Your best-selling book The Year of Magical Thinking chronicles your grief
following the loss of your husband, John. What surprised you most about
I did not expect the degree of derangement-both physiological and mental. An
example of the latter: Two weeks after John died, when I filled out a hospital
form for the autopsy report, I gave not my own address but that of an apartment
in which we had lived for the first four or five months of our marriage, in
The health benefits of tea are one compelling reason: Green and
black teas have 10 times the antioxidants found in fruits and veggies, by one
For jaded coffee drinkers, tea also offers new sensory
frontiers, with its roots in Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African, and South
When you sip a chai tea latte, for example, you're enjoying a
beverage born in India. "All over India, on almost every street corner,
vendors sell chai tea," says Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Council of
"The traditional tea lover won't like chai tea that
much," he tells WebMD. "The spices -- ginger, cardamom -- overpower the
taste of the black tea. But for American coffee consumers, it's
In the U.S., elegant tea salons, tearooms, and take-out tea
shops are popping up everywhere, says Simrany. "Four years ago, we had
one-quarter the tea salons we have today. Even coffee shops are selling more
People find tranquility in tearooms, says Dominique Tanton,
manager of the Dushanbe Teahouse, an exquisite traditional Persian teahouse in
"Coffee shops are for the quick caffeine buzz before work
or while you're frantically studying for a test," she tells WebMD. "A
tearoom is for slowing down, relaxing, admiring the surroundings."
Studies of humans, animals, and Petri dish experiments show
that black and green tea is highly beneficial to our health, says 82-year-old
John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention
in Valhalla, N.Y.
"I've published over 500 papers, including a hell of a lot
on tea," says Weisburger, who drinks 10 cups daily. "I was the first
American researcher to show that tea modifies the metabolism to detoxify
Green tea, black tea, oolong tea -- they all come from the same
tea plant, Camellia sinensis; the leaves are simply processed
differently, explains Weisburger. Green tea leaves are not fermented; they are
withered and steamed. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo crushing and
All teas from the Camellia tea plant are rich in
polyphenols, which are antioxidants -- meaning they scavenge for cell-damaging
free radicals and detoxify them, says Weisburger.
"Astounding" aptly describes tea's antioxidant power:
"Whether it's green or black, tea has about 8 to 10 times the polyphenols
found in fruits and vegetables," he says.
While herbal teas may also contain antioxidants, less is known
about them, Weisburger adds.
"In my lab, we found that green and black tea had identical
amounts of polyphenols," he tells WebMD. "We found that both types of
tea blocked DNA damage associated with tobacco and other toxic chemicals. In
animal studies, tea-drinking rats have less cancer."
Look at the world's big tea-drinkers, like Japan and China.
"They have much less heart disease and don't have certain cancers that we
in the western world suffer," says Weisburger.
However, be careful about doctoring-up your tea, says
Weisburger. One study found that adding too much milk to can greatly reduce
tea's health benefits.