Today we're talking 'tea', and some delicious ways of enjoying a hot cup of steaming happiness that isn't just your classic English Breakfast. Tea has been enjoyed in the UK for centuries, and the health benefits of drinking tea are numerous. I did a little research and discovered that besides the caffeine stimulation that makes us feel more alert, tea is packed with polyphenols, a natural antioxidant that can protect your cells from DNA damage. Tea in all it's forms, as long as it's not a fake fruit flavoured tea, can help protect from cancer, lower blood pressure, help prevent diabetes, and reduce risk of stroke, heart attack and Parkinson's disease. Tea is also much lower in caffeine than coffee, keeping you more hydrated. Not bad eh?
Black tea and green tea are made from the same tea leaves, but processed differently, leaving more of the antioxidants in green tea (hence it's widely known health benefits), but also meaning that you don't have to drink grass flavoured hot water first thing in the morning to get the benefits.
Here are some of my favourite ways of getting some tea therapy in your day:
Twinings Bollywood Chai Latte- I remember discovering this last spring, when the pretty packages of unusual tea flavours were introduced by Twinings in the UK (and were on offer in the supermarket!). This tea smells like an indian summer of hot cross buns, and if the smell wasn't uplifting enough, it's packed full of spices that are seriously good for you, like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Delicious with a touch of honey and a drop of coconut milk (not the canned stuff!), you're basically drinking heaven in a healthy brew. Still my favourite a year on.
Iced Green Tea with Fresh Mint - I'm personally not a fan of hot green tea, it tastes like grass smells and I struggle to get it down without gulping and holding my nose. But this recipe is a fantastic way of getting all those antioxidants, in a delicious and refreshing way. When I visited Marrakech a few years ago I fell in love with their mint tea. Made simply by pouring boiling water over plenty of sprigs of fresh mint (and they like to add copious amounts of sugar), the mint oils are released and the refreshing brew is a fabulous way of easing digestive issues (of which I suffered in Marrakech) and cooling you off in the heat. I will share my recipe for this in a separate post very soon; it's so good it deserves the spotlight.
Earl Grey with a slice of lemon- The health conscious amongst us have gone mad over the benefits of drinking lemon water first thing in the morning, due to it's detoxing benefits. Like green tea, I struggle to get my palate to adapt to sharp bitter lemon water before anything else, but adding some Earl Grey tea to it is actually a rather beautiful way to start the day. Not only are you getting the detoxing benefits of lemon, but you're adding in the detoxing benefits of the polyphenol antioxidants and other herbs in the tea, and making your kitchen smell divine. Tea and scent therapy all in one! Simply brew an Earl Grey teabag with boiling water, leave to cool for a few minutes, and add the lemon. You'll be perked up in no time!
Need any other excuses to pop the kettle on? Didn't think so!