What’s in your morning cuppa? If you answered “coffee,” you’d be in the majority, at least in America. However, you’re a bold original — why not mix it up like the creative genius you are?
Exchanging one cup of coffee for tea could improve your overall health. Plus, you can customize your brew for your unique needs. Here are eight reasons you should be drinking tea.
Chamomile, green, oolong — there are so many varieties of tea that you might find it hard to select your favorite. America tends to prefer black tea, the type filling many commercial grocery store bags. Any kind you choose will impart health benefits, and Mother Nature even created caffeinated and decaf versions.
Many people purchase what they find at the grocery and call it good — after all, there are thousands of flavors from which to choose. True teas all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant and fall into six general categories:
- Black: The darkest and boldest type of tea. It undergoes the most oxidation.
- Green: Manufacturers fire the leaves to prevent oxidation. A lighter, more refreshing tea.
- White: Stemming from the baby bud of the tea plant that is then meticulously dried. It’s creamier than green tea.
- Oolong: Similar to green tea but partially oxidized, lending floral and sweet notes.
- Yellow: Making yellow tea entails drying the leaves slowly, letting them yellow, increasing the oxidation level but retaining the grassy smell typical of green tea.
- Pu-erh: This tea comes exclusively from China and has a rich, earthy flavor.
Herb teas consist of the bark, flowers, leaves, seeds and berries of plants. Various types have different medicinal qualities. It helps to check with your doctor before drinking herbal tea if you’re pregnant, nursing or on medications. Herbal preparations work because they contain natural ingredients similar to many human-made drugs, and like prescriptions, one can interfere with the other.
Could swapping one cup of your morning joe for green tea help you live a longer life? The science says yes.
One 2020 study investigated over 100,000 Chinese adults. They found those who drank green tea at least three times per week lived 15 months longer than those who did not. What would you do with an extra year and three months?
Are you struggling to shed the “quarantine 15?” If you want to lose unwanted pounds, switching to tea could help your efforts.
For example, any version of tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant contains EGCG, a polyphenol that may reduce the amount of fat your body stashes away, helping you shave pounds. The aspalathin in rooibos has a similar property, and blending the two could have you dropping pants sizes.
A note on “diet” teas containing senna: use caution. Senna is a potent laxative. It’s useful in conjunction with a high-fiber diet to help clear constipation, but drinking too much could have unwanted side effects — like making you pitch a tent in your bathroom.
While most herbal tea is naturally decaffeinated, true teas contain caffeine. Black tea has the highest content, thanks to complete oxidation. Green tea has about a third of the caffeine of your average cup of joe.
A cup of tea can wake you up in the morning, and it can do so without the jitters if you’re sensitive to the stuff, thanks to theobromine, a chemical that mitigates the effects. It might also help you escape the 3 p.m. doldrums if you sip a light cup of green around 2 p.m. It’s enough to boost your energy without keeping you up for half the night.
The right herbal tea can help you sleep. Chamomile and lavender with a bit of warm milk is a classic recipe for those nights when racing thoughts keep you tossing and turning.
Keep in mind herbal tea’s similarity to medications. Just like some prescriptions take a while to build up enough for efficacy, certain plants do the same. For example, valerian is fabulous for regulating your sleep cycle, but you have to drink it every day for maximum benefits. Perhaps add a bit to your nightly brew?
The right teas can soothe a tummyache. Mint teas often fit the bill for this purpose, calming your stomach muscles and improving bile flow, a substance your body uses to digest fats.
However, if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you might want to avoid mint. It can relax the sphincter between your stomach and esophagus, increasing heartburn symptoms. What to do in that case?
Reach for ginger. This root herb is well-known in Ayurvedic medicine for helping move food through your digestive tract, beating gas and bloating.
Are you worried about the world opening up while COVID-19 risks remain? If so, you can boost your immunity with the right tea. Clinical trials support echinacea’s efficacy, which you might bolster by adding astragalus and ginger.
Elderberry showed mixed results. One clinical trial showed it reduced a cold’s duration if taken at the onset, but other research shows little effect when taken preventatively.
If you’re a nursing mama, you have to be careful with herbal tea. However, sipping on fenugreek may help increase your milk supply.
However, you might not find the taste very palatable — it’s like drinking the forest floor. If you find the taste too off-putting, perhaps baking a batch of cookies with these seeds is a better idea.
Why not mix up your morning brew? Drinking tea can have decided health benefits.
Choose a true tea or a herbal blend. The right mix can help you live longer and wring more life out of those years.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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