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what is that cup of tea doing for you?

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash


Tea. Something we perceive as healthy, but probably don't know why.


More specifically, do you know what the EXACT type of tea you are drinking is doing for you and your health? Wouldn’t it be cool to know...? Read below and you will soon find out!


As you may or may not know... I am a very big coffee lover. I try not to drink more than 2 cups a day, and I find tea a great afternoon drink to prevent me from reaching for that 3rd, 4th or even 5th cup of coffee. Tea can be hydrating, especially if it doesn’t contain much caffeine, however it shouldn’t become a substitute for water – make sure you are still getting enough pure H2O each day.


Okay, let’s start with beginning to learn about what is in our mug:


Both Green Tea and Black Tea come from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. The difference between them is how they are harvested, processed and turned into tea. For black tea, the leaves are fermented.. for green tea, the leaves are not fermented. This changes the medicinal function slightly between tea types as we will learn below..


Green Tea

  • Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called ECGC amongst others. These antioxidants can be helpful in anti-aging and cancer prevention. ECGC also lowers cholesterol and protects us from heart disease

  • Due to its anti-inflammatory effect it has been used for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis

  • Contains caffeine (although not as much as coffee) and will give you that energy lift. Due to the caffeine content, green tea can increase metabolism and therefore fat burning capacity… a great perk

  • Contains L-theanine which has a calming effect in our brain and can decrease anxiety

  • Green tea also has protective effects on the brain and is being studied in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s


Black Teas

There are many variations of black tea in which they have the same base, Camellia sinensis. Many other herbs and spices are also added for different flavours and purposes. Here are the types we are going to look at:

  • English Breakfast Tea

  • Earl Grey Tea

  • Chai Tea


English Breakfast Tea

  • Black tea has more caffeine than other teas but still less than coffee

  • Similar to green tea, it contains antioxidants that can help protect our body and prevent chronic disease. However, since the leaves are fermented they are not as potent as the antioxidants in green tea

  • The benefits of this include a healthy heart, lower cholesterol, decreased stroke risk, lower blood sugar and cancer prevention


Earl Grey Tea

  • Also a black tea, with bergamot (Monarda didyma) added for extra benefits

  • Like many of the green and black teas, earl grey contains antioxidants that protect our body

  • Earl grey contains some caffeine but has more of a calming effect, and has been used for stress and anxiety

  • Contains the element fluoride – which is used in our dental offices when we get our teeth cleaned = this tea is a great protector of our teeth

  • Bergamot aids in digestion and is used to help with constipation, acid reflux and stomach upset

  • Bergamot also has the ability to boost our immune system


Chai Tea

  • Again, Chai is also a black tea with other added spices. It is known for its delicious smell created from the addition of ginger (Zingiber officinalis), cinnamon (Cinnamonum zaylanicum), black pepper (Piper nigrum) and more

  • Most people consume this as a chai tea latte with added milk. If you are one of these people, good news – there are health benefits! Just ensure that you are not getting a form of chai tea that has too much sugar in it as that can defeat the purpose

  • Chai tea can improve heart health, lower blood sugar levels as well as improve gut health


Chamomile Tea

  • A tea made out of the herb Matricaria recucita

  • This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing effect – both internally and externally

  • It can be used for gut disturbances such as nausea and indigestion. This tea is especially useful when this gut upset occurs after you are stressed or anxious

  • Chamomile also has the ability to kill bad bugs and prevent illness.

  • It is often used as a tea to promote sleep and reduce anxiety before bed

  • Chamomile also serves as an antioxidant that can promote longevity and prevent cancer.

  • Women, if you suffer from menstrual cramps, this is the tea for you :)


Rooibos Tea

  • This tea is taken from the herb Aspalathus linearis

  • Rooibos does not contain caffeine which makes it a great option for a bedtime tea to help with sleep

  • Unlike green and black tea it does not contain many tannins – these have a drying effect (why your mouth may feel dry after green tea or wine)

  • Rooibos contains antioxidants including quercetin – which is used to combat high histamine levels that occur in allergies (hay fever)

  • This tea can also reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol status, manage blood sugar, support our liver and even be used for weight management.

  • Rooibos is anti-cancer and anti-tumor and can promote long term health.


Peppermint Tea

  • Made from the herb Mentha piperita. I absolutely love peppermint – in an oil, tea, mint or chocolate

  • Peppermint is known for its ability to reduce gut upset including bloating, gas, nausea and more

  • This anti-oxidant herb has been shown to support our liver and kidneys – crucial for overall and long-term health

  • Being caffeine free – it is a great choice for a bedtime tea (along with Rooibos)

  • It is also a great tea to drink if you have come down with a cold as it can clear your sinuses. The same has been said for seasonal allergies (hay fever).

  • Peppermint has a relaxing effect on our skeletal and smooth muscle, so it is also a great option for menstrual cramps (again, similar to Rooibos) .

  • Last but not least, it can freshen your breath :)


In conclusion: keep sipping on that tea xoxo



Sources:

  • Marciano, M. & Vizniak, N. (2016). Botanical Medicine. Professional Health Systems Inc.

  • Sinija, V. R., & Mishra, H. N. (2008). Green tea: Health benefits. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, 17(4), 232-242.

  • Cooper, R., Morré, D. J., & Morré, D. M. (2005). Medicinal benefits of green tea: Part I. Review of noncancer health benefits. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 11(3), 521-528.

  • Xing, L., Zhang, H., Qi, R., Tsao, R., & Mine, Y. (2019). Recent advances in the understanding of the health benefits and molecular mechanisms associated with green tea polyphenols. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 67(4), 1029-1043.

  • Weinreb, O., Mandel, S., Amit, T., & Youdim, M. B. (2004). Neurological mechanisms of green tea polyphenols in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 15(9), 506-516.

  • McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B. (2006). A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives, 20(7), 519-530.

  • Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: a herbal medicine of the past with a bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895-901.

  • Joubert, E. D. B. D., & de Beer, D. (2011). Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) beyond the farm gate: From herbal tea to potential phytopharmaceutical. South African Journal of Botany, 77(4), 869-886.

  • McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B. (2006). A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives, 20(8), 619-633.

  • Loolaie, M., Moasefi, N., Rasouli, H., & Adibi, H. (2017). Peppermint and its functionality: A review. Arch. Clin. Microbiol, 8(4), 54.

  • Healthline. 2020. Accessed online: https://www.healthline.com/

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