“A cup of tea would restore my normality” - Douglas Adams
To all those tea drinkers out there, what is the best time to drink tea? Well, as I started to investigate I found that any time of the day is tea time really, however, in the later hours of the evening is one of the main differences due to the caffeine content in the tea of choice which of course does have an impact on getting a great nights sleep (see our recent blog on "better sleep for better health" blog for more info).
With over 165 million cups of tea drunk every day in the UK by some 51 million tea drinkers, its no wonder there are more and more options of different blends and aromas on the market. Drinking herbal, spice and fruit teas are on the rise although black tea is still by far the most popular. There is however one trend that does stand out and that is the growing demand for functional and wellbeing teas. As we seek out natural ways to better ourselves, both mentally and physically, tea has been there all along waiting patiently for us to explore its full potential. Baring in mind tea was in fact initially used as medicine in ancient China, where people chewed on fresh leaves for their refreshing and invigorating effect before they learned to brew it in water and make a drink out of it.
So, which teas are best for what time of the day? The most important things to consider is its caffeine content and its health benefits. The variety and options are endless so the different blend you select will also depend on personal preference and one's palette. On a health note, remember that drinking tea one to two hours before or after a meal can help to maximise nutrient and iron absorption. If you are diagnosed with Anaemia, try to avoid tea with meals since it can affect your iron absorption.
Here are a few wonderfully good options that are worth a mention:
Matcha is a tea that offers almost endless health benefits and is actually the powder form of green tea. It can help to lower your cholesterol, boost your metabolism and enhance your mood. Probably best as a morning tea because of its high caffeine content. So if you are looking for a substitute to coffee this is your best choice. What is also great about Matcha is that you can get it in form of a Latte, for those that like tea with milk.
Peppermint tea is a herbal non-caffeine tea. So if your about to head into a meeting or feeling stressed it won’t cause increased agitation. It is also known to ease indigestion and discomfort helping to relax the stomach muscles. This is a great tea for any time of the day, even for at night before bed.
Green tea has become a very popular option among tea drinkers. Many fitness enthusiasts claim it can boost metabolism, due to its high catechin content which can speed up the body’s fat-burning process. Even though it has caffeine it is still a lot less than coffee so a small cup of green tea before bed has benefits that make it a small risk of it disturbing your sleep. Actually, this tea is great at any time of the day.
Ginger tea is by far a personal favourite mainly for its flavour. It has long been used in traditional medicine to treat nausea and other digestive issues. So great if you are experiencing morning sickness. Some studies have also shown that it can reduce exercise related muscle pain as well as inflammation.
Chamomile is a herb that produces small, daisy-like flowers that are then dried and steeped in water to make Chamomile tea. There are several different types of chamomile herb, but only those from the Roman, German or Egyptian varieties are used for the tea. Many people enjoy chamomile tea as a caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea and for its earthy, somewhat sweet taste. Furthermore, chamomile tea is loaded with antioxidants that may play a role in lowering your risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Chamomile has properties that may aid sleep and digestion, as well. More information about the health benefits can be found here
Rooibos tea, meaning "red bush"; is a broom-like member of the plant family Fabaceae that grows in South Africa's fynbos and the leaves are used to make this wonderful herbal tea. Rooibos tea is gaining popularity as a delicious and healthy beverage. Consumed in southern Africa for centuries, it has become a beloved drink around the world. It’s a flavorful, caffeine-free alternative to black and green tea. What’s more, advocates praise rooibos for its potential health benefits, claiming that its antioxidants can protect against cancer, heart disease and stroke. More info can be found here
There are endless options of teas from hibiscus, liquorice, turmeric and cumin. My key suggestion is to look for the organic versions and speciality tea shops and make your tea experience a daily ritual. Morning, noon or night sitting with a hot cup of tea is somewhat therapeutic and give yourself a little time out from our often busy day. Whether looking for an alternative to coffee or seeking health benefits tea drinking is on the rise.
Written by: Diana Seston
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