Friday, July 23, 2010

Tea, Fluoride and You ...

Recently researchers at the Medical College of Georgia determined that there is far more fluoride in tea than originally thought.
Excerpts from a recent article:
``Most published reports show 1 to 5 milligrams of fluoride per liter of black tea, but a new study shows that number could be as high as 9 milligrams.''

``Whitford discovered that the fluoride concentration in black tea had long been underestimated when he began analyzing data from four patients with advanced skeletal fluorosis, a disease caused by excessive fluoride consumption and characterized by joint and bone pain and damage. While it is extremely rare in the United States, the common link between these four patients was their tea consumption -- each person drank 1 to 2 gallons of tea daily for the past 10 to 30 years.''

Please note that the report of study does not indicate whether or not the tea was made the fluoridated water, not does it provide the source of the tea. It does, though, note that the study involved analyzing date from four patients -- who each drank 1 to 2 gallons of tea a day. Really? 1-2 gallons a day??? Even I don't do that ...

But let's understand how the fluoride gets into the tea in the first place.
The tea plant absorbs fluoride from the soil. It would stand to reason that it's the older leaves that have the higher levels of fluoride.
Loose leaf tea is typically two leaves and a bud -- the newest growth -- and is
most usually handpicked. The leaves can be used to make white tea, yellow tea, green tea, black tea or oolong or pu-erh. The difference is in the processing.
White tea is steamed and dried quickly. The steaming stops the oxidation.
Yellow tea is steamed and dried slowly. The steaming stops the oxidation.
Green tea is pan-fried, or rolled and pan-fried or baked to stop further
Oolongs are bruised and baked to stop further oxidation.
Black teas are allowed to fully oxidize before firing.
Pu-Erh is green or black tea that is aged after oxidation or firing. This is not
the same as brick tea.

The issue is not how old the leaf is, but rather how long the leave was on the
bush. Even if the tea is coming from trees 100 years old, the fluoride content will
not be as great in the newly grown leaves, which is what is typically harvested
for higher quality teas.

Lower quality teas, such as bagged tea from the grocer, are typically machine
harvested. The machine is unable to distinguish between new growth and older
leaves, so the bagged tea often contains some older leaves. Organic farming is
also not that important to the producers of bagged teas, so higher levels of
fluoride may exist in the soil.

Brick teas are typically made of lower grade leaves ... this means leaves
further down the stem -- 3rd leaf or lower -- or leaves that have been on the
plant longer. The leaves are then ground. They absorb more fluoride from the
soil (assuming there is high levels of fluoride in the soil.) because they are
on the plant longer.

Higher levels of fluoride exist in soil that has been fertilized or that have
been exposed to pesticides. Organically grown tea plants would not use
fertilizers and pesticides that would increase the level of fluoride in the
soil, and therefore the fluoride in the tea leaves.

Adults can safely intake 3.0-4.0 mg of fluoride per day without great risk of
fluorosis or acute toxicity. Fluorosis occurs when an individual has consumed
more 10mg. or fluoride per day over an extended period of time. As for toxicity,
the lowest dose that could trigger adverse symptoms is considered to be 5 mg/kg
of body weight, with the lowest potentially fatal dose considered 15 mg/kg of
body weight typically taken in over an extended period of time. Here are some
handy fluoride number I hope you'll find useful.

Fluoride Content of Teas
Type of Tea
Fluoride (mg/liter) Fluoride (mg/8 ounces)
Green 1.2-1.7 0.3-0.4
Oolong 0.6-1.0 0.1-0.2
Black 1.0-1.9 0.2-0.5
Brick tea 2.2-7.3 0.5-1.7

Food Serving Fluoride (mg)
Tea 100 ml (3.5 fluid ounces) 0.1-0.6
Grape juice 100 ml (3.5 fluid ounces) 0.02-0.28
Canned sardines (with bones) 100 g (3.5 ounces) 0.2-0.4
Fish (without bones) 100 g (3.5 ounces) 0.01-0.17
Chicken 100g (3.5 ounces) 0.06-0.10

So while it is always good to be especially cognizant of the foods and beverages
you consume, you should feel comfortable drinking tea in moderation.
You can always opt for preparing you tea with non-fluoridated water, or
alternating between real tea and herbal teas.

Tea is still far more beneficial than harmful.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea

Get refreshed with this antioxidant powerhouse!

Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea

• 1 (16-oz.) package frozen blueberries
or 1 pint fresh blueberries
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 4 cups water
• 2 Tbsp loose black tea
• 3/4 cup sugar

Bring blueberries and lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard solids.
Boil 2 cups of water. In one cup of water, steep black tea in for 3-4 minutes. Remove tea leaves and discard. In the other cup of water, dissolve the sugar. Add blueberry/lemon juice mixture, the dissolved sugar and 2 cups of cold water to the tea. Pour into a pitcher; cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over ice. Garnish with lemons and blueberries. Enjoy with friends!