It’s time to put the kettle on. Healthista speaks to Pukka’s head of nutrition Joanna Webber to find out how drinking herbal tea can benefit our health
Exercise and a healthy, nutritious diet are two important players in the quest to stay fit.
However, there could be another helpful addition to your day to day life and it’s as easy as putting the kettle on – herbal tea.
Head of Nutrition at Pukka Joanna Webber explains that plant-based herbal teas, which have been popular for thousands of years across the world, ‘contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which have shown to provide many short and long-term health benefits’.
The benefits range from treating a cold and relieving stress, to supporting the body’s inflammatory response.
Plus, they can also ‘help support digestion and cleansing; key functions to help with bloating and support weight loss’, says Webber.
And no, we’re not talking about the heavily criticised laxative teas.
It’s time to delve a little deeper into the connection between drinking herbal tea and how it can benefit your health.
Reason #1 Aids digestion
It might not always be fat that you’re carrying around your middle. Instead, you may be bloated.
This could be down to hormones, a sensitivity to certain foods or a sluggish digestive system – to name a few reasons.
Webber recommends teas that contain herbs such as mint, fennel and aniseed as these are soothing and calming for the digestion tract, helping to reduce the discomfort caused by bloating and wind.
chamomile, also known as ‘mother of the gut’
‘Ginger is another great choice as it can activate digestive enzymes, which enable us to digest and absorb food better. Ginger has also been traditionally used to help with bloating caused by a sluggish digestive system,’ reveals Webber.
Spices such as coriander, celery and turmeric also help the body to remove excess fluid so you feel lighter.
Finally, chamomile, also known as ‘mother of the gut’ in many cultures, and for good reason. ‘It helps with digestive spasms and bloating and is especially useful in stress related digestive issues,’ adds Webber.
Reason #2 Supports your metabolism
Your metabolism – the chemical reactions in the body that turn food into energy – could be boosted by green and matcha tea.
Webber explains that green tea ‘boosts natural processes within our digestive tract and cardiovascular system that can help boost thermogenesis, also known as fat burning’.
How so? Well, it’s all down to green tea and matcha’s high antioxidant levels.
green tea boosts natural processes within our digestive tract
Webber says that green tea and matcha also contain various compounds that are associated with improving cardiovascular and heart health in addition to reducing stress and increasing alertness.
If you do opt for a mug of matcha, aim to drink it 30 minutes before a large meal, or first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
‘This way, it gets absorbed by the body better,’ adds Webber.
Reason #3 Relieves stress
Worryingly, stress hormones actually impact bloating and stress belly – that’s fat around the middle.
‘Prolonged stress affects our mental and physical health and can even lead to a little extra tummy fat,’ explains Webber.
The stress hormone cortisol helps control blood sugar and metabolism, among other things and along with other hormones such as adrenaline, is part of your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response.
Try a calming herbal tea with chamomile flowers to help relieve tension
‘When faced with a crisis, this stress response slows unnecessary body functions so you can focus. Once the threat passes, everything goes back to normal,’ Webber explains.
‘However, prolonged stress can keep stress hormones levels elevated, along with your blood pressure and blood sugars. This can then promote the build up of belly fat’.
Try a calming herbal tea with chamomile flowers to help relieve stress, tension, reduce abdominal bloating and create a sense of calm and relaxation.
Reason #4 Improves your sleep
Have you found yourself struggling to fall asleep due to a racing mind that’s stressing over the day’s events?
Unfortunately this can become a vicious cycle. You can’t sleep because you’re stressed, but you’re also stressed because you can’t sleep.
lavender tea is popular when trying to lower stress and anxiety
Brewing lavender tea is popular when trying to lower stress and anxiety levels but is particularly beneficial to those who suffer from insomnia or sleep apnea.
Due to the flower’s calming impact on the nervous system lavender has been used to induce sleep and relaxation for thousands of years.
Reason #5 Beat cravings
Had enough of these pesky 3pm sugar cravings that lead to a drop on energy later in the day?
Webber says herbal tea can help, in particular liquorice, ‘It contains glycyrrhizic acid, which is fifty times sweeter than sugar without the calorific value.’
So next time you’re thinking of dipping your hand into the biscuit tin, have a warming mug of tea made with liquorice and cinnamon instead.
It’s perfect for a sweet tooth as not only does it contain liquorice but also cinnamon, which is known to help balance blood sugar levels in the body.