How to Boost Your Health by Drinking Tea
Everyone loves a nice cup of tea. Tea is refreshing and although it can be enjoyed on its own, tea with milk is the perfect beverage to accompany a slice of cake and a few sandwiches. But whilst tea is delicious, with or without milk, never underestimate the health benefits that come from drinking tea on a daily basis.
There are many different types of tea and they all have their own health giving properties. Some can be enjoyed with milk; others are best drunk without. You may not like every single variety of tea on offer. Some have a very distinctive flavor and are not everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended!). But if you do like a nice cup of tea, you are part of a very long tradition.
A Brief History of Tea
Tea is the most popular drink in the UK and many people believe that tea drinking tea is a quintessentially British habit. In fact this is not the case at all and the tradition of tea drinking dates back to around 2737 BC. According to legends, Shen Nung, the Emperor of China was sitting under a tree waiting for his servant to prepare some freshly boiled water. Some of the leaves from the tree above dropped into the cup, so the Emperor decided to be brave and try the interesting infusion. The result was tea.
Tea soon became the most popular drink in China and by the late 8th century, the tea drinking tradition had spread to Japan where it soon became an important part of Japanese culture, too. It wasn’t until the late 16th century that Europeans caught on to the joys of tea drinking. Dutch traders began importing tea from the East and by the 17th century, tea was a fashionable drink amongst the wealthy upper class.
There was much discussion in the 19th century about the health benefits of drinking tea, but although we now know that tea drinking can be good for our health, back then they were a bit suspicious. Nevertheless, once taxation on tea ended, tea continued to be as popular in the 19th century as it is today, but whereas there were very few varieties of tea to choose from, today we are split for choice.
The Different Types of Tea
There are so many different types of tea in the shops today that it can be difficult to know which ones to buy. However, each variety of tea has its own benefits, so if you are looking to boost your health, here is a quick overview of which one you should be drinking – and why.
Green tea is great for weight loss. Green tea contains catechins, which help to raise the metabolism, so if you drink around five cups of green tea per day, you should start to lose some of your excess body fat. Drinking green tea can also lower cholesterol levels.
Peppermint tea is useful if you suffer from IBS. Drinking peppermint tea after food helps to relax the muscles in the intestinal tract, which prevents painful spasms commonly experienced by IBS sufferers. Green tea can also reduce bouts of IBS diarrhea and tummy pain.
Black tea is the traditional tea we know and love. Just four cups of tea with milk per day give us 20% of our daily calcium intake, plus it can help to reduce excess levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Black tea is also rich in manganese and fluoride.
White tea is made from the buds of the tea plant and contains high levels of antioxidants, which are great for the immune system. White tea is also good for the skin as it boosts levels of elastin and collagen.
Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine free and if you like the taste of black tea, but don’t want the caffeine, Rooibos tea from South Africa is a great alternative. Rooibos tea does not contain tannin, so it won’t inhibit iron absorption. So if you are suffering from anemia, it is OK to drink rooibos tea with your meal.
There are lots of fruit and herbal teas that are naturally caffeine free and very refreshing. Chamomile tea is a great favorite and drinking a cup of chamomile tea daily is believed to lower blood sugar levels. Other teas, such as feverfew and lemongrass tea, contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, which can help to boost the immune system.
Good quality tea has many direct health benefits, so make sure you brew a nice cup of tea at least once a day.