By Hannah Schenker
Mums are quite often running on empty, and for many of us reaching for a strong cup of coffee has become second nature. We make our brew, set it aside while we race around after our kids, forget all about it and slurp it down cold, while we’re on the move. Mums also hear a lot about the importance of self-care, so how about taking another look at this coffee habit and consider whether it’s really nourishing you – on a physical, energetic and soul level. Today we’re talking TEA, and how it can be more than just a nice hot cuppa and actually benefit you in a variety of different ways.
Tea has been around for approximately 2,200 years (well, that’s the oldest tea that’s been found so far!), so it’s really not a new thing. Coffee has had a good long run in the limelight but lately there’s been a turning of the tide, as people wise up to the negative effects of coffee on their system, re-discover the wondrous world of tea and once again embrace the respite of the morning and afternoon tea ritual.
Caffeine in general
Caffeine in small doses is actually beneficial for the body, but as many of us know, as we down a second or third strong coffee for the day, we are not in it for the small doses, right? Mamas are tired to their bones, and coffee seems to be the only way to pick yourself up off the floor. This is because it blocks adenosine, a neurotransmitter responsible for signalling to your brain that it’s time to rest [source]. But caffeine also blocks your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, gets the adrenal glands going (adrenaline), and makes your liver work really hard [source].
Tea contains less caffeine per cup than coffee – but it still contains caffeine. Because you are steeping the actual tea leaf, you are also sipping on several compounds that make your body able to process the caffeine differently to coffee – more of a slow release than a quick jolt. Once you make the switch to tea, you might find, like I did, that your energy becomes a lot steadier, with less ups and downs and jitters, on a more even keel.
Tea also contains:
- Theophylline: relaxes smooth muscles, increases blood flow and is anti-inflammatory.
- Theobromine: a mild diuretic. It also helps relax your muscles and the nerves in the veins, so the blood flows easily.
- L-Theanine: an amino acid that reduces mental and physical stress.
Rather than taxing your system, tea contains high levels of antioxidants (hellooooo nice skin), and a range of vitamins and minerals – which actually have healing benefits for your body. By regularly drinking a range of different teas, you will be strengthening your immune system while nourishing your body with all of the different components that make up your tea.
Don’t stop there, why not skip the caffeine altogether?
If you are pregnant or a new mama – you want to skip the caffeine altogether (read more HERE). But there are some really amazing herbal teas out there that are packed full of flavour and loaded with healing properties.
You can look for teas that are blended with specific ailments or concerns in mind – from external cosmetics such as wrinkles, pigmentation, collagen production and UV damaged cell repair, to more serious ailments such as bloating, gastrointestinal concerns, burn-out and inflammation, right up to prevention of serious disorders and diseases such as chronic fatigue, heart disease, high cholesterol and blood pressure, liver and kidney function and many forms of cancer. Each ingredient carries with it healing properties for the body – it’s basically herbalism, right?
But just because it comes from nature, doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe to consume – pregnant and breastfeeding mamas need to watch out for a few potentially harmful ingredients (you can read a brief description of what to look out for HERE). If in doubt, talk to the manufacturer or check with your doctor or naturopath/herbalist. Herbs will affect a woman differently through each trimester when pregnant and again when breastfeeding, so before you buy any, check that it’s safe and in what quantities, for you to use.
See next page for the rest…