Drinking Tea for Health Benefits

I have to admit that I mostly drink tea when I’m looking to warm up on a cold winter’s night. So, yes, I mostly drink hot tea. Yet, tea can be enjoyed in a variety of ways and, likewise, there are so many varieties of tea. But most notably, we should be drinking tea for health reasons and its many benefits.

Black tea is what many of us are most familiar with. Some of us drink this tea when out at restaurants and some of us who make it at home using tea bags. In the South, like here in Houston, it’s know as sweet tea. Actually, though I’ve lived here my entire life, I didn’t become familiar with the term sweet tea until just a few years back. (In the community I grew up, sweet tea was replaced by Kool-aid, but that’s an aside, another topic for another day.)

Then there is green tea. Green tea originated in China. Today many westerners have adopted this tea into their diets specifically for its health benefits.  Green tea and black tea are both derived from the same plant, yet black tea is more oxidized. See article links below which explain the benefits of green and black tea and how tea is processed. 

But, today we will talk about other types of teas.

Roots, spices and plant teas for health benefits:

Roots, spices and plant leaves can be used to create tea also. Usually this is accomplished by heating/boiling water and allowing the substances to be infused into the water. The longer the infusion time, the stronger the tea. Similarly, a stronger tea can be made by using more of the root, spice or leaves.

On a recent podcast titled, “Immunity Series – Drinking Teas”, Patryce (my co-host) shared a few of her favorite teas and how they benefit our immune systems. Here are her findings.

Benefits of Drinking Teas

Burdock Root Tea

  • Heals the liver
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves hair health
  • Aids in healing of stomach disorders

Ginger Root Tea

  • Eases morning sicknesses
  • Eases period pains
  • Protects against cancer, heart disease and type-two diabetes

Rooibos (Red Bush)Tea

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Aids in bone health
  • Improves digestive health

Peppermint Tea

  • Increases your energy
  • Increases brain oxygen levels
  • Enchances breathing functions
  • Relaxes muscles; even bronchial muscles
  • Eases indigestion

Hibiscus

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Bosts good HDL levels
  • Lowers bad LDL levels
  • Protects the liver
  • Anti-bacterial properties

Important Note: Only certain hibiscus plants can be used to make hibiscus tea. The flowers of H. sabdariffa and H. acetosella are commonly used when brewing hibiscus tea. (Source)

Tea Plants – More Information

Even though our focus in this article, and during our recent podcast, was on other types of teas other than the common tea plant, I’d like to point out that there are benefits to drinking these teas also.

“Tea, a popular beverage made from leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, has been shown to reduce body weight, alleviate metabolic syndrome, and prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in animal models and humans. Such beneficial effects have generally been observed in most human studies when the level of tea consumption was 3 to 4 cups (600–900 mg tea catechins) or more per day. Green tea is more effective than black tea.” – An abstract from PMC – US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

(More about tea processing at Wikipedia.)

Related Podcast:

Visit the  Immunity – Drinking Teas podcast by clicking on this link.

De-stress, Dealing with Stress (Covid-19 Pandemic)

Stress Is Everywhere

We all have a lot of stress these days, especially here in the U.S. where daily life is so busy for the most of us anyway. Whether it is the daily routine of our jobs which likely includes a long commute before and after work or perhaps for a stay-at-home parent who after getting the kids off to school has plenty of chores to keep themselves busy. Some of us work from home (or home school our children) which makes it even more difficult to separate tasks and find relief from our daily stresses. But this should not be the case. We all need a break from our tasks so that we can de-stress.

At the writing of this article, we are 4 months into the Covid-19 pandemic. In some way or another, this event has added stress to just about everyone’s life. So what are our solutions? Because we are individuals, we all have individual ways of experiencing the happenings of what this pandemic has brought to us. Likewise, we all need to find our own individual way of dealing with the stress that we are experiencing.

Dealing With Stress

To help you get started right away, here are simple five ways you can de-stress:

  1. Give your brain a time-out. This can be accomplished in many ways. It depends on where you are and how much time you have. Yet, just taking 5 minutes to relax and allow your mind to rest will work wonders and likely boost your energy levels. I find that thinking about something that I enjoy works the best during this time. Spending time in prayer and focusing on what you are thankful for is a great way to move your attention away from thoughts that may be causing stress. It also is a great way to begin a time-out nap if you can take more time to fit a nap in.
  2. Go for a walk. This option provides many benefits. Not only does it provide exercise and help with circulation, but you can also implement the give your brain a time-out strategy (as noted above). Also, a walk outdoors will give you an extra dose of fresh air and Vitamin D which helps you to produce those feel good hormones.
  3. Play with your children and/or pets. All of us could use more playtime. Remember what it was like to be a kid and feel free? We can implement that same feeling in our brains by playing with our children and/or pets. Neither are likely to turn you down on the offer to play and it will definitely benefit both parties.
  4. Talk with a friend. Friends bring us delight. Make sure the friend you call is one you normally have conversations with that are enjoyable and encouraging. Yet, if a friend is not available at the moment you want to de-stress, another alternative could be to write out your thoughts and ideas (as talking with a friend) to get them out of your head for now. Or better yet, write a letter to a good friend to let him or her know you are thinking of them and allow you both and opportunity to share and connect.
  5. Do something you enjoy. Some ideas are read a book, play an instrument, play a sport. An artist might draw, paint, or create something new. If you enjoy cooking, prepare a meal. Watch a comedy or read comedy. Laughter is a stress reliever undoubtedly. Like to dance? Then definitely dance. You get the idea. Switch gears to something that you can enjoy doing.

Compound your De-stressing Efforts

And guess what? You can combined these de-stressing activities. Many of these de-stressing activities can easily be merged which will likely give you a greater, compounded effect. For instance, while you walk you can pray and empty your mind.  Or you might walk with (or play a game or a sport) with a friend, your child, or even a pet.

Additional Stress Relievers

What else should you do while de-stressing?

  1. Avoid your phone and the TV. The phone and the television may be interjecting messages that are causing us more stress than we recognize. You can use your de-stress time to re-organize your thoughts and think about helpful ways to deal with the thoughts and opinions of others that may be causing stress for you.
  2. Drink fresh spring or Artesian water. Dehydration can make us feel tired and cause unnecessary stress on our bodies. Not drinking enough water restricts our body from carrying out its normal functions. Be sure to hydrate well. (Click here to read how to choose a good water source.) Fruits and vegetables also provide hydration, so have them as snacks while you are relaxing.
  3. Stretch your muscles. Okay, we know than fitness gurus say this over and over. Yet, many times I like to look at nature to see what I can see. And in this case, when I look at my 4 dogs, I see that they all stretch themselves when getting up from a stationary position. This is a practice that I too have had to purposefully do – and I can feel its de-stressing effects with every move. So, do not forget to stretch often and you can even practice stretching while doing other activities or try a yoga class to learn some good stretching positions.

The Importance of Dealing with Stress

Why is de-stressing important? Most of us can recognized when we are stressed. Some of us feel overwhelmed by simple daily tasks. We may experience a lack of energy. We may even experience pain or even anger/frustration. These are all signs that we are over stressed. Therefore, when we have any of these symptoms, it should be a sure signal to us that we need to de-stress. Scientists have studied this phenomenon and they all agree that stress weakens our immune system. Therefore, the most important reason to de-stress is to boost your immune system.

Currently, due to Covid-19, our immune systems are taking a big hit due to lifestyle changes, added fears and simply living in a state of a new normal or perhaps even a state of the unknown. Yes, it is true that Covid-19 has added stress on top of stress for most. Yet, many of us even have extra time on our hands. So, I encourage you to fill in some of that extra time with these 5 ways to de-stress.

You can experience a healthier outlook. The above list of “5 ways to de-stress” will help to boost your immune system, by giving the body a break from stress. Do them as often as you can. Make them a part of your healthy lifestyle. You will not regret it as you begin to see and experience a healthier outlook on your life that is being de-stressed.

Related Podcast:

Podcast Episode 1 – Covid-19 and Stress

Related Lifestyle Articles:

Sunlight and Infrared Sauna Therapy

Podcast Episode 1 – Covid-19 and Stress

relaxing by the lake

Looking for ways to handle stress? With the pandemic of Covid-19 we all could use some helpful tips in this area. In Episode 1, Shonda and Patryce discuss how Covid-19 has affected their lives and share some practical ways that may help you deal with the newly added stresses in your life too.

We invite you to listen and share your perspectives with us too. Send us a recorded message.

Listen right here:

Related blog article: De-stress, Dealing with Stress (Covid-19 Pandemic)