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It could be argued that there’s nothing quite as Irish as a good cup of tea. In fact, we are the biggest tea drinking nation in the entire world, per capita.
Ask your mammy and she’ll tell you that it can solve everything. A bad day, a break up, the economy, world politics? Ah, have a cup of tea and it’ll be grand.
And while there’s nothing wrong with a traditional cup of Barry’s with milk and sugar, there are some healthier herbal alternatives which can push weight loss, help your body to detox, boost your hydration and aid your digestive systems.
What Is Herbal Tea?
Herbal teas are usually a blend of leaves, seeds and roots. When you drink a herbal tea, you get all the benefits of the plants in a way which is more digestible and pleasant than chewing on grass, leaves or bark.
Benefits Of Herbal Tea
There are many different types of herbal teas, each with their own individual health benefits determined by their ingredients. No matter what kind of tea you’re drinking, you will benefit from the increased hydration, as well as the aromatherapy as the infusion of ingredients enter your senses. This makes drinking a good cup of tea an incredibly relaxing experience.
Tips For Drinking Tea
If you’re drinking tea for the health benefits, you’ll want to source good quality products with great ingredients. Try to steer clear of teas which list added essential oils or flavours in the ingredients. Common ice teas available in shops and supermarkets should also be avoided as most contain sugar as their main ingredient.
To get the most from your cup of tea, let it steep for a good ten minutes to let all the healthy properties enter the waters.
It’s also a good idea to make a habit of drinking your tea – your health won’t immediately improve after one cuppa; you’ll have to consume it regularly to see real results.
Best Teas For Your Health
- For bloating
If you’re feeling a little bit bloated, try a cup of peppermint tea to relieve abdominal gas and pain. Peppermint tea is a relaxant and can help with any spasms in muscles, gastrointestinal tract, bile duct and gall bladder. If you suffer from persistent indigestion then sip slowly on a cup of peppermint tea about half an hour before food.
- For water retention
When you want to look and feel a little bit slimmer, a cup of Dandelion tea can help you appear less puffy and bloated. Dandelion tea has diuretic effects. It’s loaded with potassium to reduce sodium levels and get rid of unpleasant water retention. With magnesium, it’s also great for premenstrual bloating during that time of the month.
- For a liver detox
Milk Thistle Tea
No tea can detox your body; that’s what your liver and kidneys are for. However, there are certain teas which can promote healthy digestive function and help your liver do its job a little better.
When it comes to your liver health, milk thistle tea is one of the best natural remedies. It increases bile production and reduces inflammation to improve digestive processes.
- For nausea
Ginger is an excellent cure for nausea or an upset stomach and is often recommended to pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. Ginger includes active volatile oils and phenol compounds and also has high levels of vitamin C. It helps the body absorb nutrients and improves food digestion. Although it’s mainly known for curbing sickness, ginger tea is a great all-rounder; it has calming properties, it fights inflammation and joint pain and is an effective cure for the common cold when combined with lemon and honey.
- For insomnia
Chamomile is one of the most popular varieties of herbal tea, as it has a great floral flavour. But, of course it has excellent benefits for your mind and body too. Research has found that chamomile tea has a similar effect to certain anxiety reducing drugs. It includes flavonoids which bind to certain receptors in the brain which has a calming impact.
As well as helping with sleep, chamomile tea is another great remedy for digestive issues and inflammation.
- For heart health
Hawthorn tea is not as easy to find in your local supermarket but the leaves, flowers and berries of the plant are used in a variety of teas, including many peach and berry varieties.
Hawthorn tea can have an impact on your heart health by relaxing and dilating blood vessels to improve blood circulation and decreasing stress on your heart.
- For your skin
Rooibos is another one of the most popular teas as it tastes great and is easy to drink. It’s high in many vitamins and minerals, most prominently vitamin C which can give a serious boost to your immune system. It also has antioxidant properties which not only prevent diseases but have cosmetic benefits too.
Many people suffering from eczema and acne drink rooibos tea and even apply it to their skin to sooth rashes and eruptions. Although there are no detailed studies about the effect of rooibos on the skin, it’s thought that the flavonoids within it contribute to a healthier complexion. As well as helping skin disorders, it’s believed to be beneficial for anti-aging by producing healthy skin cells.
- For your immune system
When looking for a tea to help your immune system, you should choose a variety which contains high levels of vitamin C. Rosehips come from the rose plant and are often cited as the best plant source of Vitamin C and can offer a little boost to your system, your tissue health and your adrenal function.
- For weight loss
Although there are many weight-loss and ‘skinny teas’ on the market promising to offer you an effortless solution to shifting the pounds, if you’ve ever tried losing weight in this way before you’ll know that there is no miracle cure of this variety.
There are no teas in the world that can make you lose weight alone, without healthy eating and exercise. That said, green tea can help speed up the process by increasing your metabolic rate; the speed at which you burn calories. The compounds in green tea called catechins can trigger the release of fat from fat cells and help the lever turn fat into energy more effectively.
- For general health
When most of us think of nettles we associate it with nasty stings acquired as a child. But there’s so much more to this incredible plant. By drinking nettle tea, which is made from the leavings of the stinging plant, you can help a number of ailments. It’s great for anaemia, high blood pressure, and arthritis. It’s also a diuretic, it increases urine output and helps remove uric acid which aids UTIs, kidney and bladder issues.
It’s effective for controlling allergies and, like rooibos, is great for hair and skincare. It’s even touted as a way to boost fertility in males by improving sperm motility and replenishing testosterone in the body.
What herbal tea do you swear by? Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #MyIrishLife