Tea time

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I’ve always enjoyed a good cuppa and now I’ll enjoy it even more knowing it’s actually doing me some good.

I recently caught up with Kiwi tea maker Leanne Pratt to ask her a little about the health benefits of drinking tea.

Leanne is also a naturopath and herbalist with a Bachelor in Health Science, Diploma in Naturopathy, Diploma in Herbal Medicine, and a Bachelor Degree in Psychology – not a bad CV hey? That’s why I thought she’s be the perfect person for this job.

Is there any truth in the saying that tea is liquid wisdom?
Most definitely!  Firstly drinking a cup of tea has a tendency to make us sit down, stop rushing, and take a break.  When you do just sit and relax you are more likely to have clear thoughts, great ideas and make the best decisions.  You just happen to be relaxing with your favourite cuppa at the same time!

But it seems there is also a biochemical reason you feel more relaxed and clear headed after a cup of tea.  The Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) contains an amino acid in its leaves called L-Theanine, and found in all types of tea including Black, Green, White and Oolong.

This protein has found to significantly increase our alpha brain waves which are responsible for relaxing and calming, as well as increasing mental alertness and learning capacity. Theanine also influences our key relaxing neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin too.  In fact research has found that within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of tea, you will be able to feel the positive effects.

So drink a cup of tea and you will be calmer, more alert, more relaxed and definitely wiser for it!

 

Are there any real relaxing / health / healing benefits from tea?
The health benefits of drinking tea regularly are huge and now confirmed with large amounts of research. The tea plant, which we get Black, Green and White Teas from, is rich in wonderful antioxidants specific to the tea plant.

It’s these antioxidants that help us fight against damaging free radicals, formed as a by-product of normal metabolism, stress, exposure to sun and chemical and environmental pollutants.  Free radicals are responsible for premature ageing, a weakened immune system and many chronic diseases.

Research on the health benefits of Green Tea is particularly compelling for protecting us against many kinds of cancers.  Likewise there are many studies being carried out on the health benefits of Black Tea, with some great findings on how just three cups of black tea a day can protect you from cardiovascular disease.

Outside tea from the Tea Plant, you can also gain huge benefits from herbal teas too.  Herbal teas, or herbal infusions as they are otherwise known, can increase your health, improve your fluid intake, provide you with antioxidants and nutrients and if used medicinally can improve many health conditions.

If you want to drink herbal teas for health there are a few things you need to know to get the best out of them.  Firstly you need to ensure your teas are fresh, ideally organic, loose leaf and that you are drinking a herb where the active ingredients are actually extracted in water.  Some herbs the health properties are only extracted in alcohol, so they won’t have the same effect in water.  Echinacea is a great example of this.

Also make sure you infuse them for long enough so the water has time to extract the essential oils, and use boiling water.

In fact this goes for brewing standard tea as well.  Make sure you give your tea time to infuse in your cup, a quick ‘dunk, dunk’ of a tea bag is not going to allow all these wonderful antioxidants enough time to release all their goodness.

 

Do you have any general wellbeing tips to help us feel happy and healthy every day?
Always remember that you are in control of your health, if you want to feel great every day it is you alone that can make any changes that are needed to feel this way.  It’s not normal to suffer from ongoing ill health and so if you have conditions like allergies, skin problems, PMT, digestive issues etc don’t listen to anyone who says it can’t be fixed.  It can – it just might take a bit of effort and some education and you can get yourself well again.

Good health always starts with food.  A good healthy diet with lots of fresh food, minimal processed food, lots of fruit and veges is the best way to feel healthy and happy every day.

Add to this some little extras to help counteract the times you can’t be perfect like a squirt of fresh lemon juice in hot water every morning to kick start the digestion and lower acidity in the body.  Maybe a smoothie at least once a week with some added ‘greens’ like spirulina, barley grass, and matcha green tea powder for extra nutrients.  Add to this a handful of fresh or frozen berries for their antioxidant goodness.

Don’t drink too much coffee!  It’s dehydrating and you lose a lot of minerals via its diuretic action.  It also aggravates the stress response increasing anxiety and it makes you gain weight.  Two cups a day maximum is what you should be aiming for.

And finally manage your stress – long term stress is very detrimental to your health.  You need to try to find ways to keep it under control.  Take breaks, deep breaths, exercise regularly and if you need to take a magnesium supplement.

 

What’s your favourite tea and why?
It is such a hard question to answer as I drink so many different kinds depending on the time of the day.

However if I had to say which one I feel I couldn’t do without that would be a cup of organic peppermint leaf tea.  It is just so good for everything!  It’s a great uplifting herb with its aromatic energising oils.  A very good digestive soother peppermint is great after a meal and it leaves a lovely refreshing taste in your mouth.

On the other side of the scale I am also partial to a really malty Irish style black tea blend with a bit of milk!  That is my morning cup of tea!

 

Here are a few of my favourites. Unfortunately, the Aveda tea is only available in Australia. Do you have a favourite brew?

 

So why not treat yourself to a relaxing cuppa?

One lucky Style Insider can win this Pratty’s gift pack.

 

 

Simply pop back to our home page, subscribe to our newsletter and you are instantly in the draw.

Click here for competition terms and conditions.

 

Credits

Image 1: bloggingsimple8564.blogspot.com
Image 2: Leonie Barlow