A cup of tea can do a lot of things; it can soothe you when you’re feeling stressed, and warm you up on a chilly day. It’s a great excuse to spend time with friends and a fantastic way to stay hydrated if you’re not a fan of drinking plain water. But there are way more reasons to explore the wide range of teas available to us these days, and if you have yet to pick a favourite – or just need another excuse to expand your collection – here are some wonderful benefits of drinking tea. Better get the kettle brewing!
Drinking tea could alleviate headaches and migraines
Headaches and migraines always come at the worst time. Not only can they be excruciating, but they interrupt your entire life when they strike. If you’re looking for a natural way to supplement your pain meds when they start, you may want to consider sipping on some herbal tea.
Not only does a warm cup of tea calm you down, but many tea varieties have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to calm your pounding brain – and the extra hydration they provide won’t hurt either. Speaking to Popsugar, dietitian Silvia Carli from the 1AND1 LIFE expert wellness team says that when you feel the headache creeping up, grab a cup of ginger tea.
“there is some evidence that ginger, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, might help decrease vessel inflammation and therefore soothe the symptoms of a headache,” says Carli. Not to mention, the host of other benefits ginger brings along with it will support your digestion and immune system too.
Peppermint tea could help too, says Carli. “The active ingredient of peppermint, menthol, is known to decrease pain associated with tension headaches”.
If none of those are, well, your cup of tea, try some chrysanthemum tea. Chrysanthemum is often used in Chinese medicine to cure a range of ailments including migraines and hypertension. It contains powerful antioxidants, without any caffeine, so it makes for a great drink before bed, too!
Drinking tea can prevent bloating after a meal
In fact, tea is just generally great for your tummy.
The increased intake of warm fluids is great for digestions, which in turn decreases constipation and removes toxins from the body. In addition, those great anti-inflammatory properties help out once again by interacting with the trillions of microorganisms in our gut.
It’s science, not magic, and you may have to give it a little time for the tea you’ve just downed to do its job in relieving you of the belly bloat. “Liquids pass into the stomach immediately and reach the intestines within minutes.” says Fuksina. “Depending on the amount of food in the intestines, it may take from 10 to 30 minutes for the tea to help relieve bloating symptoms.”
But what’s 30 minutes in the grand scheme of things? If you’re really full you probably won’t be doing too much in that time anyway.
Furthermore, research has shown that the polyphenols in tea can actually modify our gut bacteria, leading to positive health effects including reduced carbohydrate absorption, improved blood sugar levels, and even weight loss.
Tea and chronic conditions
Inflammation has been linked to a myriad chronic conditions, from diabetes to cognitive decline. The consumption of black and green teas seem to fight many of these conditions. One hypothesis explaining the positive effects of tea is that “the high levels of flavonoids in tea can protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage by scavenging oxygen-free radicals”. According to research, tea consumption consistently leads to a significant increase in the antioxidant capacity of the blood,” which reduces the risk of oxidative damage.
This means that for those with inflammatory bowel diseases, or any other conditions related to inflammation, regular cups of tea could be a very beneficial habit.
According to MindBodyGreen, a study of more than 40,000 participants, found that “regular tea consumption reduced the risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, and some cancers”. In fact, participants who drank five or more cups of green tea a day risk of cardiovascular death by 16%, compared to those who drank less than one cup per day.
There have also been studies which suggest that tea has the ability to increase insulin sensitivity, which is a valuable benefit for those struggling with diabetes.Your regular cup of tea may even lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. It can also boost memory, and improve your attention span – effectively helping fight cognitive decline
Today, tea remains the most consumed drink in the world after water – way ahead of coffee, beer, wine or any sweet carbonated drinks. Clearly, we don’t need too much more convincing to enjoy the world’s most popular beverage!
Next time you brew yourself a cup of tea and sit down to enjoy it, you can feel satisfied in the knowledge that your warm, soothing beverage is also doing wonders for your body.