Anti-Cancer Recipes: How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea

tea party with lemon winnerSo you’ve read “Anti-Cancer Recipes: Have a Berry Merry Tea Party” and have chosen the finest tea leaves. How do you prepare the perfect cup?

While there’s no such thing as perfect, and science is always evolving, here’s what the experts seem to agree on: 

Start with cold water, and heat it in a stainless steel kettle or pot, not in a microwave. As it starts bubbling, remove it from heat. Don’t bring it to a roaring boil.

Let the water settle, then pour over loose leaves—a little less than one level tablespoon of leaves per cup. Let the leaves steep for 10 minutes to allow the healthy catechins to release. Drink within the hour. With time, the liquid will lose its potency. 

Want to re-use those expensive leaves later in the day? Go ahead.  According to tea expert Nigel Melican, the components in the loose leaves can continue to release for several steeps, although each cup will get progressively weaker. In fact, one often-cited study showed that after ten minutes of steeping, 90plus percent of the caffeine was in the liquid, not the leaves ( and a substantial portion of the catechins would be, too, Melican says.)   

Now here’s the question: Should you or should you not add lemon to your tea? This may be one of those answers that will differ based on your health status and dietary patterns. By adding lemon juice to your tea, you may actually enhance your uptake of catechins, according to a study in the petri dish from Purdue University. It seems that ascorbic acid stabilizes important catechins. 

On the other hand, ascorbic acid will inhibit green tea’s tannic acids, and tannins are important because they bind iron. Like copper, iron fuels the growth of cancer, and many researchers in search of treatments are exploring drugs that bind iron. If you have cancer or you eat a diet high in iron (Think meat), you may want to adopt the precautionary principle and forego the lemon. If you don’t have cancer and you’re low in iron, go ahead and indulge.

How many cups of green tea a day should you drink? Experts vary, but the consensus is hovering around 2-4 cups daily for a sensible anti-cancer diet.   

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