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  • Writer's pictureNancy, Hostess of Cup & Crown

Tea for the Mind, Body, and Soul

People often ask me, “What are the health benefits of tea?” I have to say, I never gave it much thought. It’s like someone offering you chocolate and responding with, “Is it good for me? Will it ward off viruses?”

I was thrilled when experts announced some years ago that chocolate does have some redeeming qualities. It was (literally) sweet justification for the dessert I have every night. But seriously… is that why we love chocolate? I’ve never devoured a lava cake thinking about its antioxidants or the good it may be doing for my blood pressure. On the contrary, I’m usually thinking, “What is this doing to my dress size?” but not really caring because it’s just! so! scrummy!

I didn’t begin drinking tea because it offered health or promised some medicinal aid. I began taking tea for two very solid reasons (in no order of partiality): The first is that I enjoy tea. I enjoy the flavour of tea. I relish in its warmth and I find serenity in quiet moments when it’s just my tea and me. The second is… wait for it… because it’s so very British.

For those of you seeking non-Anglophile related reasons to add tea to your daily diet, you’ll want to look to its color to know which will offer the aid you desire. All teas share similar health-promoting qualities because they all come from the same plant, camellia sinensis; but the benefits also vary based on when and how the leaves are harvested as well as how they’re processed. The Spruce Eats does an excellent job detailing the redeeming nature of each tea…

Black Tea: Always my personal favourite because of its richness and flavour, black tea contains several health-promoting elements, such as amino acids, potassium, fluoride, manganese, and proteins. It is also plentiful in the antioxidants that help fight cancer-causing cells and polyphenols that help fight disease. Black tea is credited with promoting digestive health, heart health, oral health, and more.

Green Tea: Despite the many studies done to prove the benefits of green tea, not much has been concluded. It is believed, however, that green tea tops the list of healthy drinks. In addition to its many merits, green tea is often credited with improving brain function, increasing metabolism, and lowering cholesterol. It has also been linked to longevity.

White Tea: White tea is said to boost one’s immune system, reduce colon cancer, and lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. Its enzymes have been shown to reduce inflammatory conditions. And most recently, studies show that white tea has been vastly more effective in eliminating free-radicals in the skin that cause it to age and sag. Hmmm… maybe I’ll be switching to white tea!

Among the aforementioned pros of tea-drinking, studies also show that tea improves one’s mood, can ward-off depression, and helps us sleep better. Oolong tea, in particular, has high levels of the amino acid L-theanine that reduces certain stimuli in the brain while boosting the production of relaxing chemicals. Science also tells us that tea reduces the stress hormone cortisol, and that a daily cup of green tea can lower the risk of dimentia.

I enjoy the flavour of tea. I relish in its warmth and I find serenity in quiet moments when it’s just my tea and me.

For me, tea is like a hot soaking bath for the soul. It’s a restorative time-out in one’s day. Where coffee is depicted as the drink of those just waking and running off hurriedly to conquer a busy day, tea is conversely the drink of those needing respite, time alone, even serenity. The internet is full of quotes about tea that almost always include mention of good books, chats with friends, rainy days, warm socks or a soft blanket, and words like calm, peace, happiness. And as for the event of tea, whether it’s an afternoon tea, high tea, or a simple cream tea, the occasion procures to mind delightful confections, elegance, and overall enjoyment.

These are all good reasons to keep a box or two of your favourite blends in your pantry, and certainly reasons to cease drinking sodas and so-called energy drinks and replace them with tea. It’s great to know that my beverage of choice provides collateral perks for my body and mind. But my enthusiasm for tea didn’t begin and doesn’t end with its links to health. I’ll let the words of Henry James summarize for me: “Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

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Unknown member
May 29, 2020

Nancy - who else but you could make me want to sit down and have a cup of tea right now. Especially since I just came home from WalMart shopping and accidentally left the windows of the car ajar and it poured rain so I sat in a very wet seat all the way home. Would have been a perfect time for a "cuppa." And I certainly have the collection of cups to put it in. Your definition of the medial benefits of tea certainly make me wonder why people don't drink tea instead of "popping pills." You should hook up with a tea company and advertise on TV. You'd be perfect. Love you hon. And Good L…

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