NPR recently reported on The Blues Zones Solution. The project follows societies with large groups of centenarians to see what those cultures have in common. And one major characteristic is they each have a love for some variety of tea. They've long enjoyed the health benefits of drinking tea.
Okinawans credit green tea with jasmine leaves in part for their extended longevity. This one should be of no real surprise considering that green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and some kinds of cancer. Ikarians drink tea made from fresh herbs with anti-inflammatory qualities like rosemary, dandelion, and wild sage. And Sardinians drink tea made from milk thistle. All three cultures enjoy extended longevity and in all three, tea is regularly consumed. Here's how to enjoy the benefits of drinking tea:
1. Choose Minimally Processed
In all three cases, the tea that’s consumed comes from fresh leaves and it’s minimally processed.
"We often drink a tea with friends or in the evenings," Thea Parikos, an Ikarian told NPR. "The teas we use are collected in the wild. We are not so enthusiastic on store-bought tea. We consider the wild plants to be of better quality."
While you might not be able to grow your own tea, like many of these cultures, you can drink tea made from tea leaves instead of tea bags. You can also choose organic to ensure that your tea isn’t laden with pesticides. And you can make herbal teas from widely available herbs like rosemary, sage, and basil.
2. Sip Throughout the Day
Regular consumption is the key to seeing the benefits of tea. In cultures with extended longevity, tea is consumed throughout the day, not just for breakfast. People are more likely to sip on tea than even water. Not to mention that it’s a regular part of socializing. Often times, coffee is drank in the morning and tea is consumed throughout the day, according to NPR.
3. What Kinds of Teas Are Best?
Green tea is an oldy but a goody. It’s old news in the world of holistic health but that doesn’t make it any less effective. I’m also a fan of twig tea. It’s made from the young stems of the tree shrub Camellia sinensi, rather than the leaves like green tea. It also has a different flavor and tons of health benefits like six times more calcium than cow’s milk. Dandelion tea is another great choice. Enthusiasts say it’s great for digestion while purifying the blood and detoxifying the system.
4. Use Tea for Its Medicinal Properties
Tea can also be used for its medicinal qualities. Ginger and peppermint tea are both good for an upset stomach. Passionflower tea is helpful for anxiety and oolong tea is good to help you shed the pounds. Black tea is known to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin.
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Image of a woman drinking tea from Shuttershock