Recent events have been unimaginably difficult. While we know we cannot forge world peace or health through tea, we do know that adding it to your daily rituals can help.
Tea is known for boosting immunity (which can’t hurt during a Covid-19 pandemic), and it’s also known for improving mood and cognition. Perhaps now, more than ever, tea can come to the rescue.
Which came first: the mood or the tea? Scientists are asking whether it’s tea compounds or the context of tea that makes us feel better.
A 2014 study revealed that green tea extracts (equivalent to 1-2 cups of green tea) increase connectivity in regions of the brain associated with working memory. Green tea can also reduce anxiety, and improve cognition and attention.
In fact, a 2018 study conducted in South Korea bolstered this research. Scientists discovered that South Koreans who regularly drink green tea are 21% less likely to develop depression over their lifetime.
But what about context? Can the ritual of drinking tea be enough to uplift your spirits? Some scientists would say “yes.”
Drinking tea naturally promotes a relaxation effect. From preparation to slow-sipping to social exchanges, tea requires amplified mindfulness. Participants must heat the water, steep tea, and take a few minutes out of their day to unwind. This ritual could be enough to curb the impact of daily stressors.
“[M]ost people thrive on rituals. It's a comforting thing,” says Gunter Kuhnle, an associate professor at the department of food and nutritional science at the University of Reading in the UK. “If there's anything wrong, here it's a cup of tea that's needed."
We know that tea’s context and chemical compounds are beneficial, but what about the ingredients we add to tea? Here’s a look at some foods that could give your body an immunity boost during these times.
There’s a good reason why this vitamin hogs all the spotlight. Just a quarter cup of lemon juice contains 31% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Further, vitamin C neutralizes free radicals, stimulates the production of white blood cells, and may protect the integrity of immune cells. It can also protect leukocytes, which produce antiviral substances.
Vitamin C is also linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. A 2015 study looked at more than 100,000 people and found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a 15% lower risk of developing heart disease. Those with the highest vitamin C levels in their plasma had even more reduced rates of heart disease.
Whether ingested in solid or powder form, mushrooms have been proven to reduce inflammation and boost T-cells (the cells in your body that fight off pathogens). You can enjoy mushrooms from your whole foods diet or add the mushroom powder to smoothies, salads, or even---you guessed it! ---your morning tea.
Like mushrooms, ginger is anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. Fresh ginger (not dried) is an effective treatment against a virus known to cause respiratory tract infections in children and adults.
Beyond chemical compounds, there’s a link between mood and immunity. Did you know that optimists tend to have a stronger immune system than pessimists?
A 2003 study examined 300 people, each being asked to rate their daily positive and negative emotions for three weeks. They were then exposed to a cold virus to see how they felt and who contracted the illness.
What the research revealed is that people who regularly felt positive emotions were half as likely to catch a cold than those who rarely felt positive emotions. So, if you want to boost your immunity, look for ways to boost your positive vibes.
Lemon and Black Pepper Tea Recipe
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp honey
Instructions: Place the pepper and turmeric in the cup, and pour over boiling water. Stir in the lemon juice and honey, and Enjoy!
What are you doing to uplift your spirits or boost your immune system? Share below! 👇👇👇👇