Last week, the Canadian government officially deemed tea (black,
green and oolong) as having medicinal qualities. Although the news
of tea’s health benefits may not seem surprising, this story becomes
particularly noteworthy when put in the context of the sheer difficulty
of convincing U.S. & Canadian governments to acknowledge specific
health benefits of herbs. After reviewing hundreds of studies conducted
over the past few decades, the Canadian government stated there
is enough evidence to prove that these particular teas are stimulants,
support cardiovascular health and are an important dietary source
of antioxidants. Tea is second only to water as the healthiest beverage
choice, according to healthy beverage guidelines that were developed
by a panel of American nutrition experts and published in the March
2006 issue of the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition. According
to experts like Dr. Carol Greenwood, a Professor of Nutritional
Sciences at the University of Toronto, "Tea is one of the highest
sources of antioxidants in the diet." The U.S. FDA has rejected
petitions similar to what Canada approved this week, saying there
is no evidence supporting these herbal health claims.
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