A lot of what I talk about on this blog has to do with the inward struggle people with chronic illness face in their day-to-day life. However, I also want to share with you practical tips for fighting illness and promoting health to whatever degree is possible. The best part is, most of these tips will be good for people who don’t suffer from illness as well! We can all benefit from making healthy choices when it comes to what we put in and on our bodies.
Today I wanted to share with you some of the research I’ve been doing on the benefits of drinking tea. You should know though, I love coffee, I mean really love coffee. To the point where it’s probably idolatrous. I definitely prefer coffee to tea, but at times I’ve notice that the caffeine wreaks havoc on my body’s stress response. Also, the acidity sometimes upsets my stomach. My fellow coffee drinkers will likely understand my heartbreak (sadly I’m not really even exaggerating) at the idea of reducing how much I drink! But I can’t keep living with the side effects all the time. So I need to start replacing at least some of it with tea!
Here are some of the health benefits of tea:
- Tea is high in antioxidants. Most of us know these are good, but we don’t know why! Antioxidants are substances that help keep oxidization (think rust on metal) from happening in the body. Antioxidants are believed to help guard against cancer and help the body burn fat, among other things.
- Tea is a natural anti-inflammatory. This is a big one for many chronic illnesses. You’ll often hear functional and holistic doctors say, “inflammation is the root of all disease.” This also means tea is helpful for settling an upset stomach, especially herbal teas like chamomile. I often have stomach problems and have used chamomile tea with some honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg with much success. Anything that can help deal with my body’s inflammation that causes/contributes to my Hashimoto’s is worth it in my book!
- Tea contains polyphenols. These are specific antioxidants that help keep the brain healthy. They are believed to even help protect against degenerative neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. They are involved in helping us remember, learn, and focus, so they are important to help with “brain fog” and to ward off mental deterioration associated with some chronic illnesses.
- Tea helps regulate blood sugar. This one is a big deal for me, as well as anyone dealing with Diabetes and other illnesses that disrupt our bodies’ ability to regulate blood sugar.
- Tea is caffeine free or lower in caffeine than coffee. Even caffeinated teas contain about 50% the caffeine of coffee. Not only that, but many tea drinkers I know swear that the caffeine in tea doesn’t affect them the same way as coffee (and I agree).
- Tea helps lower cortisol levels in the body. In case you don’t already know, cortisol is often called the body’s “stress hormone.” This hormone is released from the adrenal glands during stress (or after caffeine!). It is also part of the body’s way of controlling blood sugar, inflammation and more. However, too much cortisol can increase feelings of anxiety, give you a “jittery” feeling, and can tax your adrenals. In my case with Hashimoto’s my body struggles to manage blood sugar and cortisol, and goes into this “stress response” more often than is healthy. By avoiding coffee with excess caffeine and drinking tea instead, I’m hoping to find that my cortisol levels start to even out a bit.
These are some of the broader benefits, but if you have a chronic illness you can probably see from this list some of the specific benefits tea may have for you. I’m just starting out trying to drink tea regularly instead of some of the coffee I was drinking. I’m hoping to see at least a small improvement in my blood sugar and cortisol management, as well as stomach issues and brain fog. I’ll have to let you all know what I find out!
Are you a tea drinker? Have you seen any benefits from drinking tea? What are your favorite teas? Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message, I’d love suggestions as I start my journey as a tea drinker!