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Every year, International Tea Day is observed on 21 May according to the United Nations (UN). The International Tea Day aims to raise awareness of the long history and the cultural and economic significance of tea around the world.
In some tea producing countries, such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda and Tanzania, International tea Day was observed on 15 December - a resolution that started in 2005.
On this International tea day 2020, let's explore the different ways through which you can improve your daily tea!
Having the same thing over and over again can bore anyone out. Your daily tea habit can become a victim of the palate boredom due to the bland and banal flavour of the tea. Worry not, by blending in some additives with your tea, you can not only improve its taste but also its health benefits. Research has pointed out the health benefits of drinking tea, with the very basic one is getting enough fluid into your system every day .
The content of antioxidants, vitamin A and K, antifungal and antibacterial properties make consumption of tea highly beneficial to your mental and physical health . Going beyond refreshment, tea can help you lose weight, reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, strengthen the bones and help boost your immune system. Below, we have provided a list of more than ten ingredients to help you find out the most suitable combination for you. So what are you waiting for?
1. Honey & Tea
Honey is one of the most commonly used ingredients with tea. The associated health benefits of honey have contributed towards it being the replacement of table sugar. Being a great source of carbohydrates, honey can sweeten your tea without affecting your glucose and insulin levels.
Honey tea can temporarily reduce flu and cold symptoms. As honey increases the blood flow in your body, it can help reduce the menstrual cramps too. Drinking hot tea with honey can help soothe laryngitis, as the incorporation of honey and tea will moisten and hydrate the vocal cords. The combination also helps in weight loss, cleanses the skin, eases inflammation, and is a good source of B-vitamins .
How much to add: In a cup of tea, you can add 1 to 2 tsp of honey. Make sure not to add honey to boiling water because it will destroy the nutritional value of honey.
2. Coconut Oil & Tea
Coconut oil has become a prominent ingredient in healthy diets. The high nutritional value of coconut oil is making rounds in the global health scenario, and it can be delineated as a recent health discovery. The unique combination of the fatty acids in coconut oil positively impacts your health, aiding in fat loss, improved cognitive function and helps to reduce the occurrence of seizures.
By incorporating coconut oil into your daily tea, you can avail the health benefits such as improved muscle function due to the naturally sterile electrolytes and pH levels . If you are looking forward to losing weight, the high fibre content in the oil can help as it restricts excessive food craving.
One of the other major benefits of coconut oil for pregnant women is the content of lauric acid which converts to monolaurin, responsible for strengthening the baby's immunity .
How much to add: Make sure to use skinny or virgin coconut oil. Mix a tsp of coconut oil in a cup of freshly made tea. Chill the tea (with coconut oil) if you prefer chilled coconut oil tea. If you find the taste to be unappetizing, add some honey.
3. Lavender Oil & Tea
One of the most widely used essential oils in the world, lavender oil is used for rheumatism and diseases related to the digestive system. Lavender oil has a plethora of health benefits to your mind and body such as reducing anxiety and emotional stress, protecting against diabetes symptoms, improving cognitive functions and sleep cycle, relieving pain and improving your skin quality. The antioxidant nature of lavender oil helps in increasing the activity of glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase, preventing oxidative stress .
Studies reveal the impact lavender oil has in protecting your body from symptoms of diabetes such as metabolic disorders, kidney and liver dysfunction (antioxidant depletion and lipoperoxidation) and weight gain . A European neurology study revealed the impact of lavender oil incorporation into your diet and the effect it has on relieving headaches. It is antifungal, detoxifies, improves respiratory health and treats insomnia .
How much to add: Add a few drops (3 to 4) of lavender oil into your warm tea. Mix well, add 1 tsp of honey for taste.
4. Cinnamon & Tea
Incorporating cinnamon into your tea not only adds a piquant aroma to it but also elevates its health benefits. The medicinal properties of cinnamon, incorporated with the herbal properties of your tea is extremely beneficial to your health. It promotes weight loss, enhances the immune system, relieves menstrual cramps, fights cancer, inflammation, common flu and chronic diseases. Antioxidants such as polyphenols in cinnamon help your body from oxidative damages .
The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon can help repair tissue damages and infections. The combination of tea and cinnamon can reduce the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, resulting in prominent attrition in the level of blood pressure . Well-known for its blood sugar-lowering property, cinnamon is beneficial for insulin resistance and treating any effects of diabetes.
How much to add: For one cup of tea, take a cinnamon stick and boil it in water for about 15-20 minutes. Pour the water in a cup. Allow the cinnamon stick to steep in the water for another 10 minutes and add the teabag. Remove the teabag and cinnamon after the desired time. You don't have to add sugar due to its naturally sweet flavour.
5. Ginger & Tea
The health benefits of ginger and its incorporation in your daily tea helps your body in absorbing the necessary nutrients, relieving stomach pain and irritable bowel syndrome, fights cancer, improves digestion, promotes weight loss, improves blood circulation and protects against Alzheimer's disease.
The presence of compounds such as hogaol, paradol and zingerone and especially gingerol help fight chronic inflammation which has been found to be the root cause of conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart diseases . Studies have pointed out the impact ginger has on preventing and treating diseases caused by the modulation of biological activities. Drinking ginger tea can help soothe the stomach, especially in pregnant women .
How much to add: For one cup of ginger tea, add 2 tsp of fresh ginger, grated into water and boil.
6. Lemon & Tea
The most relevant benefit of lemon is its cleansing and detoxifying property which helps in preventing infections and flu. It helps in removing the toxins from your blood, thus relieving stress and fatigue. Incorporation of lemon in tea has cardiovascular benefits due to the flavonoids that help in reducing lipids and blood clots in arteries.
The citric acid in lemon improves your digestive health and helps dissolve kidney stones. Likewise, the antioxidant properties of lemon and tea work together to prevent the damage of healthy cells and the growth of cancerous cells .
How much to add: For one cup of lemon tea, add the juice of one whole lemon into one cup of tea. Let it boil, add honey for taste.
7. Basil & Tea
Basil or holy basil is a prominent ingredient in the history of Indian medicine. Considered to be the ultimate answer for mind and body illness, basil leaves are high in nutritional value. Nicknamed as the "queen of herbs", basil is rich in vitamin A and C, calcium, iron, zinc and chlorophyll. The adaptogen nature of basil makes it a primary ingredient in stress and anxiety reduction, according to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine .
Being antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, anti-inflammatory, incorporation of basil in your daily diet can help fast healing of wounds. It helps in lowering your blood sugar, cholesterol, and improves the digestive system . Also, it helps treat depression, prevents kidney diseases and kidney stones.
How much to add: Basil tea can be made using the flowers, leaves or dried leaf powder. Place 2-3 tsp of basil leaves in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 5-6 minutes.
8. Cardamom & Tea
Intense yet sweet in flavour, cardamom encompasses a plethora of health benefits . The antioxidant, diuretic property of cardamom can have a significant impact in normalising the blood pressure. The presence of γ-Bisabolene, one of the main components in cardamom has been indicated to have a direct impact in preventing the multiplication of oral cancer cells. Likewise, the antioxidants present in cardamom is said to possess anti-inflammatory effects .
Consuming the extract of cardamom can help with digestive problems and heal ulcers. Though the studies are yet to be conducted on the human body, the lab studies and its results suggest that cardamom may prevent the ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Some of the most common benefits of incorporation of cardamom is that helps prevent cavities and bad breath .
How much to add: 1 tsp of cardamom powder or 1-2 cardamom pods for 1 cup of tea. Add the powder/pods into the boiling water and strain.
9. Mint & Tea
Widely known for its refreshing nature, mint leaves can aid in improving your digestive and immune system. The rosmarinic acid present in the leaves is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent which helps in relieving common cold and allergies .
According to the International Breastfeeding Journal, consuming mint can help prevent nipple pain and nipple cracks in first-time mothers. It is beneficial in the case of indigestion and gas as it pointed out to increase the bile secretion in your body, thereby easing up the digestion process. Consuming mint tea can help you get better sleep, lose weight in a healthy manner and promotes fresh breath. Along with these, mint tea is said to increase alertness, fight sinus problems and ease colic.
How much to add: Take a bunch of mint leaves, twist and tear it into small pieces and pour the boiled tea over the mint leaves. This helps in distributing and infusing the mint flavour.
10. Vanilla & Tea
Vanilla is highly benefiting to your skin and hair, mental health, weight loss, respiratory conditions, digestive system, and even has the potential to prevent the onset of cancer. In addition to being an inevitable part of the world of desserts, vanilla is encompassed of various health benefits.
Its incredible healing ability makes it a central ingredient in the treatment of chronic diseases. By optimizing your metabolism and digestive function, vanilla aids in weight loss due to its appetite-suppressing property. The antibacterial nature of vanilla helps prevent acne and can even reduce the scars by speeding up the healing process .
Particularly effective in the case of liver inflammation, consuming vanilla can help ease gout and arthritis. The high amount of antioxidants in vanilla possess healing properties, that help in preventing the unfavourable effects of free radicals such as chronic diseases and cancer .
How much to add: For one cup of vanilla tea, add ½ tsp of vanilla extract into your boiling tea.
11. Berries & Tea
The incorporation of berries in tea is popular, especially due to the low amount of caffeine. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, berry teas are of various types. Some of the common berry teas are red raspberry, acai berry, elderberry, cranberry, juniper berry, hawthorn berry, goji berry, and black currant tea.
On top of being extremely beneficial to your health, berry teas are a global favourite due to its deliciousness. Berry teas as a whole are encompassed of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. By boosting the energy levels, berry tea boosts your overall health .
The vitamin A content can have a positive impact on improving your vision. By enhancing the nutrient absorption in your body, berry teas help in removing the unwanted toxins. It helps prevent cancer and supports weight loss. The high content of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids and the fibres and proteins help in the reduction of the LDL cholesterol levels .
How much to add: Add 2 tsp of berry tea powder to a cup and pour boiling water in it.
12. Maple & Tea
Packed with rich antioxidant properties, maple is highly beneficial to your body. The presence of manganese in maple produces a component called superoxide dismutase, which acts in disarming the problem-causing free radicals . Maple has an ample amount of zinc, and the incorporation of it in your daily diet can help protect and prevent the onset of any cardiovascular diseases. The zinc component protects your body against the damages caused by excessive cholesterol.
One of the central health benefits of maple is the positive impact it has on male reproductive health. The prostate gland is benefited by the zinc by reducing the risk of health disorders such as prostate cancer.
How much to add: 1 tsp of maple syrup for one cup of tea.
13. Cayenne Pepper & Tea
Packed with a substance called capsaicin, cayenne pepper is extremely beneficial to your body. Studies reveal that the inclusion of cayenne pepper in your daily routine can aid in reducing inflammation, detoxification, as well as improve your overall (mental and physical) health .
Cayenne pepper can stimulate the stomach nerves, increasing the production of digestive fluids, helping the digestion process. Capsaicin has pain-relieving properties, it reduces the pain by reducing the amount of neuropeptide, substance P, which signals pain to the brain. It is also effective for joint and muscle pain, surgery and nerve-related pain and lower back pain .
How much to add: 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, with ½ lemon juice for 1 cup of tea.
14. Rooibos & Tea
Also known as the red bush tea or red tea, rooibos tea has become a favourite beverage around the globe. Rooibos by itself is consumed as a type of tea, without incorporating it with tea leaves. The lack of caffeine makes it a prominent component in healthy diets. The fermented leaves of rooibos are used for making tea, which contains a high amount of antioxidant, copper and fluoride .
It is an excellent alternative to the normal tea with caffeine, and the low level of tannins helps it get a permanent place in healthy diets. The absence of oxalic acids is also a positive, as it reduces the risk of kidney stones. The antioxidants such as aspalathin and quercetin protect the cells from being damaged by radicals and also promotes better heart health. Although there is no definite proof, the antioxidants quercetin and luteolin may reduce the risks of cancer .
How much to add: Add 1-2 tsp of rooibos tea powder into boiling water and brew for 2-4 minutes, for 1 cup of tea.
15. Butter & Tea
Commonly termed as Po Cha, butter tea is a powerhouse of health benefits. The combination of butter and tea has amazing health benefits such as increased energy levels, maintenance of body temperature, promotion of digestion and suppression of appetite, improved cognitive function and heart health and prevention of dehydration.
Butter tea is a quick remedy for altitude sickness, as it fights the effects of dizziness and nausea. Along with these properties, it also helps boost your immunity and controls diabetes .
How much to add: 2 tsp of tea powder, 2 tsp of salted butter (yak butter is preferable), ½ tsp of salt and ½ cup of milk.
16. Jaggery & Tea
Made from boiling unrefined sugar, jaggery has various health benefits accorded to it. Consumption of jaggery can activate the digestive enzymes in your body, helping with smooth bowel movement and preventing constipation. The content of iron in the non-centrifugal sugar helps prevent anaemia, even though the contribution of iron is only 2.2 mg. It also contributes to liver detoxification and improved immune function . These facts are not supported by strong scientific evidence.
How much to add: Add 2 tsp of powdered jaggery and a small piece of ginger for to one cup of tea.
On A Final Note...
With hundreds and thousands of healthy foods around us, it can be quite confusing to choose the right one. In the same line, when we chose the right ones, quantity and recommended intake become a primary factor.
Just because something can help improve your health, consuming it in large quantities will never help but only impacts your health adversely. Don't forget - moderation is key!