How “a Cuppa” Can Boost Your Lifestyle

By Jayne Reynolds, BCHN®
Categories: General
Tags: Fellowship Square Mesa Blog | Wellness Connection Services, Health, Mental Health

Everything that can improve affordable assisted living, memory care services and homes for independent living is important to the residents and staff experts at Christian Care Communities. You can see for yourself what a difference that makes by dropping by Fellowship Square Historic Mesa, calling us or scheduling a tour. Take a look at our spacious senior apartments and independent community homes, and be sure to stay for a cup of tea!

Since January is National Tea Month, this is an especially good time to feature an article about its wellness connection for seniors:

Put The Kettle On, Love

Adapted from an article by Jayne Reynolds, BCHN®,

I was born and raised in England, where tea drinking is as much a part of the culture as the royal family. I grew up drinking milky tea in my bottle and graduated to tiny tea cups designed for kids. By the time I was a teenager, I was regularly downing 8-10 cups a day. No one was excluded from the tradition of tea time. Every visitor was greeted with: "shall I put the kettle on, love?" We even gave it to the dog.

We always drank black Kenyan tea, a brand called PG Tips. If we were out somewhere special, we treated ourselves to the citrusy undertones of Earl Grey. The black tea seasoned with bergamot oil made us feel a little bit like the gentry.

It wasn't until I was an adult, living in America, facing food allergies, that I was forced to branch out and try new things. I had to give up milk, and, quite frankly, black tea with coconut milk was a bit of a gastronomical stretch.

When my health crisis led me to a career as a nutritionist, I began to understand and appreciate the wide array of flavors and medicinal properties found in a cup of tea.

On a trip back to England in 2017, I wrote in my journal: "I'm reminded every time I get here how important the ritual of tea time is. It's more than a means of hydration which we so often do on the fly at home. It is the art of putting a moment of rest into your day; some white space in which to breathe, recover, and reset your moment. I don't think so many of us would be so frazzled if we just took time for tea."

It turns out that the scientists agree. While it is often served in a relaxing setting, it may be that the tea contains soothing compounds. One study found that healthy men drinking black tea recovered more quickly from stressful tasks. They also lowered their cortisol levels significantly more than the placebo group. (Steptoe et. al., 2007)

So, what are the medicinal properties of tea? Well, the answer is it depends on the tea.

Black and green tea both contain an amino acid called l-theanine. We know from studies that when l-theanine is combined with a little bit of caffeine, it improves our memory, reaction time, focus and attention. Some animal studies also show that it increases GABA, the neurotransmitter that helps you to relax.

But black and green teas are not the only teas with medicinal properties on the market. Here are some of my favorites and their benefits.

  • Tulsi Tea: Tulsi has been well studied and shown to help reduce our stress response. It supports the immune system, lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, supports digestion, and relieves arthritic inflammation. It has antihistamine properties.
  • Chamomile: This calming and restorative tea can help lower blood sugar, slow or prevent osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, and improve sleep. It can even help reduce troublesome cramps during a woman's monthly cycle.
  •  Raspberry Leaf: This tea is fantastic for women's health. It can stop period cramps in their tracks, strengthens and tones the uterus, helps with menstrual flow, and might even improve labor and delivery outcomes!
  • Hawthorn & Hibiscus: This heart-loving tea may help improve blood flow and the way your heart contracts. It's also great for mild congestive heart failure and high blood pressure.
  • Mint: One of my favorites, mint helps relaxes all the smooth muscles in your body, including your gut. This makes it an excellent remedy for a gassy tummy. It also helps to calm your mind and gives you laser-like focus. (If you have a hiatal hernia, mint tea could worsen your heartburn.) Its menthol content will even help cool you off on a hot summer's day.
  • Ginger: This spicy tea is an excellent way to prevent or alleviate motion and morning sickness. It works as a pain reliever and may help manage blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Dandelion: Your liver loves bitter greens, and none more so than dandelion. It reduces the stress your liver experiences as it helps you detox and helps it to produce bile. Your body binds toxins to bile to help clean up your body.

With such a therapeutic assortment to choose from, a cup of tea may be just what the doctor ordered. I think you'll all agree that the only question that remains is: "shall I put the kettle on, or will you?"

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