The Health Benefits of Tea

It’s loved across the world for its ability to soothe and revive, but for thousands of years, tea has been recognised for its healing properties too.

It’s loved across the world for its ability to soothe and revive, but for thousands of years, tea has been recognised for its healing properties too. As the Japanese scholar, Okakura Kakuzō said, “Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage”. And thank goodness for that – the more you make tea part of your daily routine, the more you stand to benefit from its ability to prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes, lower cholesterol and even promote weight loss.

We asked Amanda Weber, a registered dietician based in Cape Town, to point us towards her favourite teas that have health benefits too.

Rooibos tea

Our very own rooibos (the only place in the world that it’s grown is in the Cederberg mountains north of Cape Town) is not only delicious, it’s also jam-packed with the good stuff. “Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free and very low in tannins, making it a great way to hydrate,” explains Amanda. “It’s also full of antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and anti-inflammatory properties, which lower blood pressure, improve eczema, asthma and circulation, and help with insomnia.”

Green tea

“Green tea is a well-publicised winner,” says Amanda. “It lowers your blood pressure and your LDL cholesterol (your ‘bad’ cholesterol), but not your HDL cholesterol.” Its potent antioxidants have also been shown to inhibit the growth of bladder, breast, pancreatic and colorectal cancers, as well as lower the risk of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It’s also a great fatigue fighter, and helps keep you mentally alert.

Herbal teas

Herbal teas are made from the roots, leaves, flowers and bark of a variety of plants and are commonly used as alternative healing remedies for various ailments. Chamomile tea is well known for its ability to aid indigestion, inflammation and insomnia; ginseng tea may help to prevent cancer; and ginger tea is a common antidote for nausea.

Sceletium tea

Sceletium is a succulent that is found naturally in the Karoo and the Namaqualand and has been used for centuries by the San people. It can be chewed, smoked or made into a tea. “Sceletium is one of my favourite teas,” says Amanda. “It’s got anti-anxiety and mood-enhancing properties, and is also believed to boost concentration and help to balance your central nervous system.” A side note on this one though, it’s best not to take it if you’re on anti-depressant medication.

Kombucha

Tea can even be fermented to create the sharp, fizzy beverage known as kombucha. The crucial ingredient in this elixir is a SCOBY – a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – which ferments the black tea and (large amounts of) sugar into a beverage that’s been known to improve your gut health, protect your lungs and help manage diabetes.

The next time you’re feeling thirsty, pour yourself a cup of your favourite brew. There are just so many benefits that it can give to you.

Sources:

·                Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits#1

·                Eat Right: https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/the-health-benefits-of-tea

·                Prevention: https://www.prevention.com/health/a20514744/herbal-tea-health-benefits/

·                Sceletia: https://www.sceletia.com/

·                Dr Axe: https://draxe.com/7-reasons-drink-kombucha-everyday/

Choosing the right medical aid is no joke, but we’ll leave you smiling.