Canada Recognizes Health Benefits of Tea

[Zhi Tea: July 11, 2008]

Health Canada has now endorsed what millions of tea drinkers around the world have known for years.

Tea's role in maintaining good health was recognized last month by Health Canada's Natural Health Products Directorate. It was approved as a source of antioxidants and maintaining cardiovascular health. Antioxidants neutralize the body's free-radical molecules, which damage cells. This damage is believed to contribute to the development of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Catechins are tea's naturally occurring antioxidants.

The antioxidants in tea are numerous and powerful, just like the ones found in fruits and vegetables. Green tea has the most, but oolongs and blacks do, too.

Three types of tea – black, green and oolong – were approved. Green tea extract was also approved for weight management if used in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The three teas come from the same plant, but the leaves are processed differently. Black and oolong tea leaves undergo crushing and fermenting while green tea leaves are withered and steamed.

Canada's $319 million tea market reflects its per capita consumption, which has increased almost 50 per cent in the past 10 years, according to the tea association. Canadians show a sense of adventure in the teas they consume, particularly the many flavored options, Roberge notes.

The Health Canada ruling now allows tea manufacturers to include improved health claims on product packaging and in marketing.


Scientific evidence about tea's health benefits has been accumulating for over twenty years with hundreds of research studies showing potential health benefits. A panel of American nutrition experts recently named tea second only to water as the healthiest beverage choice. Perhaps this type of official recognition from the FDA will happen in the future in the US. Let's hope so

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