Why tea time is good for you

When you want to slow down and take a moment for yourself, it’s hard to beat a soothing, refreshing cup of tea in your own company. There’s no better proof that self-care can be simple and economical – in fact, it’s as easy as boiling the kettle!
Most of us are happy to enjoy our regular brand of tea, either black or with milk and sugar – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But did you know that there many different kinds of tea out there? We introduce you to just a couple of them.

Black tea

Ceylon, or black tea, is the most popular tea variety in the world, enjoyed by generations in loose leaf form and in later years as tea bags. The leaves of the Camellia sinensis (the plant from which tea comes) originally grew in East Asia and China where they were first brewed to make a drink thousands of years ago. Today’s rich, flavourful black tea usually comes from a region in the country of Sri Lanka (which was once called Ceylon). Whether you enjoy your tea with or without milk, it has health benefits. Black tea contains potassium, which is known to relax arteries and reduce blood pressure. So including a cup or two a day is good for your health.
Is black tea for me? If you enjoy its traditional, bold flavour, have a cup with breakfast, and as a tea time treat along with a sandwich or biscuit.
Tip: The longer you brew the tea, the stronger the flavour. Don’t brew longer than three minutes though, as the tea will taste bitter.

Green tea

Green tea originated in the Far East, most famously in China. This variety of tea has excellent health benefits and across the world, it’s recognised to contain the highest levels of antioxidants (a substance that helps protect against heart disease and other serious diseases) compared to other teas. Researchers have even found that a cup of green tea a day is beneficial in reducing cholesterol.
Is green tea for me? If you enjoy your tea without milk, don’t mind a little caffeine boost and are looking to improve your overall physical health, it may be just right. But do remember that if you’re not used to the taste, it might take a little while to really appreciate it!
Tip: Best enjoyed in the morning after breakfast or lunch to help with digestion and to keep you alert. Add a mint leaf to enhance the flavour.

Rooibos tea

Rooibos is a proudly South African tea made from the leaves of a shrub that’s indigenous to the Western Cape. There are many health benefits associated with this tea but the most notable one, according to Brand SA, is that drinking it regularly is scientifically proven to help with stress and anxiety.

Is Rooibos for me? The answer is that Rooibos is good for everyone, provided you like the taste. Especially if you want to avoid the stimulants in black and green tea, like tannin and caffeine, choose Rooibos. It’s lower in tannins and caffeine-free so you can enjoy it at any time of day.
Tip: Replace a few glasses of water with cups of Rooibos. Drop in a slice of lemon and drink it without sugar and milk to increase your water intake. To increase your child’s water intake, brew the tea, flavour it with fresh pieces of seasonal fruit, sweeten with a bit of honey or sugar and let it cool. On a hot day, it’s great straight from the fridge or served with ice cubes for older kids.

Chamomile tea

This relaxing tea, made from the dried flowers of the chamomile plant, originates from Europe. All teas contain antioxidants but the one that sets chamomile apart is apigenin, which is known to decrease inflammation. This antioxidant also has a calming effect, which is why chamomile is often recommended as a bedtime tea that helps you sleep better.
Best: If you want to enjoy a cup of tea in the evening. It can also be enjoyed at any time during the day – especially if you need to destress and have a quiet moment.
Tip: Test out how you prefer your chamomile by brewing it for a short while and then later leaving it to brew for longer periods – you may find the effect is even more relaxing.

Learn more about how to fit in some ‘me-time’ moments during lockdown.

Image: Getty/ Gallo