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Tea therapy: Enjoy a cuppa and stay healthy

by John Burns (follow)
General Wellness (161)      Therapeutic Foods (53)      November Competition (10)     
If you love tea, youíre not alone. Tea is a versatile drink that suits any occasion; itís a social drink that is great for enjoying with friends and family; itís a comforting drink after a stressful dayÖ and itís also pretty tasty! So itís easy to see why tea has become so popular throughout the world.

Image from Wikipedia


But some types of tea go even further than this, and can actively help to keep us fit, healthy and happy. Itís a well known fact that drinking plenty of water is good for our bodies, but studies by nutritionists from Kings College London have shown that drinking three or more cups of tea a day can be just as beneficial.

If thatís not a reason to brew up, I donít know what is! Here is some information on other types of tea and how they can keep you fighting fit.

Green Tea

Green tea has been drunk by the Chinese for more than 4000 years, so youíd expect it to have a few tricks up its sleeve in addition to its pleasing flavour.

Image from Wikipedia


It turns out the Chinese were on to something. Green tea has been found to be rich in anti-oxidants which can help to prevent the onset of Alzheimerís and Parkinsonís. Regularly drinking green tea can also help reduce the risk of having a stroke or developing a variety of cancers.

Trying to lose weight? Try a cup or two of green tea a day. This variety of tea can help to accelerate fat-burning in the body.

Black Tea

Although it originated in the Far East, black tea is the most popular variety of tea in Western countries. Black tea is particularly popular in Britain, not least because the nationís former empire covered many of the places where the tea is produced.

Image from Wikipedia


Black tea lacks the anti-oxidants of green tea, but can still reduce the risk of stroke. It has also been shown to increase lung health and even protect the lungs from external toxins. This variety of tea has a high caffeine content, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. When imbibed as part of a carefully controlled diet, the high caffeine levels can help to improve mental awareness. It is best taken without milk or sugar for full health benefits.

Pu-Erh

Pu-erh is a black tea that was originally developed in the Yunnan province of south-eastern China. This is another useful tea for those looking to control their weight, as it has been shown to inhibit weight gain.

Image from Wikipedia


Another benefit of pu-erh tea is its effectiveness in reducing cholesterol. While its health hit-list might not be so lengthy as those of other black teas, it still boasts some handy health advantages.

A word of warning however; some traditional blends of pu -erh tea have been found to contain dangerously large amounts of fluorine, so be aware of this if you are purchasing tea directly from the source; i.e. farmers markets in Yunnan, Qinghai and Tibet.

Chamomile

Chamomile is a flowering plant closely resembling the daisy. It is frequently used to flavour tea and has a wide variety of reputed health benefits. Reported benefits commonly include helping with anxiety and skin complaints.

Image courtesy of Evegeniy via Flickr


Scientists do agree that the antioxidants in chamomile tea can improve kidney and nerve health, while also helping to reduce loss of vision in diabetes sufferers. Like green tea, chamomile tea can also help to reduce the risk of cancer.

Rooibos

Rooibos Ė or red bush Ė is a South African herbal tea which is becoming increasingly popular with tea drinkers across the globe. Advocates of rooibos tea swear by its ability to combat anxiety, stress and even cancer, but scientific testing has yet to prove or disprove these claims.

Image courtesy of jangelo68 via flickr


Early studies indicate that green rooibos tea Ė made using rooibos herbs that have not been fully oxidised Ė has a greater health benefit than standard red bush tea, thanks to the presence of anti-oxidants. Tests have also hinted at a link between consumption of rooibos tea and a reduction of fungal infection in the body.

In a world which is constantly telling us to cut this and that out of our diets, it's comforting to know that something so enjoyable can also be beneficial to our health!

And, with that in mind, I think it's time for a brew.

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Categories
#Therapeutic Foods
#General Wellness
#November Competition
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