Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Time For A Spot of Tea!

With the weather in NY cold and snowy, it is wonderful to indulge in some tea. Tea is calming, soothing, relaxing, and healthy. I love drinking tea. In the Indian culture, it is a tradition to have tea throughout the day. On each visit to India growing up, it would be totally normal to have a minimum of 4 cups of tea throughout the day. Hot tea in a Hot climate can be interesting to get used to but very beneficial for the body. In India tea is called Chai, which literally translates to "spiced tea" or "masala tea", it is tea leaves with additional spices like cloves, Cinnamon, cardamon etc. These spices poses many medicinal benefits. Historically, tea is considered an Ayurvedic remedy for many illnesses in India. When the British invaded India, along with many other things that they staked claim too, they adapted a love for Tea, and that is how they established phrase/custom "TEA TIME". Over here in the West many popular coffee shops have coined the name "CHAI" and used a translation for fancier sugary/flavoured types of teas.

My personal indulgence is purchasing loose bag tea from Alice's Tea Cup on the Upper West Side (occasionally they have Vegan Scones too!). Natural Green, Oolong, and Black Teas are a healthier option than the sugary laced, dairy infused other teas in your local coffee shop. Many studies have shown that tea is loaded with antioxidants polyphenol properties that are a wonderful for fighting cancer. Many teas can help reduce risk of gastric, esophageal, skin, and even ovarian cancers. Some studies suggest that green tea even lowers rates in heart disease. A research study in Sweeden took over 60,000 women ages 40-76, over 15 years found that women who drank more than 2 cups of tea a day, lowered their risk of Ovarian Cancer by 46 percent, those who drank one cup a day lowered the risk by 18 percent (results of this study were published in Archives of Internal Medicine 12/05).

Teas like White, Green, Oolong and Black teas tend to contain the polyphenols, because they derive from the warm-weather evergreen tree known as Camellia-Sinensis. While the herbal blend teas which are usually a combination of flowers, roots, spices and herbs are generally considered more of a tisane tea, meant for calming and relaxing. A popular South African tea "Roobis" is also said to have antioxidant qualities but in realty it is in the "calming" category of teas, since it does not come from the Camellia-sinensis family of trees.

Sometimes I enjoy adding cloves and cinnamon to my tea pot. Cloves are amazing for cleansing the body, preventing infection and killing bacteria. Cinnamon is the amazing addition that everyone should add to their diet, as it helps regulate sugar levels in the body. Along with the health benefits of cloves and cinnamon, they create an amazing aroma for your home. Adding lemon or honey to your cup of tea can help heal a sore throat.

Whether it's a daily ritual like mine, or something you share with friends, take a minute to have a spot of tea! ~ Namaste

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