Health: herbal tea

To get a break from my usual research I decided to touch on an important topic — health.

The health field is massive, and it is very complex. The key is to know your body, listen to your body, and if necessary take something to counteract a problem, or disorder. One thing is clear though, that is, we need to take everything in moderation. One single thing will not lead to a cure, or automatically fix a disorder, but our lifestyle can help our amazing instruments to improve, become more efficient, and leave us in a healthy state of mind — happy, smiling people.

To touch the surface on lifestyle I thought I’d touch on the topic of hot drinks. If you take a hot drink (hot chocolate, tea, coffee etc) then you might find this post interesting.

Why is water important?

Water, and liquids, are essential for our body to survive. Without it you could feel light-headed, or sluggish. Little / no water can cause dehydration.

The UK’s National Health Service recommends that we should drink 1.2 litres of fluid every day [1].

Our bodies have the amazing capacity to obtain nutrients from most food and drink, except alcohol. On one level our body is amazing. We each have the best pump in the world — our hearts beat everyday, all day. Nature has enabled us to have the best organs. That is how it should be, so good they can’t be bought, because they are already fantastic.

Water is great because it doesn’t put that must strain on our liver. Of course everything we eat (or drink) needs to pass our liver. Our bodies can also rep the health benefits of another liquid: herbal tea.

Herbal tea, not flavoured water

Other than ‘proper tea’ there are lots (and lots) of herbal teas on the store’s shelves. Some of them will have bright pictures of plants, and other eye-catching designs to hook you in, but really they are only flavoured water, and not beneficial (from a health point-of-view) to the body.

To help your body fight illnesses, try to substitute one cup of your daily hot drink with a herbal, real tea. Not flavoured water, but a real herbal tea (ginger, green tea, peppermint, nettle etc) every day. There are lots of articles to help you find a good herbal tea [2].

Our liver has to breakdown everything that goes into your body, but it regenerates itself [3]. The only part of your body, regardless of lifestyle, that can regenerate itself — totally. Herbal teas can help your other organs though. For example, green tea is high in antioxidants. Green tea can therefore fight off free radicals, which in turn stops healthy cells from dying / breaking down.

For more information on what antioxidants and free radicals are, you can read this link [4]. In short (for the purpose of this post) antioxidants are linked with levels of oxygen in our bodies, and free radicals are the bad atoms that easily react with this oxygen, and can kill cells by reacting with oxygen in our body — even healthy ones. Of course this oxygen is not the good kind that runs in our veins and arteries — that’s the regulated circulatory system, of blood.

How can I begin to drink herbal tea?

When I started to drink herbal tea a few years ago, I bought a starter pack. It had four, or five, teabags of four teas in a box. This one product allowed me to taste a range of teas within a few days. And this starter pack was great if I wasn’t sure if it tasted bad, or good. And these starter packs allowed me to have the same tea again to clarify a taste (or develop a taste) for a real, herbal tea.

Try to get a few of these starter packs, and develop a taste for herbal tea. You can even experiment with mixed herbal teas. E.g. peppermint and nettle tea allows you to have a re-freshening taste with nettles, and they are great to aid digestion, and cleanse the body.

We are all at an age were caring about our body matters — we are all adults. Look after your body, it will look after you. Remember to enjoy your body too!

There are many articles about free radicals and antioxidants, including this one from the National University of Ireland, Galway [5]. Note to self, read this printed article when free — it could help to to use time rather than waste it by sitting in a daze.

Herbal tea can bring lots of health benefits

Like anything in health related articles, there is evidence for both sides. But herbal teas do have a lot of stuff in them which can help our bodies function that little bit better. Are herbal teas a catalyst for self-regulation? Maybe! The list below is adapted from a Daily Mail

  • Elderflower: decongestant which can help clear the nasal pathways — good for a cold.
  • Ginger: warming spice allowing the body to increase in size — good for stimulating blood flow
  • Nettle: contains iron, a substance essential for red blood cells — good for energy, and formation of body parts
  • Chamomile: contains tryptophan, which triggers sleep / relaxation — good for sleep

This list could go on, (this article explains herbal teas) but I hope you get the idea that herbal teas are really good for us? If you like grabbing a coffee in the morning you might want to replace that with a ginger tea. Or if you prefer drinking hot drinks at night, you might want to take up chamomile tea!

Herbal tea may not stop us form getting a disorder / illness, but drinking it may help us think about self-regulation. Would we become more aware of our bodies if we associate herbal tea with health benefits? Would we take better notice of our own signs and symptoms? Does herbal tea start to force us to think about our health?

Maybe herbal teas can help us to enjoy listening to our body! It is good to retune with oneself, albeit for a few minutes with a cup of herbal tea. Good luck finding your new healthy drink !

References

  1. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/water-drinks.aspx
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-21754/The-true-benefits-herbal-tea.html
  3. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/liver/regen.html
  4. http://www.healthchecksystems.com/antioxid.htm
  5. http://www.nuigalway.ie/health_promotion/documents/General_Staff_Publications/2003_ja_kelly_food_standards_agency_jhnd_164.pdf
Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Health: herbal tea

  1. I like what you say about moderation and trying new things. Both are important for learning to like healthy behaviors. One thing you may want to be careful of is potential interactions with herbals and medications. There’s a few sites and books that can help with figuring out if there may be a problem. If you want I can look them up for you.

  2. Pingback: My herbal tea can do that? Herbal interactions with medicine « Nutrition Nuts and Bolts

  3. Pingback: My herbal tea can do that? Herbal interactions with medicine (New post at Nutrition Nuts and Bolts) « Shelly Najjar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s