A Beverage Fit to a Tea
Steepers of leaves enjoy a host of health benefits
Tea — people throughout the world take time out of their day to enjoy it and to slow down and savor the experience of making it, like they are communing with the leaves as they infuse the water. It’s a calming practice that soothes the mind and body. And, tea has some great health benefits that make drinking it even more appealing.
Studies have shown that regular tea drinkers are less likely to develop heart disease or die prematurely than tea teetotalers. These health benefits are especially noticeable among people who drink tea at least three times per week. And, green tea versus black tea is especially beneficial. Tea’s ability to reduce blood pressure is thought to reduce the risk of a fatal stroke. Tea is also rich in flavonoids, which reduce oxidative stress and alleviate damaging inflammation in the body.
Additional studies indicate that drinking tea can help protect your teeth and possibly even help you avoid cancer. It’s also an effective way of getting the needed amount of daily fluids.
Before you go out and just start buying tea willy-nilly, you should know that the type of tea you’re drinking actually makes a big difference in the benefits you receive.
Non-herbal teas are made with the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and the processing time for the leaves determines whether a green, black or oolong tea results. Green teas are the least processed and generally have the highest amounts of polyphenols, which are beneficial micronutrients that your body uses in tandem with antioxidants to help reduce oxidative stress and the resulting health issues.
Green teas are also the only type to contain catechin, which helps prevent cell damage in the body. And certain herbal teas are also known for medicinal properties such as their ability to soothe the digestive system.
For anyone looking for anti-aging properties, white tea offers antioxidants that help prevent the adverse effects of aging and exposure to pollutants. Because white tea is less processed than black or green tea, it retains more of its beneficial antioxidants.
Looking for a boost without the caffeine and its resultant crash? Try herbal tea.
Herbal blends are caffeine-free, while traditional teas contain less than 50 percent of the amount in coffee — great news for your nervous system, which takes a hit every time you consume caffeine. Coffee addicts take note: Chicory root teas have a similar mouth feel and flavor to coffee and are known to be a stress reducer. They are also full of prebiotics that help keep your gut happy.
“Tea is such a great way to get a boost of energy without the crazy jolt you get from coffee,” said Madi Hanna of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Destin. Daughter to owners Jen and J.J. Hanna in addition to being one of the shop’s employees, Hanna has sampled all the teas stocked by the store and appreciates the benefits and flavor profiles of many different teas.
“Tea offers a more slow-burning source of energy, which makes you feel better and helps avoid the crash that comes with drinking a cup of coffee,” she said.
Another benefit: Drinking tea may help prevent bone loss. Moringa tea, made from a plant found in South Asia, contains more calcium than milk, in addition to iron and vitamins A and K.
Along those same lines, research indicates that tea can decrease tooth loss because it alters the pH in your mouth when you drink it, which may prevent cavities. It also does not appear to erode tooth enamel, something that coffee is known to do.
Looking for a great way to boost your immune system? Studies have shown that teas like holy basil or tulsi tea can help keep the immune system strong following injuries or illnesses because of their antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
The digestive system also benefits from your daily tea intake. Herbal teas such as chamomile may help irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because it is an antispasmodic. Additionally, ginger teas can calm nausea.
Over centuries, tea has earned its reputation as a healthful, helpful beverage — no matter what you do with your pinkie.
The Spice & Tea Exchange
4317 Legendary Drive in Destin.
For more information, call (850) 837-1095 or visit spiceandtea.com.