History, a subject that opens a window to look towards our past and helps us connect the dots of the days gone by.
Sometimes, it also throws light on how and why a certain habit becomes an indispensable part of our culture.
Here, we restrict ourselves to ‘tea’. Today tea is a part of our daily morning routine. Imagine how many cups of tea we casually guzzle during the office hours or even when at home! Have we ever thought benefits and disadvantages of tea?
‘Tea’ became our habit
But was tea a part of our culture always, or was it enslaved into our minds and systems by a few because, “Wherever people are in distress we always find somebody willing to take advantage of this distress,” says the book Diet and Reforms by M. K Gandhi. In part-2 of the book, the last chapter is dedicated to ‘tea’. This piece was written by J. C. Kumarappa in the weekly Harijan and was included in this book for its relevance.
Kumarappa writes (excerpts)-Disadvantages of drinking tea
In the rural areas milk is already in short supply. If we sincerely desire the welfare of the people, our attempt should he to find out ways and means of increasing the supply. No doubt the cities are dependent on the villages for the milk.
If an organization can be brought into being whereby the cities can run their own dairies in selected rural areas and be independent of the existing supply from the villages, that in itself will alleviate the distress in the rural areas. Of course, alongside of this programme we must have the long range programme of increasing the milk productivity of the cow by selective cattle breeding.
Wherever people are in distress we always find some- body willing to take advantage of this distress. There are people willing to rifle the pockets of dead soldiers. Thus the distress of somebody presents an opportunity to some one else to take advantage of.
At the present time the short supply of milk has provided a golden opportunity for the Indian Tea Market Expansion Board to carry on its destructive work. Mr. M. H. Miles, its Commissioner for India, is anxious to push forward to the villages and create the tea habit in the villages. This would imply, that by tanning the insides of the villagers and satisfying their hunger by decreasing the digestibility, we can automatically lessen their demand for milk !
This is a real menace to the health of rural India. In a vegetarian country the animal protein from milk is an essential constituent of the diet. Any habit which is calculated to decrease this is harmful to the villages and is anti-social.
Papers carry advertisement “ drink tea for stamina ”, which being lying propaganda must be stopped by the Government taking necessary steps to control the advertisements.
Indian consumption of tea in 1928-9 was 48.8 million pounds and it has risen in 1945-6 to 130 million pounds.
This is an increase of about 266 percent and yet they are carrying on a campaign of increasing tea consumption still further. Whatever may be said for tea for the well-to-do who are overfed, it is difficult to support the cause for tea in villages.
The work of the Indian Tea Market Expansion Board, therefore, is a menace to the rural areas which are already starving and suffering from malnutrition. We trust the popular governments will do what lies in their power to prevent any irreparable damage being done by the formation of habits which will be injurious to the growth and strength of the village people.
Disadvantages of drinking tea
If you are someone who likes to drink tea while eating food, then you should reconsider this habit. Tea reduces the absorption of iron in our body. And if you are in the habit of drinking tea at regular intervals, then the iron absorption in the body really goes down, which can lead to iron deficiency.
Due to reduced absorption of iron, you will feel low in energy and fatigued.
One solution is to avoid drinking tea before, during and after a meal. You can drink tea in moderation between two meals.
Iron is an element of hemoglobin and is essential for blood circulation. Iron is situated in red blood cells and carries oxygen to all parts of our body.