Today’s post comes from Rachel Crawford. She is the co-founder of Teamotions and passionate advocate for holistic grief recovery and emotional well-being and healing. She is a ‘tea expert’, giving us an in-depth look at the health benefits of tea.
In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle there are certain undisputed habits we must integrate into our everyday life to cultivate health and fitness. These are the non-negotiables; regular exercise, high nutrient whole foods, minimal alcohol consumption, adequate rest, and stress management. Without these pillars, health and fitness is unattainable.
I think there is a pillar missing though in that list, another non-negotiable aspect of a healthy lifestyle that has not yet received its props in the world of well-being, health and fitness: TEA.
Tea is an underutilized drink with an unmatched ability to cultivate physical and emotional well-being. As a tea expert, the co-founder of Teamotions (an emotional well-being company that specializes in creating teas blended with adaptogen herbs for emotional well-being and stress support), and self-proclaimed health nut, I can’t emphasize enough why tea needs to be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Tea has been around for thousands of years and is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. In eastern cultures it is enjoyed for its flavor and benefits. The truth is, not everything we in the U.S. steep in hot water is tea. Real tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Other herbs we drink like tea are called tisanes or herbal teas (although that title is misleading since they don’t actually contain any tea). Camellia Sinensis is the variety of plant from which green, black, white, oolong, and puer teas come from. Each type of tea is made by varying the ways the tea leaves are picked, processed, and dried. Because all tea comes from the same genius of plant, all tea has similar benefits. These physical benefits include cancer prevention, weight loss, cardiovascular health, and anti-aging properties just to name a few. Tea is truly a remarkable plant that does wonders to heal our bodies, keep us well, and help us look vibrant and youthful. But I think the benefits of tea go far beyond these physical properties and cross over into an often overlooked aspect of health: our emotional well-being.
Unlike coffee, soda, or even water, tea has undisputed calming and centering abilities. A cup of tea is more than a way to boost your metabolism or reduce wrinkles. It is a powerful way to honor our emotions, check in with your hearts, and remember that we are more than just a body. A cup of tea is truly a powerful tool for self-care.
Those soothing abilities are not magic at all, but scientific fact. The comforting properties of tea extend way beyond the warmth and deliciousness of each cup. While the consumption of tea is enjoyable and centering, the actual tea itself contains beneficial chemical compounds that improve mood and restore well-being. One of the most notable of these compounds is theanine.
Theanine combined with caffeine is responsible for the healthy effects tea has on the brain. Caffeine, as we know, is a stimulant. Theanine is a depressant, that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Once theanine enters the brain it is consumed by cells called astrocytes, and is converted into a chemical called Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA). GABA causes inhibition in the brain – it turns us off, hence the depressant effect. When the quantities of GABA are too high we become drowsy. Recent studies have shown that tea drinking slows down the speed of brain waves. This could explain why a cup of tea containing caffeine leaves us feeling relaxed and calm after we drink it. It’s the theanine and caffeine working together that creates that perfectly soothing feeling tea is famous for.
Tea is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free-radicals. When we don’t have enough antioxidants to combat free radicals (due to poor nutrition, stress, toxins, or lack of sleep), oxidation (also known as oxidative stress) wreaks havoc in our body. Oxidation damages cells, breaks down tissue, mutates DNA, and overloads the immune system. High levels of oxidative stress affect every organ and system in the body, including: mood, mental health, and overall well-being. A cup of tea doesn’t just boost our ability to fight free-radicals and preserve our physical health, it supports our emotional well-being from the inside out!
Tea also has many important vitamins and minerals. It contains carotene, a precursor to vitamin A; thiamine (vitamin B1); riboflavin (vitamin B2); nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin B6; folic acid; manganese, potassium, and natural fluoride. These nutrients not only fortify our body, but are effective mood-stabilizers that help combat anxiety and depression and assist our body cope with stress.
Tea contains minimal calories. By drinking tea every day you can increase your nutrient and water intake, support your emotional well-being, and fight free radicals WITHOUT adding calories to your diet. What could be better than that?
There are many different kinds of tea on the shelves today, some are better than others. Low grade, bitter tea is no longer the status quo. Organic, fresh, and high quality teas are everywhere. Thee organic teas taste nothing like the mystery tea bag your grandma used to drink!
My final words of wisdom: Tea is a valuable ally in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. Drink it daily to boost your metabolism and increase the nutrients in your diet without adding calories. Most importantly, add tea to your daily routine to honor your heart and cultivate meaningful self-care practices that improve your quality of life. Your body and soul deserves the best care you can give it.
Disclaimer: Please note that there may be some affiliate links on this page and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you for your support.