For centuries, tea has been much more than a simple beverage beloved around the world. People drink it to reinvigorate, relax and soothe. Not just a drink, many consider it to be medicine.
In the UK where tea drinkers, according to the Tea Advisory Panel, drink a million cups a day it is very much a part of the cultural fabric and traditions of the country. While lattes, espresso drinks and such are becoming more popular the idea that a cup of tea makes things better is still alive and well.
With tea becoming ever more popular around the globe, the United Nations created International Tea Day, which takes place each May 21st.
Even in the coffee dominated United States tea drinking has grown from 12.7 ounces per person per year to 14 ounces per person per year. It is believe people are turning to tea and away from soda, milk and fruit drinks.
Scientists are looking into how the tea affects mood and cognition—mostly at the relaxing and alerting effects. They want to know if it is a compound in the tea itself, the setting it is consumed in or a combination of both. Scientists also believe certain teas will have a positive impact on mental health.
While the first ever International Tea Day has passed us by (21 May), there is a whole lot to say about tea. While coffee, especially espresso beverages, are becoming more and more popular around the world lots of people still drink hot tea.
While many people were sheltering at home during the pandemic, they enjoyed a “quarantea” everyday at the same time with whomever they were sheltering with. Many found this ritual to be calming and reassuring during times in which we’ve all been stressed out and unsure of what was coming next.
Many are evening finding ways to keep the tradition of a daily tea as part of their routine as we all begin to transition out of sheltering at home.
People, for centuries, have drank tea to reinvigorate, to soothe, to relax and just because it tastes good. Even with the rising popularity of fancy espresso and coffee drinks tea remains a mainstay around the world. In the UK the ubiquity of tea remains with the British drinking about 100 million cups of the stuff every day, according to their Tea Advisory panel.
Experts have begun to study what affects tea might have on mood and cognition. One thing they are trying to find out is whether it is the compounds in tea itself that are relaxing or invigorating or the context in which tea is consumed that brings on these effects.
Green and black teas come from the same source, the plant camellia sinensis. Green tea is processed differently resulting in higher concentrations of compounds scientists believe have a positive effect on mental health.
I took a coffee break last week. I went a full week without drinking coffee. The main reason was to see if I would sleep any better without my cold brew. It did not make a difference. What I did that week was drink more tea. I drank green tea, Earl Grey tea, a flavored herbal tea, and a flavored black tea. For a really good collection this winter try this Winter Solstice Loose Leaf Sampler. The box has a handy guide for how long to steep each type of tea.
I also treated myself to this tea infuser for loose tea. Rather than buy a special tea cup that comes with an in-fuser, you can turn all your own mugs and cups into tea infusers.
I am back to making my cold brew but it’s still nice to have a cup of tea in the afternoon or evening.
A researcher at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences published a study that associates regular tea drinking with lower risks of cardiovascular disease. For the study, they tracked over 100,000 adults across 15 provinces in China for more than seven years. The drinkers who had at least three servings of tea a week lived 1.41 years longer than those who didn’t.
Tea drinkers are at about 22% lower risk of dying of heart disease or stroke and 15% less likely to die from other diseases. They also found through a smaller study that those who drank tea over longer periods reduced risk even more. This smaller group was followed for over eight years and those that drank tea more often had a 56% decrease of a chance of stroke or heart disease, and 29% less risk of dying of other illnesses.
Because the polyphenols are not stored long-term in your body, tea should be consumed frequently. The most health benefits are from green tea. Green tea is higher in polyphenols. Black tea loses some polyphenols during the process used to ferment it during production.
This study did not take into account diet or exercise so there may be other factors that could effect this outcome.
If you are used to drinking coffee, what happens if you stop?
You will have some side effects. Some of the side effects will make others around you suffer as well as you because it can cause you to have depression and irritability. You may have headaches and lethargy as well.
Cutting back can cut down on panic attacks, be better on your teeth, help with heartburn. Cutting back does have benefits but you may miss out on the boost you get from it.