Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January Is National Hot-Tea Month

In celebration of American Heart Month this February, it may be time to make a beverage switch for your heart’s sake.
Several observational studies have found that tea drinking is associated with a significantly reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. The research has found an association between consumption of both Green and Black Tea and decreased risk of heart attack, second heart attack and stroke. In addition, among human randomized controlled studies, over half conducted with Green Tea or Green Tea extract, improvement against cardiovascular disease risk is seen.

The antioxidant flavonoids in tea are thought to be one of the primary ways tea provides its cardiovascular benefits. Flavonoids in tea have been shown to improve the functionality of the endothelium (inner lining of blood vessels) so that they are more resilient and dilate more readily to improve blood flow.

Several decades of research support the role of tea as a heart-healthy beverage choice, suggesting that tea may offer numerous mechanisms through which it helps protect the heart. While more randomized controlled trials are needed, the totality of the research indicates that tea drinking makes good heart sense.

Presidential Tea Traditions:
In honor of the upcoming inauguration of the forty-fourth president of the United States, we would like to take a look at the tradition of tea among First Families in history.

George and Martha Washington were both confirmed tea drinkers well before Washington became President of the United States in 1789. The Washingtons ordered their tea, and many of the accoutrements used for serving tea, from England, and often entertained guests during “tea time” which was at sunset in the summer and by candlelight in the winter. During the Revolutionary War, Washington even sent an official order stating that rations of tea be distributed to every member of his army.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States also loved his tea. His passion for the beverage inspired him to design a polygonal-shaped Tea Room at Monticello. And, it was in the Tea Room where, upon a small lap desk he had designed, Jefferson wrote and edited the draft of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
President Theodore Roosevelt took his tea in an oversized cup every afternoon. He was partial to sweetened black tea with lemon and mint leaves. His wife, Edith, held weekly teas at the White House during the social season and invitations were highly coveted.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor both grew up in families in which afternoon tea was a tradition. Mrs. Roosevelt was known to host up to eight teas in a week, ranging from small affairs with visiting dignitaries to large gatherings with guests numbering in the thousands.

President George Bush was known to favor green tea. His wife, Barbara, also regularly hosted afternoon teas in the White House for visiting foreign dignitaries. Romania and Germany presented the President and Mrs. Bush with samples of their country’s porcelain, as did Boris Yeltsin, at a farewell tea in Moscow in 1993.
During January’s National Hot Tea Month, please welcome the new president and first lady into the White House and toast to their health and ‘tea time’ traditions.

For more information about the role of tea in a healthy diet, please visit www.teausa.org.

No comments: