modern food practices and processing shortcuts, harmful chemicals could be lurking in your teacup. Follow these 3 guidelines to make sure you are getting pure, delicious tea, and not a tainted impostor.
Always choose an organic, non-GMO tea. It is widely known that Celestial Seasonings is loaded with pesticides. But, did you know that even loose-leaf, high-end brands like Teavana have tested positive for dangerous pesticides in 100% of samples? Just because a product has a natural design aesthetic does not mean that the product itself is of any true quality. Although they may appear upscale and natural, pesticide-ridden packaged tea offenders include Tazo, Bigelow, Republic of Tea, Twinnings, Yogi, Mighty Leaf, and Tea Forte, among others. Surprised? Luckily, Numi and Traditional Medicinals are widely available brands that are against tea deception and offer honest, organic, non-GMO verified, high quality teas. Do your research and buy non-GMO verified and organic.
Don‘t buy tea that lists “natural flavors“ as an ingredient. “Natural flavors” is a sneaky way to hide ingredients from the consumer, making the product appear more natural and pure. “Natural ingredients” can be any naturally derived ingredient that enhances the flavor profile the company wishes to offer. Sounds harmless enough, but it usually stands for soy and corn based ingredients, which mean hidden GMOs. That also becomes a cryptic concern for those with soy or corn allergies. Enough with the deception. Run far away from any package that contains the vague term “natural flavors.”
Make sure your favorite brand uses safe packing material, or stick to loose-leaf. You know those luxury silk sachets — the ones that display your tea so beautifully? Well, those are not made out of silk — they are made out of plastic. It is the same type of food-grade plastic used in ubiquitous water bottles — you know, the ones that you shouldn’t drink from if left in your hot car? So, yes, the plastic leeches into boiling water. Yum, who doesn’t want a hearty cup of earl grey BPA?
Think paper baggies are better? Unfortunately, not always. Many paper bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound known to suppress immune function, lead to infertility, and even cause cancer. Your best bet is to buy organic, loose tea, and brew it in a metal or glass container. It will be fresher, won’t leech chemicals, and generally taste better.
Your health and your body matters more than some crummy tea company. The more knowledge you accrue, the healthier you will be. Take action! Support local and honest companies who care about the quality of their products, their footprint on the planet, and the health of their consumers.