Tea while being one of the most favored beverages around the world can be enjoyed in many ways. You could use dust tea, leaf tea or even use a tea bag to drink your favorite brand, type of variety of tea. However, in this article we will try and look at tea from a different perspective. We will try and answer the question can tea leaves be eaten from the tea bags. The answer in short is yes but the larger question is whether you should eat it at all.
There is nothing wrong from the health perspective that should prevent you from eating tea leaves. But there are a few points that one must take into account. These include the type of tea that you plan to eat, the way you consume it and so on. Further, you must certainly derive some benefits when you decide to eat the same. You also must evaluate the risks and benefits and be absolutely sure that eating tea leaves is safe as far as your body is concerned.
Are All Tea Leaves Fit For Eating?
You must be sure that the leaves you are planning to eat out of the tea bag is fit for eating. The form in which you plan to eat is also vital. Obviously you cannot eat the entire tea bag with the paper cover. You also must be aware that the tea leaves once they are heated, brewed and filtered do not have any noteworthy nutrients available in them.
The consistency of the tea leaves will be bad to put it mildly. You would need good amount of liquid or wash the tea leaves down your throat. It also is possible that the leaves might get stuck in the teeth and you may have to spend quite some time with a tooth pick to clear the crevices of the tea leaves. Therefore, the above points should always be kept in mind when you decide to eat tea for whatever reason you might find is justified.
Is There A Norm For Eating Tea Leaves?
Though most of us may find eating tea leaves to be weird and out of the world, it is not uncommon. The practice is prevalent in many countries and regions of the world. There is a special type of tea by the name Lahpet. It is grown and cultivated in Myanmar and eating Lahpet is quite common amongst many local Myanmar populations. Japanese like matcha tea quite a bit and it is one of the most popular beverages in this country. In fact, after drinking the tea, the finely powdered dust in the tea is also eaten.
Eating matcha tea is a not a big deal because the tea is not in the form of tea leaves. It rather comes in the form of finely ground dust. It is obvious that a significant portion of the tea gets dissolved in the water and only a small portion remains as dust. It is quite easy to gulp it down one’s throat compared to tea leaves that are inconsistent in size and shape. Hence, it would not be wrong to state that there is a practice of eating tea leaves and even dust tea, though the instances are very rare and few and far between.
How Do We Eat It?
If you have decided that it makes sense to eat tea leaves or dust once in a while, the next question that comes to our mind is how it should be eaten. Should it be just the tea leaves that are left behind after brewing and filtering? Or is it right to eat tea bag and gulp it down your throat? While there could be some possible explanations for eating tea leaf or dust tea, eating it from the tea bag perhaps makes no sense. You will be eating plastic and paper, though in small quantities. This is no way to enjoy tea eating, if it is an enjoyment at all.
Further, you also need to bear in mind that eating it straight out of the tea container may also not yield the desired results. The goodness of tea is best manifested and enjoyed only when the tea leaves are dust tea is heated in water of the right temperature. If you are really keen on eating it, you better do so after it has been boiled and brewed and the liquid is ready for sipping. Eating tea leaves that is not brewed may not yield any tangible result. So, eating tea whole before brewing should be a strict no.
Add The Tea From Tea Bag To A Cup
This is another time tested and proven way to eat and chew day and enjoy the goodness in it. You could take the tea leaves out using safe and clean methods. Your hands must be clean so that you do not pass on impurities onto the tea. In fact, during the olden days, tea strainers were not used and tea was enjoyed with the tea leaves in it. However, as mentioned above, it was mandatory to ensure that the tea was brewed, heated and only then was it considered fit to be “eaten”.
There Are Some Proven Benefits
While we have talked about the ways and means by which tea should be eaten, we will also have a look at the reasons as to why it could be a good idea. There are a few health benefits that could be yours should you be able to master the process of “eating” the right tea leaves. We are looking at a few of the benefits and we are sure it will be able to give a better perspective about this topic.
1. Rich in antioxidants
We all know that tea is a rich source of some of the finest antioxidants (1). Hence, even if tea leaves are eaten after they have been brewed or taken in the form of capsules, it does offer quite a few benefits. It is a rich source of catechins and found mostly in green tea. Cell damage caused by free radicals can be reversed much more efficiently. In fact catchins available in tea leaves is more potent than vitamin A and Vitamin E.
2. It could promote heart health
Antioxidants again could be one of the main reasons for tea leaves being a good eating option. It could improve the strength of blood vessels of the heart and could also bring down the levels of bad cholesterol (2).
3. May help in weight loss and improve energy levels
If you can get into the habit of eating tea leaves that are safe, you could be doing a world of good as far as your weight management plans are concerned. This is mainly because of two reasons. Tea leaves or liquid tea is a good source of caffeine (3). This increases energy levels. Secondly, the antioxidants present in tea could also lead to improvement in the metabolism levels. With regular exercise, controlled diet and eating and drinking of tea leaves, you could burn those extra inches of fat around various parts of the body.
4. Bring down sugar levels
There are special elements and compounds in tea leaves that are known to help in regulating sugar levels (4).
5. Improved gastrointestinal health
Tea leaves are a source of fiber and they could help in improving the overall gastrointestinal health (5). People suffering from mild to moderate constipation could stand benefited by regular eating of tea leaves. Tea leaves have a natural abrasive property. Hence, it could help in naturally massaging and cleaning your teeth and gums.
Warnings And Precautions
While there are some reasonably good reasons for eating tea, it is not the usual thing that one does. Hence, you must ensure that necessary precautions are understood and followed.
Check with your doctor if you have any special medical conditions before deciding to eat tea leaves. Avoid eating it if you are a pregnant mother or lactating mother. The excess intake of caffeine could be damaging to the child and also to the pregnant and lactating mother. Be sure that you stay within the daily limits of caffeine if you are combining drinking of tea with eating the same. The upper safety limit of daily caffeine intake is 300 milligrams and it should not be exceeded under any circumstances. Be aware of the side effects of tea eating especially during the first few days. Many people may suffer from a sudden spurt in the consumption of caffeine. The side effect could include vomiting and nausea, headache, diarrhea, difficulty in sleeping, irritability and headache. At the end of the day, be sure that you are within safe limits when you decide to eat tea leaves.
The Final Word
From the above article, there are a few things that fall in perspective. To begin with, though eating tea leaves might sound weird and funny, it has been happening in many places around the world. Secondly, there could be some real benefits in eating tea leaves. Finally, there are some possible side effects, especially with pregnant mothers and the same should be factored before eating tea leaves.
Finally, safety is the keyword and the tea leaves you eat should be clean and free from any possible toxic substances and contaminations. You should always take the advice of your doctor before eating tea leaves, if you have any special medical conditions or illnesses.