Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hot Tea Enjoyment - Why Tea Reduces Stress

Another in the continuing series on Drinking Hot Tea, this time we address why tea is good for us and makes us feel better.
Recently my husband and I have been adding a cup of tea to our end of day ritual.  He cuts up some fruit and makes an herbal tea which we enjoy while unwinding before bed.  I have chosen a tea with Holy Basil in it to help calm the mind and aid in relaxation.
The fact tea makes you feel better is almost a cliché. But all clichés start from somewhere. The starting place for tea has to do with the fact it makes you feel better in so many different ways.
  • You drink tea when you are sick (Physical)
  • You offer tea to someone who is sad (Emotional)
  • You drink tea to calm down (Psychological)
So why do so many people believe that tea makes you feel better and are they right?
How Tea Reduces Stress
There is an amino acid in tea called theanine. There are numerous studies showing that people who take theanine supplements consistently have lower levels of stress. And when you combine theanine with caffeine, it helps to boost your brain activity as well as your mood.
It is this boost in mood and brain activity that gives us this sense of relaxation and well being that only tea can provide. Theanine is only found in tea and a very rare species of mushrooms that people do not regularly eat. So, if you are into getting your supplements naturally, tea is the only common way to get a good dose of theanine.
There is also just something about hot drinks when you are sick that is irreplaceable. If you are stuffy, they help you breathe better. If you have a sore throat, the heat helps to soothe it. This reason we all like hot drinks when we are not feeling well. Just like Grandma's chicken soup, hot drinks are one of those old fashioned remedies that always seem to help.
Antioxidant Power
Antioxidants: These protect us from the effects of aging, pollution, and too much sun. That’s why tea may bolster your immune system. Black and green teas contain potent polyphenols, giving them a high ranking along with certain super fruits and vegetables in the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score. ORAC measures the antioxidant potential of plant-based foods called phytochemicals.
When we are sick our immune systems need a bit of a boost, especially at the onset of a cold. Tea is packed with antioxidants that help our immune systems fight off different viruses that love to make us feel terrible. In addition, theanine has been shown to help boost our white blood cell count, which is another way to prevent illness.
Green Tea is believed to be the highest in antioxidants due to the curing process which holds those in rather than removing them as fermenting can in black tea.  Green Teas have been identified as the best source of a group of antioxidants called catechins. Catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal and bladder, according to Harvard Women's Health Watch

Also if you drink herbal tea various herbs have different levels of antioxidant and free-radial diminishing properties. Fruit-based herbal teas contain antioxidants that are found naturally in fruit and therefore have some of the disease-fighting properties found in green, white and black teas. Additionally, peppermint tea demonstrated strong antioxidant and antitumor properties and the potential as an allergy remedy.  And who doesn’t want relief from allergies, especially this time of year.

In conclusion
After years of drinking and producing teas, I now realize all of the amazing benefits that I have been taking for granted in daily life which begins and ends with a cup of tea.  Due to the almost magical amino acid, theanine, tea actually is proven to elevate mood, fight colds and make you feel better. So here is to happy tea drinking and the amazing health it provides.  Please enjoy tea – everyday!

If you would like to try a black, green or herbal tea, please check out the links or visit our website: http://www.backyardpatch.com/ .  We have just begun marketing our loose teas in tins for better preservation of flavor and healthful properties.

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