Aah! What's better than a nice hot cuppa on a cold winter's day? Tea is a fantastic beverage that warms icy fingers and toes while offering a host of health benefits.
If you think tea only came in a bottle or from one plant, think again. You can make a tea out of the leaves of many plants, but some remedy specific troubles. If you want to jumpstart the new year in the healthiest way possible, try one of these varieties tailored to your needs.
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1. Green Tea
Green tea and black tea come from the same plant — the difference is the maturity of the leaves. Both are rich in antioxidants, but the verdant variety has less caffeine. It has far less than a cup of coffee, so if you're trying to reduce caffeine intake overall, try alternating a cup of green tea with each mug of joe.
What is an antioxidant, and why are they so important? Oxidative stress refers to a disturbance in the balance between damaging free radicals and the substances that combat them. Free radical damage leads to cellular death and plays a role in the development of diseases. What elements fight free radicals? Antioxidants for the win!
Currently, tens of millions of Americans live with either diabetes or prediabetes. If you fall into the prediabetes camp, make cinnamon tea your new best friend in 2020. A recent meta-analysis of the efficacy of cinnamon in treating Type 2 diabetes found a clinically significant reduction in fasting blood sugar among those who used the herb. The powdered form of this tree bark proved the most effective, so consider adding a scoop to your other favorite tea recipes. You'll get a hint of sweetness and improve your glucose metabolism.
If you have chronic pain of any type, reach for turmeric. Better yet, make a chai-like tea blend by mixing the Indian herb with black pepper. This blend increases the absorption of turmeric by 2000% — you read that right! As if that wasn't enough pain-relieving loveliness, both substances contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Black pepper contains compounds similar to capsaicin, the stuff in pain-relieving creams. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that anecdotal evidence shows efficacy in treating anything from migraines to fibromyalgia to arthritis.
Many people today live with chronic stress. This tension doesn't only rob joy from the present moment — it can lead to disease and long-term suffering. Scientists find correlations between ongoing high-stress levels and the development of both heart disease and diabetes. For centuries, herbalists have turned to chamomile to help them relax. If you want to wind down before bedtime, mix a cup of chamomile and lavender herbal tea. You'll sleep like the proverbial baby.
Moringa comes from an African tree that resembles a giant horseradish. In recent years, the herb has gained a reputation as a weight-loss supplement, and some research supports its efficacy in regulating blood sugar. One thing is known — moringa is chock-full of vitamins and minerals your body needs. Try a cup in the morning and see if you experience the increased energy levels many users report.
Do you have hypertension or high blood pressure? If so, try adding lemongrass tea to your daily repertoire. Lemongrass contains high levels of potassium, a mineral that decreases your blood pressure. The herb also stimulates blood circulation, further boosting your cardiovascular health. Do you need one more reason? It lowers your cholesterol, too.
If you're female and have menstrual discomfort or are nearing menopause, try fennel tea in 2020. Fennel contains estrogen-like compounds that may help balance your hormones and alleviate symptoms like cramping and low energy. Are you welcoming a bundle of joy in the new year? If you're breastfeeding, drinking fennel tea can help stimulate your milk supply.
8. Uva Ursi
Women with menstrual discomfort often experience bloating, but other conditions cause this symptom, too. Consuming too much salt, for example, can lead to water retention. This tea made from the leaves of the bearberry plant contains the chemical arbutin. Arbutin helps promote healthy urinary tract functioning so that you can flush away the toxins causing the swelling.
Finally, if you ever experience tummy trouble, reach for a cup of peppermint or spearmint tea. These tasty blends help to soothe the muscles of your digestive tract to stop the anguish. These herbs work primarily on the intestines, although they relax the stomach muscles as well. Therefore, mint teas work best for disorders of the lower digestive tract. When the muscles of the stomach relax, acid can flood the esophagus, making gastric reflux worse. Ginger is a fabulous alternative if you do have this disorder.