The Everyday Wellness Brew; Discover the Many Benefits of Tea
Ever wondered which beverage tops the list as the world’s favorite, second only to water? If your answer is tea, you’re right! While coffee may hold rank as the beverage of choice in the United States, across the globe, people have been savoring the flavors and enjoying the health benefits of this simple drink for centuries.
Now fast forward to the present, where the grocery store tea aisle has (d)evolved into utter confusion with dozens of brands, hundreds of flavors, lots of big promises, and a huge variation in price range. No wonder we stick with coffee.
So let’s go take a moment to get back to the basics. The origins of tea trace back to ancient China, where it was initially recognized as a medicinal elixir in the 3rd century AD. From there, its popularity swiftly spread across continents, leaving a trail of tea enthusiasts in its wake. Even today, the traditional preparation of tea remains a simple ritual – hot water poured over cured leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, allowed to steep for a few minutes to unlock its flavors and nutrients.
One plant, camellia sinensis, is the botanical behind it all, the source of traditional white, green, oolong, and black teas. It may surprise you to learn these distinct colors and flavors all originate from the same plant. Their individuality is achieved through meticulous leaf selection and distinct processing techniques.
So many benefits!
Numerous studies endorsed by the National Institutes of Health highlight the immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and potentially cancer and heart disease fighting properties of camellia sinensis-based teas. The research spotlights green tea as a formidable chemopreventive agent against a wide spectrum of cancers. And if that’s not enough to captivate your attention, recent findings suggest that tea is a fountain of youth, with the potential to slow down the aging process.
But the inspiration for this article came from this study connecting daily tea drinking with a deceleration in biological aging. The most significant reduction in aging speed is observed with a daily dose of 2 to 3 cups, equivalent to roughly 6 to 8 grams of tea leaves.
With so many tea options available, it’s surprising how few of us in the United States regularly harness the power of this superfood. Too often the tried and true ways get overshadowed by the allure of the latest health craze, but it’s time for a tea revolution! Why not embark on a journey to discover your favorite camellia blend?
Some tea drinking tips
Whether steeped in hot water, chilled over ice, or enjoyed as a latte, traditional tea is best enjoyed before noon due to its caffeine content. A spicy chai infused with the rich taste of oat milk is my go-to favorite, second only to a combination of green tea, licorice, and mint for an invigorating lift.
When you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, herbal options like lemon balm, peppermint, and ginger provide a natural boost, while chamomile, lavender, and passion flower are associated with serenity and relaxation. A vanilla rooibos with a splash of plant milk makes a delicious afternoon treat.
Finding your blend
If the vast selection of teas overwhelms you and tea shopping isn’t your forte, consider exploring local or regional blends when possible. Tea quality is often graded by leaf size, so for the utmost quality, seek out whole-leaf grades produced in small batches. The broken leaves, or ‘dust,’ commonly found in mass-market blends, have lost their essential oils and fragrance, and their smaller surface area releases more bitter-tasting tannins.
An avid tea drinker (and entrepreneur), I love to craft my own blends using loose leaf botanicals and prepared in pot-sized batches to savor throughout the day to save prep and clean up time. But if tea blending isn’t your jam, bagged teas are a perfect option. Brands like India Organics, Numi, and Yogi Tea offer excellent choices when small batch options are not available. One thing to note: the total weight of your box of 20 tea sachets will likely be less than 2 oz., so be sure to check that number when comparing prices of loose leaf vs. boxed tea.
Ultimately, finding the brands and blends you love will motivate you to incorporate more of this healthy, comforting and delicious drink into your day.
And if you’re interested in learning more ways to weave the multiple benefits and fun of using teas and herbs to change your mood, energy level and health, stay tuned – it will be an integral part of my soon to launch new program! 9 Weeks to Mediterranean Living, Zesty Italian Style!