In praise of tea!

The current spell of beautiful hot weather has me reaching for the green tea. 

More specifically, I’m sipping cold-infused green tea which for me is one of the great delights of summer. Incredibly refreshing and I can literally feel it doing me good!

In so much of modern life it’s the loud, the brash and the intense that grab all the headlines and are deemed desirable; in the case of caffeinated drinks that would undoubtedly be coffee.

Tea provides a calmer, quieter, gentler counterpoint that I really appreciate. But more than that, it also brings with it a whole raft of health improving benefits that make it a really valuable addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Research (and there’s a hell-of-a-lot of research on tea drinking out there) has shown that the many bioactive compounds in tea are clearly linked to the following benefits:

  • Improved heart health, blood pressure regulation and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Improved calorific expenditure and weight loss
  • Better bone formation, less inflammation and increased muscle strength in post-menopausal women
  • Plays a role in helping prevent cancer
  • Improves cognitive function and helps protect the brain against altzheimers and other forms of dementia
  • Can help reduce inflammation and vascular damage associated with geriatric diseases.
  • Improves short-term memory and reduces depression
  • Regular consumption reduces cholesterol
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Reduces the risk of breast cancer in younger women
  • Protects the liver and reduces liver disease

And honestly, the list goes on… If any one ingredient deserves being labelled a “superfood” then it’s tea.

The majority of large population based pieces of research have tended to focus on the consumption of green tea, however it seems that overall both green and black tea confer a similar range of benefits. They are the same plant after all, just processed differently.

As mentioned in a previous blog, Chinese medicine categorises all foods & drinks in terms of temperature:

Green and white teas are cooling and therefore more appropriate to drink in summer and by those with a ‘hot’ constitution.

Black teas, such as the classic “builders tea” and the more traditional Pu’erh, are more warming and better drunk during winter and by those with a ‘cooler’ constitution.

To complete the picture, Jasmine tea is drunk in spring and oolong in autumn. But that’s probably getting a bit too pernickety; drink whichever you like and whenever you fancy. You’ll be doing your health a favour!

A basic google search “buy organic loose leaf tea” will give you a fair few decent looking options to source your tea. 

Personally I get mine from JCM; they have a great range plus a lot of good additional information on how to brew tea (a subject that can get as complicated as you like), and on the latest research into the benefit of tea.