The humble tea bush. Its history dates back over 5,000 years to Central and Eastern Asia. The tea origin is made of legends and veiled in mystery. I think tea is awesome. I’ll answer your question about the calories in a cup of tea, plus give you some interesting tea facts that you may not have known.
Tea in History
Tea has been held in high regard by many cultures. Considering that tea is native to both China and India, both attempt to stake the claim to its origin. Chinese legend has it that one day, as Emperor Sheng Nong was boiling his drinking water, the wind blew several leafs into his pot.
Sheng Nong allowed the leafs to boil as he enjoyed the aroma they produced. He then tasted the liquid, and found it to be both, pleasant on his pallet and rejuvenating for his body. He felt refreshed and satisfied by the drink. This was the birth of tea.
It was the Buddhist monks who elevated the mysticism of tea by surrounding it with elaborate ritualism. The Buddhist tea ceremony which takes about three years to perfect, brings the participant into a secluded room, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
In this tranquil environment, headed by the tea master, they consume the tea in a highly ritualistic fashion. Time stands still as they focus the mind on peace and harmony. The whole process is filled with minimalism and spiritual pursuit.
Tea Health Benefits
There is just one tea plant called Camellia Sinensis. Depending on when the tea is harvested and how it’s processed and cured, it is divided into the green, oolong, black and white tea varieties. Each one has unique properties and characteristics. By blending different teas together, there is an almost unlimited potential for flavor combinations.
Tea contains compounds of polyphenols. These are powerful antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals believed to cause cancer. Polyphenols are also beneficial for digestion, teeth and gum health. The tea also contains fluoride that helps maintain healthy bones and may assist in prevention of osteoporosis.
In addition, tea contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, A,C and K. Also contain minerals such as Manganese, Potassium and Zinc. These nutrients assist the body with a spectrum of healthy body functions. From formation of red blood cells, to regulation of the central nervous system.
But What About the Calories?
Twelve ounces of pure tea, without any additives, has only 3 calories. One tsp of sugar will add additional 16 calories, and one tbsp of sugar will add 49 calories. One tbsp of whole milk would add 9 more calories and one tbsp of skim milk would add approximately 5 more calories.
The low calories in tea make it a perfect drink for those on a diet. In comparison, one can of Coke has 142 calories. The diet Coke has about 1.3 calories. However, aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet soda, is still controversial.
Some studies even recommend further investigation of aspartame in connection with various diseases. Tea on the other hand is nothing but healthy. Just weigh out the benefits between any soda and tea to decide on the winner. I think the choice is clear.
I am glad the tea has all of the wonderful health benefits. I enjoy the tea, because it’s a healthy caffeine alternative to coffee, and it gets rid of those coffee withdrawal headaches! I also like it, because as I slowly sip my tea, I imagine myself a Buddhist monk, sitting in a monastery amidst beautiful cherry blossoms.
I am calm and removed from the busy world outside the monastery walls. I am at peace and harmony with nature and all that surrounds me, one with the universe… But wait, is that my twelve year old screaming? Looks like it’s time to get back to reality!
Live well. Vlad