Tea and Plastics: the most recent example of healthy food packaged/prepared badly

As fertility specialists we try to point out how diet/lifestyle can optimize your fertility efforts. Recently, I shared the latest information that coffee and tea can actually have some benefits—despite popular, but misguided beliefs. But it is always important to realize that it’s not just what we consume—but also how we prepare it that matters!

Fancy tea bags

Tea can easily become an example of a healthy drink gone bad if not prepared properly. A recent study from McGill University demonstrated that just one of the new fancy plastic tea bags can release 11 billion microplastic and 3 billion nanoplastic particles into your drink in as little as five minutes when prepared at standard temperatures. These tiny particles cannot be seen without a microscope. But because of their size they can enter your body much easier than they can ever leave. In fact, a study from the World Wild Life Fund found that it is not unusual for people to consume about 5 grams of plastic per week by eating sea food or drinking beer from cans lined with plastic. That’s equivalent to eating the amount of plastic in a credit card each week!

Although we don’t (yet) know of all of the potential health effects of micro-particles—we do know that plastics can have a negative impact upon fertility due to the chemicals that they contain. In fact, a direct link has been found between the ingredients used in plastics upon egg quality and maturation (their ability to be fertilized). More importantly, these plastic tea bags are not needed and have only recently been introduced.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Say “NO” to unnecessary plastics—as consumers you speak volumes with your purchases. Let companies know if you’re choosing to not use their products due to their packaging choices
  • Get a re-usable device to steep your tea
  • Support organizations like the Environmental Working Group that offer tips to minimize your exposure to plastics

 

As I said in my previous blog post, “these low calorie, plant based beverages may have some health and fertility boosting benefits.” But now I’ll modify my statement with a reminder that this is only true if packaged and prepared in a health way.

Stay informed and motivated,

~Robert

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG

Conceptions Reproductive Associates of Colorado

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