5 Surprising Reasons I Fell in Love with Tea

2 Mar

5_Surprising_Reasons_I_Fell-b021060df7252ff94296a4f75f755df9Tea used to be something I only drank to complete my meal at the local Chinese restaurant. But ever since I visited an organic tea plantation in Peru last summer, I no longer limit tea time to tiny cups at Dragon Palace. After learning about the benefits of drinking tea on mind, body and spirit, I chug the stuff daily from a giant mug.

On the tour, my daughter, Heather, and I got to pick tea leaves from tea bushes — that is, when we weren’t picking mosquitoes from each other. The tea plants were waist high with pointed, leathery dark leaves. Harvesting tea was exciting because before that, I’d only ever picked tea off the shelf at Stop & Shop, and even then, it wasn’t real tea.

It turns out that not all teas are created equal. Our Peruvian tour guide, Maria, taught me that real tea is derived from the plant, Camellia sinensis, and includes black, oolong, green and white tea, not to be confused with herbal tea (the kind I was buying), which usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs. Herbal teas may have fun names like Peach Passion and Lemon Zinger (which explains the stacks of them in my cupboard) but according to Maria, don’t offer the same benefits as real tea which contains antioxidants that are beneficial to your health.

Here are five surprising reasons I fell in love with tea.

1. From trendy teahouses to Starbucks, tea has become a popular social experience in America. It’s a drink you can enjoy with a friend — kind of like a cocktail, but without the hangover.

2. A warm cup of tea has a calming effect. Psychologists have found that the simple act of putting the kettle on the stove helps ease the mind. Think of it as a Snuggie for adults.

3. Tea has less caffeine than coffee, so you can drink more freely without worrying about insomnia. If you’re reading this at 2 a.m., take notice.

4. Tea is brimming with antioxidants — disease-fighting compounds thought to protect against cancer. Tea may also protect against cardiovascular disease. And, it tastes better than kale juice.

5. Recent research has debunked the myth that tea is dehydrating. Studies show that drinking tea hydrates as well as water. Generally one cup of tea has only five calories — the equivalent of one breath mint. Speaking of which, tea has been shown to fight mouth bacteria. So drink up — warm your soul and freshen your breath!

With few calories, no fat, and no salt, tea is a no brainer. With so many options on the market now, we’re no longer limited to Lipton. My favorite is Vanilla Coconut White Tea.

Time to put the kettle on!

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30 Responses to “5 Surprising Reasons I Fell in Love with Tea”

  1. Carrie Rubin March 2, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m a big fan of tea. I wasn’t always and I had to acquire a taste for it, but I knew I could no longer rely on diet soda for my caffeine. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I took up tea. Well, I still have some diet soda but less than I did before. I stick mostly to black tea. It has more caffeine and still lots of benefits. I’ll drink green tea on occasion, too. Wonderful post!

    • Main Street Musings Blog March 3, 2015 at 9:40 am #

      I like black tea as well, Carrie. I recently discovered that green tea is good as an ice cream flavor! 🙂

      • Carrie Rubin March 3, 2015 at 10:08 am #

        Ice cream? Did someone say ice cream?…

  2. nursemommylaughs March 2, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    I recently have starting drimking green tea for my brain health. I also add fresh ginger to it. I peel the root, slice it and freeze it. Then I can take out a piece to brew with my bag. Helps with pain and many other things

  3. Julie Weigley March 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    I always limited the amount of tea I drank because I thought it was dehydrating—but no more! Thanks for the info.

  4. funnysister March 3, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    I’ve been trying to persuade myself to kick the coffee (actually the chemical creamer is the issue) and switch to tea….you’ve convinced me to give it a try! I’ll raise my cup – and my pinkie, of course…to you!

  5. LuAnn March 4, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    I discovered a love for tea when a friend did a tea tasting at his home. He then introduced me to Upton teas and I was hooked.

    • Main Street Musings Blog March 5, 2015 at 10:20 am #

      Tea tasting! How lovely. Reminds me of wine tasting without the hangover!

      • LuAnn March 5, 2015 at 10:33 am #

        Much easier on the body! 😉

  6. Lou March 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

    Very enlightening Lisa. Always had an unrequited thing for tea. Waiting for the yummy to soak out of the bag was always a teaser for me but now my cup runneth over.

    My best,

  7. Britt Skrabanek March 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    I started getting into tea about five years ago and have explored so many types. I still have my morning coffee, but I drink 3-4 cups of tea every day. Can’t go to bed without my herbal goodness. 🙂

  8. LB March 8, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    Lovely post. I’m a hot coffee drinker and a cold tea drinker and I love the ritual of both

  9. earthriderjudyberman March 10, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    Lisa … I love a soothing cup of green tea or Sleepy Time which has chamomile (Celestial Seasonings) – with honey. I’ll have to see if I can find Vanilla Coconut White Tea — sounds relaxing. Any particular brand you favor? Tea is my preferred evening drink. I’ve even had it at 2 a.m. when I couldn’t sleep. 😉

    • Main Street Musings Blog March 11, 2015 at 10:04 am #

      Tea is so soothing, isn’t it, Judy? My new favorite is Twinings Chai tea–the perfect combo of real and herbal tea– black tea with earthy spices!

  10. chaniemom March 13, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    After having lived in Japan, I can’t get by, any longer, without drinking real tea. My favorite is “genmai-cha” (roasted brown rice green tea), found at most Asian markets. I also love iced “mugi-cha” (barley tea), with no caffeine and I also like the Green Tea by the Japanese company Ito-en, but sold through Costco. My daughter and I like to have tea times to break up her homeschooling time. We enjoy our tea with things like rice crackers, clementines and Korean seaweed, which you can also now buy at Costco.

    • Main Street Musings Blog March 14, 2015 at 9:18 am #

      Thanks for your comment, and for your tea tips!
      p.s. I love dried seaweed. I eat it like potato chips!

  11. Professor Taboo March 15, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Yes! Tea please! 😀

    Delicious post Lisa…and my favorite two hot teas — and it’s hard to choose just one — are Cinnamon Apple Spice and Raspberry Zinger, both sweetened with natural honey! I’m on the fruity side, imagine that. LOL

  12. reocochran April 7, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    This was a lovely post about the positive reasons to enjoy and savor a cup of hot tea. I enjoyed reading about your trip to Peru with your daughter, too. The fields sounded not so pleasant with mosquitoes and pointy leaves, but I am sure it was a wonderful learning experience.
    When I was pregnant, I used to drink a lot of herbal teas. I learned I liked (since I didn’t want to caffeinate the baby) to enjoy something called, “Morning Thunder.” It has the effect of chicory which may or may not be caffeinated. My oldest daughter when she got pregnant liked something that sounds like Bengal Tiger, but not remembering the exact name. It had cinnamon and a great ‘punch’ to the tea. I think your coconut vanilla combination does sound delicious. I am more of a coffee person since I am not likely to be having any more babies, ha ha!

    • Main Street Musings Blog April 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

      Ordinarily Bengal Tiger is something I’d avoid — unless it’s related to tea! LOL Thanks for your lovely comment.

  13. lollygaggerly June 24, 2015 at 6:42 am #

    Reblogged this on LOLLYGAGGER.

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