Cuppa tea perfect for health and pocket

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

As the credit crunch bites it is important to find nutritious food at affordable prices. It is therefore important to think hard about what we put into our shopping baskets.

This makes the job of finding healthy and nutritious items for our families that much harder. What you may not have known is that the cup of tea you can't do without every day is as affordable as it is good for you, in addition to tasting great. Tea is naturally packed full of antioxidants, is naturally preservative free and low in calories.

And the best news yet? Tea is the most cost-effective beverage compared to other drinks such as fruit juice, bottled water and store-bought iced tea. In the current economic climate, where every cent counts, this is definitely in tea's favour.

Debbie Shepard, brand manager at Five Roses, says black tea is naturally low in calories, containing only one calorie per 100ml.

"This makes tea a perfect low-calorie drink option, provided you control the amount of sugar and milk you use per cup. A cup of tea also contributes to your daily water intake, as you will typically use one teabag per 180ml of water," says Shepard.

And what about the caffeine content? Shepard says black tea contains about half the amount found in a cup of brewed coffee.

"Tea is packed full of polyphenols, which are a good source of antioxidants. Foods containing high levels of antioxidants have been celebrated for their ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Antioxidants also help to build the body's natural immunity and improve skin tissue.

"And in this day and age, when food is treated with all kinds of preservatives, tea is naturally preservative free, another reason why this drink is so popular, and shown to be the second most widely consumed beverage, after water."

Tea tips:

l Tea is a cost-effective way of keeping healthy. A cup of tea works out to about only 19 cents!

l Home-made iced tea is easy to make and a great healthy alternative to carbonated soft drinks and juices for the whole family;

l Chilled iced tea served with fresh mint is a stylish addition to any alfresco meal;

l Meet friends for tea instead of coffee.