Reading ‘a cup of tea’ is enough to induce feelings on contentment. Just the thought of it is calming.
We’re mostly concerned with Camellia sinensis – your regular tea bush that has numerous varieties. It can produce small leaf green teas, large leaf fermented black teas like Assam and hybrids like Darjeeling.
You can add milk, lemon or sugar to taste and the benefits stay the same.
But what is so great about a cup of tea?
Polyphenols – they give tea the astringent taste. They include antioxidant catechins, the one most prevalent in tea is epigallocatechin gallate shortened to EGCG and regularly mentioned as a strong antioxidant.
Stimulants – such as xanthenes and theobromines.
And caffeine: 1g black tea has around 25mg caffeine and 1g green tea has around 15mg – a longer brew gives a higher caffeine content.
Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and help to reduce the oxidative stress from pathogens and pollution. They are thought to be protective against the inflammatory response that causes damage in heart disease and possibly neurodegenerative disorders.
But there is more to a cup of tea than chemicals.
Research looking at the role of tea in the reduction of stress found that drinking a cup of tea can:
- Signal the end of or a break from a stressful episode
- Gives a feeling of being cared for when someone makes it for us
- Makes us stop and rest, we can’t drink it if we are active
- Being hot, it takes time to drink – unlike a drink of water, there is time to rest and contemplate
- It can be social, which is good for our soul.