Investing in your wellbeing is an essential element in nurturing yourself and building resilience and personal strength. For thousands of years the Eastern cultures have regarded tea as the key to health, happiness and wisdom. Clearly, tea affords many benefits and has now been researched more in-depth by western scientists to reveal the spectacular health qualities found in tea. In my book, “Escape From Anxiety–Supercharge With Powerful Strategies From A to Z,” I share over 100 techniques for interrupting the patterns of stress and anxiety. Drinking calming tea is one of my recommendations. Here are other benefits:
1. Social aspect
Tea lovers have a special bond. Whether differing widely in age or nationalities or speak different languages, we treasure our magical tea ceremonies and enjoy sharing the experiences with other appreciative tea drinkers. The attraction of being together for a shared experience contributes to our humanity and a sense of personal values. It is especially beneficial when friends assemble to converse, share ideas and exchange niceties. Such socialization contributes to a feeling of connectedness and adds to our longevity. Of course purists identify black, white, green or oolong teas as the teas but while herbal teas may not have the same extent of healing compounds, they do offer many advantages.
A stress interrupter can be as simple as taking a time-out to drink a hot cup of tea. Just being able to take a few minutes to relax, sit quietly and have some brewed tea can renew, restore and revitalize. It temporarily removes you from the annoyances or challenges of the day and gives you a break to reflect and to warm up your insides! The experience is nurturing and serves as an important investment in your own wellbeing. Certain teas have particularly calming effect. The herbal tea chamomile, for example, is excellent for quieting the nervous system as it has a high magnesium content so its good for relieving stress and, when taken in the evening, helps encourage a good nights sleep.
3. Health-giving flavonoids
Green, black, oolong and white teas contain polyphenols, antioxidants that repair cells and help fight free radicals that can trigger cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and more. Enjoy daily cups of tea knowing you are potentially avoiding these diseases and extending your lifespan.
4. Increasing memory and focus
The combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, a naturally-occurring amino acid found in black and green teas, improves memory, concentration and reaction times. It may lower the risk of dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons and other neurological disorders as studies have shown that tea acts on brain theta waves to increase attention span and stimulate neural pathways. You might consider drinking tea before a presentation or a meeting to sharpen your brain for better performance.
5. Improving exercise endurance
The antioxidants in green tea extract have been found to increase the bodys ability to burn fat as fuel. This improves muscle endurance and can boost the effects of exercise. Caffeine in green and black teas also contribute and, unlike coffee, there is rarely a crash as the teass antioxidants help absorb the caffeine more evenly without creating major spikes.
6. Slowing the aging process
When under stress, the hormone cortisol is released which speeds up your heart rate, contributes to belly fat and ages your skin faster. A recent study suggests that consuming tea daily may lower cortisol levels more quickly, especially when done daily over six weeks.
7. Assisting in Weight control
Certain varieties of oolong teas are being used as weight loss supplements and has been shown to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome (which can also lead to stroke and diabetes). Although the science isnt yet conclusive, it is true that if you drink a cup of warm tea prior to a meal, you dont eat as much and therefore consume fewer calories. Weight loss is inevitable.
8. Lowering cholesterol
Trendy green tea gets a positive nod for its ability to lower both types of cholesterol—serum and LDL. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cited that five cups per day were required to provide results.
9. Reducing inflammation
Inflammation triggers many of today’s ailments from arthritis to depression. Its been known to cause water retention so you feel bloated and look puffy. Active compounds in tea can lower inflammation levels and just a few cups a day can help you look and feel thinner.
For the utmost benefit, teas should be consumed without sugar or artificial sweeteners and brewed teas are preferable to bottled teas (which typically contain additives). For most black and oolong teas, steep 3-5 minutes. For green teas, steep 2-3 minutes. Herbal teas, especially from floral leaves, can be steeped from 6-10 minutes.