A Serving of Vegetables in Your Teacup

You may not know it, but your cup of tea has in it the nutrients of a serving of vegetables and then some. Before I go further, due to confusing terminology commonly in use among sellers of teas and herbals, I need to clarify that I am talking about true tea made from the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis), not things made of dried flowers, fruits, and various plant matter. These can also have nutrients, but that’s another article.

Have you seen the V-8 commercial where people have a number counter floating over their heads? The number changes when they have a serving of vegetables, or a glass of V-8. How about getting that from a cup of tea? Impossible, you say. Possible, I say. Change your “vegetable number” with a cup of tea.

Here are the nutrients in a serving of V-8:

Vitamin A • Vitamin C • Calcium
Iron • Potassium

Here are some nutrients in various vegetables:

Vitamin A • Fiber • Vitamin E • Vitamin C
Iron • Potassium • Magnesium • Zinc

Here are the nutrients in a cup of green tea (according to the USDA):

Iron • Potassium • Magnesium • Zinc • Phosphorus
Manganese • Riboflavin • Pantothenic acid • Copper

There is also Vitamin P (a flavonoid — also found in various fruits and vegetables — that enhances the function of Vitamin C). Plus, teas have polyphenols and theanine (an amino acid unique to tea). They reduce the risk of high blood pressure, help defend our systems against mutagenic agents, fight against viral and bacterial infection, slow down aging, and improve digestion.

Sencha Green Tea

See what I mean?

All of these things make them an even healthier choice than a serving of vegetables, except you don’t get the fiber that’s in vegetables. However, you can get that fiber by eating the tea leaves after steeping. Yes, some teas can take the place of those vegetables on your dinner plate. For example, I recently ate the steeped leaves of a Japanese Sencha tea and had a very tasty experience (sort of a cross between spinach and seaweed — yum!).

Each type of true tea has some case-study proven benefits:

  • White Tea — generally on a par with green tea but with more anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents, and contains a stronger content than any other tea of anti-oxidants to defend better against cancer causing cells.
  • Green Tea — protects against several different cancers (lung, breast, prostate, etc.), and speeds up metabolic rates and fat oxidation to help with weight loss and give you a more energetic feeling.
  • Oolong Tea — makes a pleasant diet aid due to its strong flowery taste (more like green tea than black tea) that is a little bitter but leaving a sweet aftertaste, prevents skin damage, and enhances the function of enzymes through its anti-oxidant properties.
  • Black Tea — affects stress hormone levels so you recover faster from daily stress, reduces the risk of heart attacks, and helps in losing weight.

Tea can’t be a substitute in your daily food intake for vegetables, but it can add a serving or two. Think I’ll go steep up a serving now. Enjoy!

While you may be able to substitute tea for vegetables once or twice a day, there’s certainly no substitute for A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill! Check it out today!

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