Tea for Stress: Caught up in Cortisol

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Tea has long been known as a sort of meditative drink.

Focus and attention span are very relevant topics in our currently busy days and lives; often we bustle about so much that we are doomed to forget the simple joys of just sitting and thinking, perhaps, yes indeed, with a cup of tea in hand. Tea is neither a boisterous nor abrasive drink, but instead is good at promoting alertness, a sense of calm and relaxation.

Perhaps we could stress a little less if we all took that ten minutes, every so often, to sit down, close our eyes, and drink up that warm, beautiful taste.

In any case, I’d like to take a moment to talk about a hormone called cortisol. As many of you may already know (especially those of you involved in sciences to do with the human brain and body, or who have suffered from an anxiety disorder), cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. Your body releases cortisol in stressful situations to help you deal with the problem; for instance, it will cause a function called gluconeogenesis, which increases your current blood sugar so that you have more energy to work with than in normal situations. It also gives you the typical “stressful” mental state.

However, our current lives are a breeding ground for cortisol, and as anyone with an anxiety disorder will tell you, too much stress is never any fun. Excess anxiety can both be caused by and result in cortisol release, and once in this state even small events can cause distress. Many Westerners who have no such disorder still present higher levels of stress than they should, simply because of the current complexity and speed of the western lifestyle.

Now, here’s something interesting; several studies have shown that tea, both green and black, can help reduce cortisol production in stressful situations. Although the affect is minimal, every bit of reduced cortisol production can benefit those that suffer from having too much of the hormone, and should be considered.

This affect, however, may not even be tea’s greatest asset towards stress reduction. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, tea is a meditative, zen-like drink. Meditation, or at the very least quiet reflection, has shown to be helpful in people suffering from anxiety, and tea is the perfect drink to promote both of these. The caffeine in tea helps keep the mind alert, while the action of drinking keeps you from annoying, distracting actions like fidgeting.

Maybe it’s time you sat down and took a step back from life?

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Dietition Advises on How to Transition from Coffee to Tea

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This blog post is in video-format, and you can watch it here: http://yourveryownrd.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/decreasing-caffeine-transitioning-from-coffee-to-tea/

At Australian Tea Masters, we of course support transitioning from coffee to tea for a variety of reasons, one of the most prominent ones being health. This wonderful girl can help make that transition a little bit easier for you.

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Tea and Teeth

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Tea is considered to be an all-around healthy, nutritious drink by many people. Of this, there is very little debate; it contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants, and has plenty of other health benefits associated, tested and proven to keep human beings healthy. So, it seems a little odd that one would talk about any health detractors.

However, that’s exactly what we’re going to do, because as it turns out, tannic acid can be a problem for your teeth.

Tannic acid, a type of tannin, does have some benefits towards consuming it. Studies are showing that it can help to resist tumours, it has had a positive effect among patients with haemorrhoids, and, among other things, contains a variety of antioxidants that are helpful to the human body. This is in fact only a very small list, and the actual list of both suspected (not yet fully tested) and actual (fully tested and approved) benefits is much longer. The long and short of it is, it’s good for you.

It might not necessarily be so good for your teeth, however. Dentists long ago noticed an association between tea drinking and stains on people’s teeth, which we now know to be caused due to the tannic acid that tea contains. One would think that black and oolong teas would be the sorts of drink to stain teeth rather than green and white teas, but it appears the latter two are not immune to this effect either. However, black and oolong teas will stain your teeth a lot more, mostly due to their colour.

Mostly tea will stain the enamel of your teeth – that is, the very surface of them. It will also stain plaque and tartar very quickly, and since tartar is both unsightly and difficult to remove unless you’re at a dentist, it makes it even more important to brush your teeth properly. However, with so many people enjoying tea and the health benefits associated with drinking it, it’s not exactly something you want to cut straight out of your diet just due to a bit of tooth decolouration.

So here’s what dentists recommend you do: right after finishing your tea, drink some water and swish it around your mouth. This helps get rid of any tannin still stuck in there. Then wait about an hour and brush your teeth, as apparently waiting for your saliva to naturally clean away some of the offending acids will cause less damage to your teeth than immediately brushing.

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