How Tea Can Help With Mental Health: Featuring The Genuine Tea Company

There are not enough words in the world for me to write about how much I love this tea company.

Genuine Tea is ethically sourced, free of artificial flavouring and colours, and the best part for people who may have celiac disease, they are 100% gluten free! This Toronto, Ontario based company hand packages their tea with love, care and excitement to all orders of their super flavourful tea.

Another big reason I support Genuine Tea, is for every cup of their tea that you enjoy, 1% of proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

With the uprise in mental health awareness, it is really refreshing to see a company that supports such an important cause. Recently there have been many studies showing the many major benefits of tea with overall health. Some of these benefits are listed below.

The Benefits of Tea on Mental and Physical Health:

Tea not only tastes great, but there is a lot of research backing the many health benefits found within the nutrients in tea. The bioactive compounds found in tea are called flavonoids, which are plant compounds with a variety of health benefits. Researchers have found a decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and some cancers with a diet rich in flavonoids. If this was not reason enough to add more flavonoids into your diet, they also have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease.

The amino acid, L-theanine, which is found in tea has been found in some studies to alter the attention networks in the brain and also has clear-cut effects on brain waves. This then leads to a feeling of relaxation without having any drowsiness. A placebo-controlled study was done to show how the people who drank tea were better at doing an attention task than those who drank the placebo drink. Green tea for instance has been shown to help with concentration and relaxation without having the jittery side effects that can occur with coffee. Even more fascinatingly, there have been studies showing that theanine has some success of reducing anxiety and other symptoms in people with schizophrenia!

There are also polyphenols found in tea that can contribute to better cognition and working memory. There have been many studies on people with Alzheimer’s disease that shows drinking green tea can lead to promising results with improving a decline in memory, cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tea has also been shown to help with a decline in stressful situations. One study showed that drinking 4 cups of oolong tea everyday for a week helped to decrease the symptoms of stiffness in the shoulders and neck, fatigue of the eyes and headaches. Black tea has also been shown to decrease stress hormones if consumed regularly.

It is safe to say, when we are in and out of stressful situations we can all learn a lesson from those in England who have a cuppa close in hand!

Regardless of the type of tea you like to consume on a regular basis I can “guarantea” that it will have many positive beneficial outcomes for your overall health!

If you are considering adding tea to your daily routine or looking for another company to try and enjoy, check out Genuine Tea and support their amazing Canadian small business!

Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-flavonoids#1

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jhs/49/6/49_6_436/_pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210905/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/98/6/1700S/4577506

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21208586/


Which Tea Companies Are Gluten Free?

As a continuation from last week’s post of what can make tea not gluten free, here are some companies I have contacted to find out if they are 100% gluten free or not. As a disclaimer, I was not sponsored by any of the companies in this blog post.

First, let’s start with the companies that cannot make any claims that their tea is safe for someone with celiac disease. As a disclaimer, do your own research into all of the companies listed if you need to in order to feel more comfortable. The information below is the replies I received from the individual companies. I asked if they can 100% guarantee that their tea is gluten free within the ingredients AND the facility they are made in. Every person with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity has different comfort levels when it comes to ordering out or buying processed products.

The tea companies that potentially have gluten – Sip at your own risk

Starbucks Teavana

This company uses Teavana tea, which used to be a solo store franchise but back in 2017 Starbucks closed all locations. Since then you can still purchase certain select Teavana tea’s at Starbucks store locations and when you order a tea from the barista it is from Teavana. Starbucks cannot 100% guarantee the tea or tea lattes made in house are 100% gluten free. They also did not mention if their tea bags are sealed with wheat paste. This is the reply I received from Starbucks:

“Please note that Starbucks locations cannot guarantee a gluten-free environment due to the possibility of cross-contamination. Products made with no gluten-containing ingredients does not mean the item is gluten-free. It means the item was not made with any ingredients derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats, but may contain gluten due to the risk of cross contact.”

As mentioned in my last post, gluten can be hidden ingredients like ‘flavourings,’ which most of the teas from Teavana have included. If it contains or may contain any gluten or wheat ingredients this has to be stated on the packaging by law. So be sure to read the labels before you consume your tasty drink and be aware that possible cross contamination can occur in house as the baristas do not typically do a deep clean of the machinery before making any of your drinks. You can also ask to read the ingredients before you order as well. I personally did this with their hot chocolate mix and the bag stated that it may contain gluten, so I personally passed on the mocha. However, if you are in dire need of a warm drink, getting a tea bag and hot water may be a safe option.

Website found here.

Tim Hortons

I was a bit disappointed with Tim Hortons customer service as the only answer I received was a link to the ‘Nutrition and Wellness’ section of their website which is not very detailed. Therefore, I am going to presume they will be similar to Starbucks where they cannot 100% guarantee their tea and drinks will be gluten free due to cross contamination in the facility it is being made. The boxes of the tea does not state anything about gluten or ‘may contain.’ However, some of the teas do have flavourings added and as mentioned above if it contains wheat or gluten it must be stated in the ingredients. As for if the tea bags are sealed with wheat paste, I did not get an answer so I cannot say ‘yay or nay’ for sure. As always, do your own due diligence and contact the companies yourself to be sure you are comfortable with consuming their tea products at the restaurants or in the individual boxes you can purchase at select stores and in Tim Hortons locations.

Website found here.

Blenz Tea

This was one of my favourite cafe’s to go into for a tea latte. Unfortunately, this will be no longer as they cannot guarantee no gluten cross contamination. Here was their response:

“Sorry for the delay in getting back to you Lauren, we just wanted to do our due diligence on this as we can understand it is a sensitive case. Our teas are gluten free however, we’re unable to guarantee that there will be no gluten traces as the production facility they are put together in may contain other gluten products. Our stores also do serve gluten products so there may be some cross contamination that can occur. I’m sorry that it seems we cannot accommodate your particular needs but we will make note of this as feedback for us to take into consideration as we move forward with new products and store openings.”

So as unfortunate as it is, at least they will be taking it into consideration for future reference.

Website found here.

David’s Tea

I have always loved the tea but also the great customer service from David’s Tea. The representative responded to my email as so:

Although most of our teas do not contain gluten, they are not produced in dedicated gluten-free facilities. There is always a risk of cross-contamination with all our teas. 

At this time we suggest that all people with severe allergies avoid consuming our products. Even though there may not be allergens in a particular tea blend, there is always a chance that somewhere along the line they may have come in contact with potential allergens as our producers do not have allergen-free facilities.

They did mention that the chances of their ‘straight teas’ coming into contact with gluten is very low, however, they do not regularly test their products for allergens. If you feel comfortable with those odds, have at ‘er!

Website found here.

Marks and Spencer Tea

I only asked about their ‘luxury gold loose leaf tea,’ so if you have any questions about any other teas or flavours, please contact M&S to find out.

Unfortunately, these products don’t have the symbol for ‘gluten free.’  Consequently,  we couldn’t  ensure that products are safe for you.

In any case I suggest to you visit our on-line shop and search for the category ‘Gluten free.'”

As mentioned in the reply, visit the online shop and look under the gluten free category to find out more about any other teas at the store.

Website found here.

Lipton Tea

Similar to other companies, Lipton cannot guarantee their products are gluten free at this time.

Many Unilever products are produced using ingredients which naturally do not contain gluten. However, at this time we have not validated that our suppliers can guarantee the elimination of any potential cross-contamination risks from other materials within their production facility which may contain gluten or from shared equipment. Unilever products labeled as gluten-free contain gluten-free ingredients and no cross-contact of ingredients during processing. We apologize we cannot be of more assistance. 

Therefore, if you are to buy a Lipton tea product, look for a ‘gluten free’ label. If this label is not on the product, make your own judgement if you are comfortable with trying the tea or not.

Website found here.

Tazo

This company unfortunately does not test for any traces of gluten and therefore cannot guarantee their products to be gluten free. As stated by the companies reply:

Unfortunately we do not test for gluten. Because Tazo products and ingredients are not tested for gluten content, we are unable to say that they are gluten-free.

Website found here.

T by Daniel

The response of this one did make me a bit sad as this is a tea company from my hometown, regardless of allergens, it is bloody good tea.

Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately I cannot guarantee that our teas are 100% Gluten Free. Although many of the teas do not contain any known traces of gluten, they are not manufactured in a 100% certified gluten free facility.

He did say that there are no ‘known’ traces of gluten, however this does not mean the tea is 100% gluten free as they do not actively test for any traces of allergens including gluten at this time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they may change their minds and start testing their products in the near future.

Website found here.

The tea companies may not have gluten

The tea companies listed below are not tested or can say that their tea is 100% gluten free, however they do have strict measures in place to decrease the likelihood of any gluten in their tea products.

Traditional Medicinals

This company does not actively test for gluten, but they do have allergen policies that they follow as stated below:

Thanks for reaching out to us. While we don’t make any gluten-free label claims and don’t actively test our products for gluten, we take precautions to prevent gluten cross-contamination. All of our ingredients – including the tea bags and packaging – are naturally gluten-free and we do not process/use gluten ingredients in our supplement manufacturing facility. In order to prevent cross-contamination before the herbs enter our facility, we actively maintain allergen policies with all of our suppliers.

As they do take precautions to prevent gluten cross contamination, you may be comfortable consuming their products. If you are not, look for teas that have gluten free written on the label or the certified gluten free symbol on the product’s box.

Website found here.

Stash Tea Company

This one is a bit of a tricky one. They can confirm that their suppliers ingredients are gluten free, but they cannot guarantee because they do not test the products themselves for any traces of gluten.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We do not test our teas for the presence of gluten, nor do we certify them as gluten free.
We have collected statements from our ingredient suppliers stating that all ingredients we purchase are gluten free. Therefore, to the best of our knowledge all of our teas are gluten free. However, we cannot guarantee that our teas are gluten free due to not testing them ourselves, at this time.
Our tea bag products do not directly come into contact with gluten-producing production equipment, but are manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat-containing products. We do have an allergen control program in place to minimize any risk of cross contamination.
Our loose leaf tea production facility is allergen-free from the eight major US allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soybeans.

I personally, as a celiac, have never had and issue with consuming Stash tea. However, they cannot fully guarantee their products are gluten free as they do not test the products themselves. Therefore, I had to put this company in the ‘may not be’ gluten free section of this blog but if you are comfortable with the response above, their tea is delicious. I do make sure I only buy their tea that does not have any questionable ingredients such as added flavouring.

Website found here.

The Tea Haus

This one was a bit tricky, but here we are representing another Canadian company on the gluten free list. Their suppliers cannot 100% guarantee their tea’s are gluten free due to how it is handled in the facility. However! The company themselves do have specific measures in place, and has mentioned that their flavourings are even gluten free. Read the following reply for the full response:

Thanks for your message. Unfortunately, none of our suppliers offer a 100% gluten-free guarantee. They don’t want to take the risk that somebody down the line has a sandwich before handling your tea and causes cross-contamination. That being said, they have very stringent measures in place. Even the flavours that are being used, don’t contain gluten. If you really want to be on the safe side, only purchase teas and herbs that are pure, without any flavours.

As mentioned in the paragraph above, if you are concerned about any gluten contamination, you can opt for their plain teas without any flavourings. But if you are really concerned and do not want to take the risk, go for the companies on this gluten free list that can 100% guarantee that their teas are all gluten free.

Website found here.

Celestial Seasonings

They replied with a very detailed email explaining their protocols with the processing and labeling of their teas. I have shortened it a bit as follows:

We do not have lists of products that are specifically considered to be gluten free. Reading the label is the best way to check for the presence of ingredients which contain gluten. If gluten is a major ingredient, it will be specified in the ingredient list. For consumers concerned about the presence of trace amounts of gluten, we suggest avoiding products that include oats, natural flavors or spices.

Hain Celestial Group products that make a gluten-free claim are declared as such by utilizing the a triangular Gluten-Free symbol, by carrying the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) Seal, or stating “gluten free” on packaging. 

In addition to meeting the FDA’s standard for ‘Gluten Free’ of less than 20 parts per million of gluten, all of our gluten free products are formulated without the presence of any gluten containing ingredients. All manufacturing facilities for Hain Celestial’s products employ good manufacturing processes and procedures to prevent allergen cross-contact.  Each facility has established rigid allergen control programs that include staff training, segregation of allergen containing ingredients, production scheduling, and thorough cleaning and sanitation. These allergen and sanitation programs are verified by our Quality Assurance department.

Therefore, read the labels of their teas and look for ones that are labeled ‘gluten free’ or have the gluten free symbol on them.

Website found here.

The tea companies that are 100% gluten free

The tea companies listed below are 100% positively, no questions asked gluten free.

Yorkshire Tea

Their response was very short and sweet and right to the point:

We can confirm that all our Yorkshire Teas are Gluten free.

I asked if all loose leaf and bagged tea was gluten free, so I am assuming this means the tea bags, tea leaves, flavourings and the facility is all free of gluten. If you need more confirmation, please contact the company.

Website found here.

Tetley Tea

This company can 100% guarantee their tea’s are for sure gluten free.

None of our teas contain gluten.

We obtain allergen declarations for all ingredients and any factory we use them in and for any co-manufactured product. Suppliers must disclose whether the products contain any allergens and whether there is any risk of cross-contamination from other ingredients or products that our teas may come into contact with.

If the supplier answers yes to this second question and cannot guarantee that cross-contamination can be avoided, then we would include a “may contain” warning on pack.

Based on these declarations, if the product does not have a “contains” or “may contain” statement on pack, then it does not contain an allergen. Such pack warnings would also be bolded so they’re easy to see.

As always, be sure to read the labels of the products you are buying to look out for any gluten containing ingredients or ‘contain’ or ‘may contain’ statements on the package.

Website found here.

Twinings

This company does not permit any of the top allergens into their facilities. Therefore, you will know while you are sipping on your great cuppa, that your belly will be free of not just gluten but other allergens as well. As the company stated in their reply:

Twinings does not permit the presence of any of the allergens that require declaring under allergen labeling regulations.
• Gluten • Egg • Milk (except for Chai Latte & French Vanilla Chai Latte K-Cups®) • Crustacean • Fish • Mollusc • Nuts • Sesame seeds • Soy • Mustard • Celery • Sulphur dioxide • Lupin • Wheat • Coconut (Except for our Comfort blend)
Therefore all our teas and infusions are free from those components and their derivatives.

Website found here.

Genuine Tea

Representing another amazing Canadian tea company that I personally am obsessed with. They originate out of my home city of Toronto, and even though I may be biased, I can genuinely (pun intended!) can confirm that this may be some of the best tea you get your hands on. This is not a sponsored blog post at all, however I wanted to give this company a shout out on my gluten free list of teas as they are 100% gluten free! The best part about purchasing from this company as well is 1% of all proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), how amazing is that! I originally contacted this company through Instagram to find out about the possibility of cross contamination of gluten in their teas. Their response is as follows:

All of our teas are 100% gluten free, no trace of gluten or cross contamination. The taste notes listed on the packages are simply notes regarding the flavour and those ingredients are not actually in the tea.

There are ‘tasting notes’ listed on the front of their packaging, and one of the ingredients can be malt. As we learned in my last post, malt can sometimes be a sneaky ingredient for hidden gluten. But rest assured, in this case it is just what the tea ‘tastes’ like and does not actually contain those ingredients. I would highly recommend giving this tea company a try!

Website found here.

Mighty Leaf Tea

This is another fantastic gluten free tea company. The certified gluten free symbol is on their boxes so you can be assured that their teas are all 100% gluten free and celiac safe! Not to mention that their teas are absolutely delicious as well. Be sure to read the labels and look for the certified gluten free symbol on the boxes when you purchase to be sure that at the time you buy them the company has continued to certify their products.

Website found here.

Choice Organic Tea

Yet another great tea company choice (again, pun intended). Their teas are flavourful and are gluten free! Therefore, you can be assured that their teas are all 100% gluten free. Be sure to read the labels and look for the certified gluten free symbol on the boxes when you purchase as the company seems to have moved their processing facility, read the response below:

All our teas and packaging materials are still gluten free. Our East West Tea facility, where Choice Organics teas are now being produced, is a brand new LEED certified building and is gluten free. However, given that East West Tea Company has not gone through the process to obtain official gluten free certification, our products are not labeled as such.

Even though their new packaging does not have the certified symbol on it anymore, they have ensured that their teas and packaging materials are all still gluten free, as mentioned above.

Website found here.

Numi Tea

I drink this tea every single day, and it is absolutely lovely. The company has ensured that all ingredients and the facility that the tea’s are made in are all 100% gluten free.

Thank you for contacting us! Numi Tea’s, across the board, are safe from all of the most common known allergens:

milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soybeans, gluten

Our teas do not contain these ingredients and are processed in facilities that are free from these ingredients.

Their company also gives back to the community, “Your purchase helps fight global warming, reduce plastic waste, and provide fair wages and opportunities for tea farmers around the world.” It is nice to know a portion of the proceeds of your purchase will be going to some good in the world.

This is a fantastic tea company, I would highly recommend!

Website found here.

DōMatcha

If you want an incredibly smooth and delicious matcha, this is the one! I spoke with the company over Instagram about their gluten free policies:

Yes our teas are gluten free. Only green tea is processed in our facilities.

I was never a fan of matcha before, but this company has made me fall in love with it. It is an absolute bonus that their teas are 100% gluten free. The quality of their matcha is one of the best in my opinion. As mentioned on their website, “DōMatcha® is 100% authentic Japanese stone-ground green tea, directly from Kagoshima and Uji, Kyoto where Japanese matcha originated, and most premium matcha is produced today. Our supplier is based in Uji, Kyoto and has been in the tea business for 300 years. DōMatcha® is partnered with the famous 16th-generation Japanese tea master Kazunori Handa-san, whose family’s knowledge and expertise has been handed down generation after generation for over 400 years. We are very grateful and continuously excited to work with such illustrious Japanese experts to bring superior matcha to North American and international markets.”

I would highly recommend this matcha for your gluten free enjoyment!

Website found here.

Pukka Tea

I am still waiting a response from the company at this time and will update the blog post once I do get a response. However, on the companies website they have a ‘frequently asked’ section which talks about gluten in their products:

“All Pukka teas are free from gluten containing ingredients. However, we want to point out that Night Time and Relax contain oat straw flowering tops. Although the analytical tests undertaken on these teas show that gluten is absent, consumers who are extremely sensitive may want to check the suitability of oat straw further for related gluten allergies like avenin.”

I do really like that they brought in the awareness to oat in some of their products as some individuals with celiac disease may react to the protein avenin found in oats. I’ll write a blog post more on this subject at a later time. I personally drink their teas and have never had an issue with them, but I do steer clear of the ones with oats in them.

Website found here.

Summary

If you are a lover of tea but have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, be sure to do your research into the teas you are consuming on a regular basis to see if there are any potential cross contamination risks of gluten. Whichever your comfort level of cross contamination, be sure to read the labels of the products you are buying to look for any gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ statements. Continue to sip and be happy!

If you have any other tea companies you would like me to look into regarding gluten contamination, please feel free to write them in the comments below 🙂

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References and Stores Mentioned

https://www.genuinetea.ca/

https://theteahaus.com/

https://www.tetley.ca/en

https://www.davidstea.com/ca_en/home/

http://www.celestialseasonings.com/products

https://en.yorkshiretea.ca/

https://www.marksandspencer.com/c/food-to-order

https://www.stashtea.com/

https://www.lipton.com/ca/en/home.html

https://www.starbucks.ca/

https://twinings.ca/

https://www.tazo.com/ca/en/

https://www.timhortons.com/

https://www.iamdaniel.ca/

https://www.mightyleaf.ca/

https://domatcha.ca/

https://www.pukkaherbs.com/ca/en