Friday, February 13, 2015

Health Care and Herbal Tea

For thousands of years, tea and the art of drinking it has had special significance in cultures around the globe. Japan, China, England, and the US are all huge markets for tea. Drinking tea can help your heart, boost your brainpower, keep your metabolism humming, and more according to Fitness Magazine. Entire industries have been built around tea, and America’s revolution against Great Britain was ignited over the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

Studies suggest that one cup of tea may contain up to five times more antioxidants than any fruit or vegetable. These disease-fighting compounds may help prevent certain cancers, keep your heart healthy, burn fat and ward off weight gain, sharpen your mind, and help your body beat the effects of aging and stress, according to experts reporting in Fitness Magazine. Much more detail on this topic can be found at this website: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/drink/tea-health-benefits/ 

Although tea in general is a great beverage and has many healthy attributes, herbal tea has been found to be very good way to achieve even more ways to help your mind and body. According to Reader’s Digest Best Health Magazine, from soothing a troubled tummy to easing insomnia and calming a troubled mind, herbs have all sorts of healing powers. Drinking herbal tea can also be a great source of vitamins and minerals.

Herbal tea isn’t really made from tea—which is a specific kind of plant. The French use the word tisane, which is a little more accurate, since herbal tea is really just an infusion of leaves, seeds, roots or bark, extracted in hot water. In drinking a well-steeped herbal tea, you get all the plant’s benefits in an easily digestible form.

When it comes to choosing a herbal tea, it’s important to look for a well-sourced product made from high-quality ingredients. If you’re drinking tea for the medicinal benefits, then definitely steer clear of products that add things like essential oils or flavors. And to really get the full benefits from drinking herbal tea, make sure you steep your loose tea or tea bags long enough—in some cases, as long as 10 to 15 minutes—to really bring out all the healthful properties. More detailed information about herbal tea can be found at this website: http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/7-herbal-teas-that-will-make-you-healthy#LV9ZqPRy1MCKcwhL.97 .

According to the Dallas Morning News, there are teas that claim to boost the immune system, relieve constipation or sleeplessness, promote healthy liver function, healthy digestion or healthy lactation, or to support the cardiovascular system or prostate health. But do they really work? For most, the benefits are modest at best, according to Michael Rotblatt, professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He says that “Most of the manufacturers are basing their information on folklore or on whatever studies they can find.”

The good news for tea lovers is that plenty of data suggests health benefits from green or black tea, but few medicinal teas contain either, according to the report. Instead, they’re made with herbals like chamomile, dandelion, sarsaparilla, licorice root, saw palmetto, fennel or stinging nettle. Evidence has shown the benefits of some, such as ginger, hibiscus and peppermint.

The evidence of healthy benefits is much more credible for green tea and black tea, according to Neva Cochran, a registered dietitian in Dallas who has written about tea’s healthy ingredients in Food & Nutrition Magazine, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. However, the experts interviewed agreed on this: Tea is more healthful than soda. Unless you sweeten it with lots of sugar, tea will quench your thirst and help you hydrate without adding a lot of calories. All teas — black, green or herbal — contain phytochemicals, a key ingredient in the fruits and vegetables that we already know are part of a healthy diet.

The Dallas Morning News continues to report that more research is needed to back up the claims of most herbal teas, but nutritionists point to three exceptions that they say may offer modest benefits:

Ginger tea: Helps with nausea. Studies have shown that ginger may have a positive effect on digestion. Ginger helps with digestion by speeding up the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine, according to one study.

Hibiscus tea: One study showed lowered blood pressure among people who drank this tea three times a day.

Peppermint tea: The oil in peppermint leaves may help with upset stomach by calming muscle spasms in the digestive tract.

Regardless of the science, the reason most people drink tea is because they like it. On any given day, 158 million Americans drink tea (including iced tea), and about three-quarters of them say they’re aware of the health benefits, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A. More information can be found at this site: http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/health-and-fitness/health/20140428-do-the-health-benefits-of-herbal-teas-live-up-to-the-hype.ece

Be careful, though, about any medical issues related to drinking various herbs, especially if you are pregnant, are on prescription medications, or have a reduced immune system. Herbal tea may taste good and help make you feel better or relax you. It may even provide a healthy stimulus to your day and provide the opportunity to enjoy the company of others who share the same desires and interests. However, if you are in one of the health watch categories mentioned here, talk with your family doctor or a health care provider to make sure you are approved to drink herbal tea.

Until next time.

2 comments:

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