Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, second only to water. That is a pretty serious statement and one that can be a little hard to believe, especially in the United States where you can’t walk two feet without running into a coffee shop or a pop machine.
Tea is steeped (pun intended) in centuries of tradition in regards to ceremonies, health benefits and the abundant selection of flavors. Take that coffee, “Who’s Yo Daddy”.
Now in complete fairness coffee does have its own adhering qualities. There is the increased energy you get from the high levels of caffeine. Then there is pick-me-up you get from the caffeine in coffee. Then don’t forget what an eye opener your first cup of Joe gives you in the morning. So just about the only thing coffee has going for it is caffeine.
It’s pretty obvious that as a society we have fallen in love with caffeine, and this is the main reason people drink coffee. Americans in particular would probably run caffeine intravenously if we could. I admit we are a bit of a high strung country, and I say that lovingly.
But what other solid qualities does Java have? In comparison to tea the offerings are pretty slim. According to the medical community “moderate regular coffee drinking in healthy individuals is either essentially benign or mildly beneficial”.
Tea offers several benefits to your health, mind and soul, here are just a few of the great qualities you will find in every cup of tea:
Don’t get me wrong, I know that a lot of times we need a boost to get the gears going again, especially in the morning. This is one of the main reasons that coffee is so popular in our society, it does infact give you that shot of energy you need to start the day.
However, a new study, that was reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that, while providing several health benefits, tea can also help improve memory and cognition in men.
Researchers took 12 healthy men and divided them into two groups. One group was given a drink that contained a green tea extract and the second test group was given a placebo drink that didn't contain the extract.
After drinking the concoctions each subject was hooked up to an MRI machine and scientists studied the effects of the two drinks on the men’s brains while performing a memory test.
Yes, all of the men kept having thoughts of bacon, however, the scientists just put that down and a normal male thought. What was interesting was how the green tea drinkers experienced an increase in the activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with working memory. We use this area of the brain for problem solving and focus.
Green tea is full of polyphenols, which widen blood vessels, speeding up the supply of blood to the brain, like EGCG, a strong anti-cancer chemical. Researchers have found that these health giving chemicals may be behind tea’s benefits.
Tea offers several health benefits including:
It helps burn fat by speeding up the metabolic rate.
It can help lower blood pressure by tackling an enzyme which triggers hypertension.
Tea also helps protect against diabetes, since it contains polyphenols which inhibit starch, and helps to lower blood sugar levels.
Tea can also prevent food poisoning since it can kill harmful bacteria.
Tea can prevent bad breath by killing oral bacteria that causes cavities and bad breath.
Green tea guards against hepatitis by decreasing iron levels throughout the body, including those in the liver, the cause of viral hepatitis.
Tea can protect against cancer since it contains a compound called epigallocatechin=3-gallate (EGCG), which helps inhibit blood vessel growth.
It can help prevent arthritis, working in much the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs.
A study has also found that 96% of people who drank ten cups of green tea a day showed no signs of the cognitive impairment linked to Alzheimer’s, compared to only 12% who didn’t drink tea at all.
Good for the soul
As the legendary eighth-century tea master Lu Yu, author of The Classic of Tea, claimed:
“Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness.”
Many modern-day tea aficionados agree. “In the midst of the rush of everything that can happen in a day, taking the time to drink a cup of tea is a delight for both the mind and the body,” says Aurélie Bessière, head of the US branch of the Parisian tea school Le Palais des Thés.
Tea is the perfect remedy that knows exactly what you need, when you need it. You can drink tea when you need a pick-me-up or when you need to relax and unwind.
We already mentioned how tea can rejuvenate and energize, but tea can also be relaxing and soothing, beneficial to your mind and your soul.
A calming tisane can be the perfect way to relax your mind and your body. For example, a blend of chamomile and lavender or rooibos with lemongrass will sooth you without making you sleepy.
With so many benefits, it’s no wonder tea has been a favorite for centuries to cure whatever ails you, and now it is again finding its spot in modern society.