#SuperfoodSunday : The Benefits of Tea Part 1 : Black Tea

In recent years, specialty tea shops have been popping up all over. More and more people are flocking to tea as an alternative to the standard coffee jolt. Fortunately, tea is a natural superfood! Plus it tastes great and you can find a tea to suit your cravings for any time of day (ie: as a pick me up, to help you relax, a low calorie sweet treat, or to quench your thirst).

We have always been tea fanatics at CleanWorkout.com, so it was natural for us to turn to someone that keeps us going throughout the day – our friends at the Canadian tea emporium, DAVIDsTEA! Justin and I can often be found at their Yorkdale store fuelling up with an iced black tea latte, like Cream of Earl Grey (Justin’s drink of choice), and an iced Ceremonial Matcha latte (my antioxidant booster) – both made with 2% milk and a little bit of cane sugar to make it more of a treat.

Depending on how hectic our day (or week!) has been, it is not uncommon for us to become mesmerized by their daunting wall of teas – everything from black to green to oolong and herbal, and everything in between! Fortunately, their staff know their products like we know our squats and are always willing to help you choose the best tea for your tastebuds and your mood.

There is a reason why tea, next to water, is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Not only can it help curb cravings when you are trying to cut calories, but different teas have natural holistic properties that can help calm you; energize you; promote wakefulness; and give you an antioxidant boost!

The Woodbear Nordic mug has the perfect capacity for tea lovers and a convenient infuser.
The Woodbear Nordic mug has the perfect capacity for tea lovers and a convenient infuser.

Our friends at DAVIDsTEA sent us some of our favourite teas for health, and introduced us to some new delicious good-for-you teas from their fall line! We owe them a huge thank you for supporting CleanWorkout, keeping us caffeinated (or mellow), and for our beautiful new fall mugs!

DAVIDsTEA carries teas from all over the world, makes unique blends to celebrate different seasons, and adds other superfood ingredients to give an extra healthy punch. Over the next four weeks, we will be featuring some DAVIDsTEA classics, as well as their seasonal fall blends and uncovering what is in tea that makes it healthy. We will also show you how you can boost your regular baking recipes – flavour and health wise – by cooking with tea.

This week we are analyzing Black Tea. Black tea, oolong tea, green tea and white tea are all made from the same plant, Camellia Sinesis. Similar to a coffee roasting process, the differences in colour, aroma, flavour, and caffeine levels have to do with the curing and drying process of the leaves. Continue reading below to learn about how black tea can improve your oral hygiene!

The Bare Necessiteas : Black Tea

Caffeine: 60-90 mg (Compared to 150-200mg in coffee)

Notable Characteristics: Antioxidant Benefit, Improves Oral Hygiene, Improves Concentration

Made from: Camellia Sinesis

Main Regions: Asia, South East Asia

Black tea gets its signature bold flavour from an oxidization process with controlled temperature and humidity. Lesser oxidized leaves are classified as “green tea,” medium oxidized leaves are “oolong tea,” and heavily oxidized leaves are “black tea.”

They are known for being boldly flavoured without the bitterness of green tea. Enjoy it with hot or iced with classic pairings like milk, lemon and honey or sugar.

Why is it good for you?

Antioxidant Benefit

As many of you know, antioxidants rid the body of potentially damaging oxidising agents. Among the list of benefits like preventing premature ageing, antioxidants can also destroy dangerous free radical cells that can cause cancer. Black tea is loaded with antioxidants in the form of polyphenols to help boost your immune system!

Reverse Cell Damage: Antioxidants have been shown to actually reverse negative effects and cell damage caused by environmental factors like tobacco and other toxins. A diet high in antioxidants – from food and beverages like tea! – may help you live longer and healthier.

Immune Boosting Tannins: Black tea is full of tannins. Just like those found in red wine, they help strengthen your immune system and protect against common viruses.

Good Oral Hygiene

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant and are prominent in black tea. They have anti-bacterial properties that can actually help minimise plaque formation on teeth, reduce the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Despite the fact that black tea can stain white tooth enamel over time, the benefits of drinking it are better for your oral health and full body! (For more information on natural oral hygiene, check out our article on Coconut Oil)

Improves Concentration

The amino acid L-theanine can help you calm down, relax, and improve concentration. It can also reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress, when enjoyed over consistently.

Prolonged Energy and Weight Loss: Similar to how sugar makes people feel energised and then experience a “crash,” the high amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can do the same. Tea has a much lower amount of caffeine than coffee which allows blood flow to move to the brain without over-stimulating your heart. That means that you may not feel the “jitters” normally experienced with drinking coffee. The low stream of caffeine also helps promote metabolism which makes you burn more calories.

Proper Steeping

Steeping teas properly ensures that you are not only getting the truest, richest flavour from the tea you are about to enjoy, but that you are also unleashing the medicinal benefits. DAVIDsTEA recommends steeping most of their black teas for 4 – 7 minutes with near boiling water. Once the water boils, let it sit for a minute so it does not scald the tea leaves. Pour over your tea bag or loose leaf teas, let is steep and enjoy!

Currently Drinking : DAVIDsTEA Pumpkin Chai

Steeping Pumpkin Chai tea in our new Woodbear Nordic Mug
Steeping Pumpkin Chai tea in our new Woodbear Nordic Mug

Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin, caramel, carrot, lemon peel, pumpkin candies.

Aroma: Sweet with spicy notes of cinnamon and clove.

Tasting Notes: Dominant flavour of spicy chai followed by pumpkin, sweet spices and smooth caramel.

Extra Goodness: In addition to the antioxidants and immune benefits from black tea, and the vitamin C in pumpkinPumpkin Chai also contains anti-inflammatory cinnamon, and infection-preventing and antioxidant clove.

Currently Drinking : DAVIDsTEA Pom Cider

Tea tastes better from beautiful mugs. We are enjoying powerful Pom Cider tea from our new Light Sky Leaf Perfect Mug.
Tea tastes better from beautiful mugs. We are enjoying powerful Pom Cider tea from our new Light Sky Leaf Perfect Mug.

Ingredients: Fennel, hibiscus, black tea, rosehips, apple, orange, pomegranate, stevia extract, natural pomegranate flavouring.

Aroma: A fruity smell of apples, citrus and pomegranate.

Tasting Notes: A very sweet flavour reminiscent of childhood purple popsicles, candy and pomegranate.

Extra Goodness: Pom Cider is another great example of how DAVIDsTEA has enhanced black tea – a naturally healthy drink on its own – with powerful ingredients.

Pomegranate is well known as one of the greater sources of antioxidants – apples and oranges similarly have high levels of antioxidants and vitamins that promote a healthy immune system. Pomegranates also have antiviral properties to help your body fight viruses.

Fennel is another powerful superfood. This anise-flavoured seed – you may be familiar with fennel bulbs at the grocery store that look like white, round celery – is a natural remedy and has been shown to help the whole body acting as an anti-inflammatory agent and a metabolic regulator. It regulates gastric acid secretions, which helps promote digestion and relieve discomfort from things like heartburn. Fennel tea is great to have on hand to help calm stomach and intestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea.

Fennel also acts as a diuretic – a substance that makes you urinate – to help flush toxins from your system, and encourage good kidney function. Because of its diuretic effects, fennel prevents excess water retention and can be used as a natural and safe way to look slimmer. Fennel also helps regulate your appetite and boosts metabolism to help you burn more calories and reduce cellulite.

Like pomegranate, fennel is an immune booster that can help your body fight bacteria, reduce fevers and sore throats, and soothe respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis and coughs.

The perfect cup of Pom Cider tea - a new fall favourite in our house.
The perfect cup of Pom Cider tea – a new fall favourite in our house.

Rosehips and hibiscus are both naturally rich sources of flavonoids and other antioxidants, and vitamin C. Rosehips are the seed pod of a wild rose plant – you may have seen roseship oil or products available in the skin care aisle at natural foods stores. Because of its high vitamin C and antioxidant content, it is known to be effective for reducing and reversing skin damage and has “anti-ageing” benefits. Rosehips can help stimulate the production of collagen protein that gives your skin a more youthful and elastic appearance.

Hibiscus flowers are large, often brightly coloured flowers from hibiscus bushes. Hibiscus tea has been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. The antioxidant rich fruits, flowers and seeds in Pom Cider tea can all help strengthen your immune system, and may help lower the risk of cancer by defending against harmful cells and free radicals.

Cooking with Tea

Cooking with black tea is a little more daunting than cooking with a bendable power like matcha tea. Once you start experimenting with whole leaf black teas, you will begin to understand what works. Depending on the tea blend, you may choose to leave them whole in baked goods like scones or cakes, or steep them in milk for things like ice creams and puddings. It depends entirely on your tastes, your recipe, and how adventurous you are feeling!

Here are two simple recipes for enjoying the health benefits and flavours of DAVIDsTEA Pumpkin Chai and Pom Cider in your new favourite desserts.

Spicy Pumpkin Chai Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin is one of our favourite ways to celebrate fall. It is full of vitamin C, is a powerful antioxidant, helps flush out your kidneys and keeps your immune system strong. By combining the natural benefits of pumpkin with immune boosting spices, these muffins are a delicious and healthy start to the day that will keep you feeling full until lunch.

Ingredients

Step 1 – Dry Ingredients

1 cup All Purpose or Wholewheat Flour

3/4 cup Sugar

Pinch Salt

2 – 3 tsp Ground Cinnamon (depending on preference)

1 tsp Ground Ginger

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Ground Clove

Zest of One Lemon or Orange

2 tsp DAVIDsTEA Pumpkin Chai Tea

Step 2 – Wet Ingredients

3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

1/2 cup Milk

1 Egg

1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Frosting

(Yields ~6 Heavily Frosted Muffins)
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature

3 tbsp Special Fine Granulated Sugar

1/2 cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Room Temperature

1 tbsp Icing Sugar

2 tbsp Whole Milk

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F and line your cupcake tin with papers.
  2. Dry Ingredients: Sift together Flour, Sugar, Salt and Spices, then whisk in your Zest and Pumpkin Chai tea. Mix everything well and set aside.
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients and fold into dry ingredients until just combined. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl if you are using an electric mixer!
  4. Portion your batter into your muffin tins and bake in the pre-heated 350 F oven. Muffins should take between 18 – 20 minutes. When the spicy smell envelops your kitchen, they are probably done. Let cool on a wire rack.
  5. Frosting: Add Butter and sugar to stand mixer and beat for approximately 10 minutes. The mixture will roughly double in size and turn white. When it has whipped enough, you will not notice the texture of sugar crystals. When the butter and sugar is whipped, add Philadelphia Cream Cheese, icing sugar and milk. Whip for a few minutes, scraping down the bowl, until the icing is light and fluffy.
  6. Frost your cooled cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and dust with ground cinnamon. Enjoy!
Try using whole leaf teas in your baking to enjoy different flavours and extra health benefits! DAVIDsTEA Pumpkin Chai is great as a drink or in muffins!
Try using whole leaf teas in your baking to enjoy different flavours and extra health benefits! DAVIDsTEA Pumpkin Chai is great as a drink or in muffins!

Festive Pom Cider Ice Cream

Balance is key to a healthy diet and lifestyle, and sometimes you need a little scoop of ice cream to finish a delicious fall meal. 

The sweet and slightly tangy flavour of pomegranate is softened by the velvety ice cream creating a satisfying and refreshing dessert.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Whole Milk

1 1/2 cups Whipping Cream

4 Egg Yolks

2/3 cups less 2 tbsp Sugar

1 Vanilla Bean, Sliced Lengthwise and Seeds Scraped Out

1 tbsp DAVIDsTEA Pom Cider Tea

What you Need

Home Ice Cream Maker

  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring milk, cream, half your sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and Pom Cider tea to a simmer over low-medium heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  2. While your milk mixture is gently simmering, whip egg yolks with the remaining half of your sugar until pale yellow and frothy.
  3. Slowly pour 1/2 cup of your hot milk base into the egg yolks while whisking. This is called tempering the yolks. You want to slowly cook them before adding them to the pan of milk base to prevent it from scrambling.
  4. Once your yolks have been tempered, add them to the pan of milk base and continue to heat over low-medium heat for a few minutes. Use a wooden spoon to mix so you do not whip air into your ice cream base. When the mixture just starts to thicken, strain it into a glass or metal bowl set in ice to help it cool.
  5. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for four hours.
  6. Churn the cooled ice cream base in your home ice cream maker according to its instructions.
  7. Enjoy on its own or with pomegranate seeds and berries for extra antioxidants.

Be sure to check back next week as we uncover the mysteries of Matcha for The Benefits of Tea, Part 2!

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