Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sensible Indulgences - Tea

The Chinese believe in Yin and Yang. They believe that success in all things comes from finding a balance between energies.  I think this is applicable in following the Paleo lifestyle as well.

Our goal is to create healthy bodies through healthy choices, but also to do so with as little depravation and as much pleasure as possible.

Today I am going to start a series of posts called "Sensible Indulgences".  ( I didn't come up with this term - That credit has to go to Mark Sisson -  but it certainly fits.) These are things that are treats and not to be eaten in huge quantities, but also treats that are good for you in some way.

Of course I am not talking about anything self-destructive here.  Drugs, cigarettes, etc. will not be found on this list. Remember we are talking about sensible indulgences.

There are many things that can be indulged in occasionally to add pleasure to your life without also damaging your health. And if you can have pleasure and also some healthy benefits at the same time - however small - that is definitely a win-win situation.

Today I will start with something that you probably haven't thought about as an indulgence - Tea.  But if you think about it you will realize that it really is.  Not only does tea have terrific health benefits, it's also incredibly soothing.

How many times have I come home after a truly exhausting day and recouped with a hot calming cup of tea?  Too many to count.

Tea drinking has been reputed by many cultures to have health benefits.  This includes both what is considered "real" tea and "herbal" teas.

"Real" tea is derived from a native shrub that grows in China and India and it's interesting to note that both of these countries have a long history of tea drinking. This include green tea, black tea and white as well as some lesser known varieties.  Here is a quick rundown on the health benefits attributed to these teas.

White Tea  - is uncured and unfermented
  •  Has been shown to have the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.

Black Tea -  is made with fermented tea leaves and has the highest caffeine content.  It's used for chai tea and some instant teas.
  • Shown to reduce the risk of stroke 
  • Can protect your lungs from the damage that can be caused by exposure to cigarette smoke.

Green Tea -  is made from steamed tea leaves and has a high concentration of the ECGC antioxidant.
  • Shown in many studies to stop the growth of cancers in the breast, lungs, stomach, and various other body areas. 
  • Prevents the clogging of the arteries and therefore reduces the risk of stroke
  • Has been used to help burn fat and help with weight loss
  • Used to counteract oxidative stess on the brain which reduces the risk of disorders like Alzheimeer's and Parkinson's diseases.  
No post on teas would be complete without discussing Herbal Teas, especially when the focus is on health benefits.   Here is a general summary of some of the better known ones.

Ginger Tea
  • Impedes motion sickness by soothing nerves and preventing vomiting
  • eradicates headaches and migraines
  • combats assists digestion and improves food absorption
  • eases the inflammation of the joints
  • alleviates tired, sore muscles and joints by lessening swelling and puffiness
  • aids in loosening phlegm so helps you recover quickly from colds
  • appeases allergies and constant sneezing due to hay fever
  • improves blood flow, preventing cardiovascular disease
  • helps with menstrual cramps
  • improves the immune system and helps prevent cancer
  • helps reduce stroke by inhibiting fatty deposits from clogging the arteries
  • improves your mood and gives you a sunny disposition
  • is a stress reliever, leaving you feeling refreshed and calm
Yogi Tea Ginger, Herbal Supplement, Tea Bags, 16 ct

Lavender Tea
  • Helps you relax and get rid of anxiety and tension
  • Promotes peaceful sleep
  • Gives relief to sunburnt skin
  • Can be used as a natural antiseptic for minor cuts
  • Soothes mild stomach upsets
  • Helps get rid of dandruff and promotes healthy shiny hair
Yogi Tea Ginger, Herbal Supplement, Tea Bags, 16 ct

Chamomile Tea

The benefits of Chamomile tea have been known for hundreds of years.  Egyptians, Romans and Greeks applied it to wounds to speed healing.
  • May prevent complications from diabetes like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage
  • May help stunt the growth of cancer cells
  • boosts the immune system to fight infections associated with colds
  • relieves muscle spasms and menstrual cramps
  • relaxes the nerves
  • soothes the stomach
  • reduces all kinds of inflammation
  • improves liver function
  • helps relieve back pain
  • helps relieve rheumatism
  • helps to promote restful sleep
Twinings Pure Camomile Herbal Tea, 20 Tea Bags box

Mint Tea
  • stimulates digestion
  • treats diarrhea
  • helps with the digestion of fats
  • recommended for asthma, brinchitis and flue because of its antispasmodic and sedative properties
  • can bring relief of sinusitis
  • helps with mental fatigue, stress, depression and headaches
Twinings Pure Peppermint Herbal Tea, 1.41 Ounce Box, 20 Count

And finally what you add to your tea can increase the health benefits as well


Most of the benefits of lemon center around cleansing the human body systems because lemon acts as a purifying agent.
  •  Drinking lemon tea in the morning freshens you up for the rest of the day and improves your metabolic rate considerably 
  • drives away any drowsiness and fatigue and makes you feel less lethargic and more active
  • changes your mood instantly
  • some claim that lemon tea reduces the risk of developing cancer because it is very rich in Vitamin C and is a strong natural antioxidant
  • clears up the skin due to flushing out of the toxins
  • acts as an antiseptic and helps prevent various infections and illnesses

  • provides strength and energy
  • instantly boosts performance and endurance in athletes as well as reduces muscle fatigue
  • powerful immune system booster
  • reduces arthritic pain
  • useful when you have a hangover because it speeds up the oxidation of alcohol in the liver
  • helps heal sore throats by killing certain bacteria
  • calms the soul and induces sleep
Even though it has taken a long time for the medical profession to take tea seriously as a medical aid, more and more studies are showing the health benefits and helping to legitimize these long held beliefs.

All this emphasis on health probably makes you wonder why I consider this an indulgence. Maybe you need to be British like I am to understand, but there is just something about tea ....  nothing really has the same effect.  However bad your day has been, just boil the kettle, put some boiling water over your favourite tea in your favourite mug, and soon your cares will just disappear.  At least for a while.

Check out other Simple Pleasures here .

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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