Most of us sip our cuppas to relax, to take a break. And that’s great for mental health. But tea in various forms can cure other problems too. Here’s how...
Chamomile tea reduces anxiety to secure peaceful sleep, and has been associated with a lower risk of depression. Studies have shown that for every three cups of chamomile tea per day, the relative risk of depression is decreased by 37 per cent.
Chamomile relaxes blood vessels and soothes muscle fibres, thus helping induce sleep. It also reduces the levels of stress hormone, ACTH, in the brain.
Make it: Pour a cup of boiling water over two to three heaping teaspoons of dried organic chamomile leaves. Allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink it warm at bedtime.
Exhausted? Drink black tea made with fermented leaves. It has moderate amounts of caffeine (approximately 50mg) that can prevent tiredness. Two cups of black tea a day also helps maintain the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you age faster, at its proper level. If you’re a workout fanatic, drink a cup of black tea 30 minutes before you hit the gym to boost your endurance.
Cough and cold
Made with steamed tea leaves, green tea has a high concentration of EGCG, a polyphenol that helps fight cold. It is rich in catechins, which help build immunity. A study comparing the immune activity of coffee drinkers to that of tea drinkers found it to be up to five times higher in those that chose tea. Green tea with lemon helps clear the chest and reduces pollen allergies. It also fights the ill-effects of inhaling smoke. Add a teaspoon of honey to your green tea to double its power.
Make it: Steep one teaspoon of green tea in a cup of hot water for two-three minutes. Strain and add lemon/honey. Drink it twice a day.
Overeating, excessive alcohol, stress and being glued to a desk 12 hours a day creates a weak digestive system. A cup of carom seeds (ajwain) and ginger tea, without milk, sipped 30 minutes after meals, cuts down bloating, acid reflux and heartburn.
Make it: Peel the skin off a one-inch piece of ginger, add it to boiling water with one teaspoon of carom seeds. Boil for three to five minutes, strain and drink hot.
When it comes to painkillers, most people rely on anti-inflammatory drugs that have adverse side effects, especially with long-term use. However, a natural home remedy is turmeric tea, which is a potent painkiller. Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin that can decrease pain and inflammation. It’s a one-stop solution for muscular pain, stomach pain, joint pain and even headaches.
Make it: Add half an inch of fresh turmeric root to a cup of boiling milk and let it boil for two to three minutes. Drink hot once a day.
White tea, uncured and unfermented, is rich in phytochemicals that helps lower inflammation by fighting free radicals. It can stimulate bone formation and strengthening. Studies have shown that regular tea drinkers have stronger bones than non-tea drinkers, even when other variables (such as milk) were adjusted for. It has the potential to help prevent and treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Make it: In one cup hot water, steep the white tea over five to seven minutes.
Due to presence of the antioxidant catechin, regular intake of green tea can fight cavities and help promote healthy teeth and gums. It can suppress the growth and acid production of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque. Tea also contains fluoride and tannins, both of which help reduce plaque buildup and tooth decay. Combined with a good dental hygiene regimen, this could keep your teeth healthier for longer.
Do it: Rinse your mouth with green tea five times for 30 seconds each at three-minute intervals.
Caution: Pre-packaged sweetened tea is loaded with empty calories, sugar and preservatives, which can offset any health benefits.
The author is a well-known nutritionist and TV personality
From HT Brunch, January 22, 2017
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