Nothing beats a good cup of tea, especially when it’s one that makes your hangover or heartburn better. Nutritionist Rick Hay chooses the best teas for your health
You know how much we love our tea here at Healthista HQ. It’s delicious and soothing, and from green tea to darjeeling, we’re hooked (our current obsessions include Heath and Heather’s Green tea with Coconut which makes green tea actually palatable and Clearspring’s Organic Genmaicha Brown Rice Green Tea which tastes and smells like popcorn but is incredibly good for you) . Tea doesn’t have to just be a tasty treat though, it can help soothe ailments from hangovers to heartburn, colds to sleep. A tea-prescription if you will, which we have put together, with the help of Healthista Nutrition Director Rick Hay.
Best for hangovers: Teapigs Liquorice & Mint tea
This delicious tea will have you dreaming of your childhood sweet shop with its distinct flavour. But it will also give you a natural energy boost, if you’re feeling sluggish after a heavy night. Hay says: ‘liquorice calms down the adrenal system’. The adrenal system is responsible for the release of stress hormones in the body. So if you are feeling a little anxious about the previous night’s events (we’ve all been there) this tea will calm you down and make you feel less stressed.
Best for heartburn: Dr Stuart’s Loose Peppermint tea
A soothing mint tea will help calm and settle the tummy, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Hay points out that ‘often heartburn is inflammation’, and a mint tea will ‘calm down the mucus membranes’ to aid inflammation. ‘What psoriasis and eczema are doing on the outside is what heartburn is doing on the inside,’ says Hay.
Best for wind and bloating: Heath and Heather Organic Green Tea & Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is not only good for cuts and scrapes taken topically, taken internally it also aids digestion. This can ease bloating, as Hay says, ‘Aloe soothes the tummy and calms wind down and helps settle digestive discomfort and may also assist with stomach distention [bloating]’.
Best for sleep: Indigo Herbs Lemon Balm Loose Herbal Tea
If you’ve ever been struggling to fall asleep because your mind is racing going over the stresses of the day it can become a vicious cycle. You can’t sleep because you’re stressed, but you’re stressed because you can’t sleep. A gentle lemon balm tea an hour before bed can really relax you, and help send you drifting off peacefully. ‘Belonging to a group of herbs called carminatives, lemon balm can take the edge off when you’re mind is racing’.
Best for colds: Taka Turmeric Golden Ginger tea
Ginger tea has a long history of being used to treat a range of illnesses, including colds and flu. ‘Ginger is anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial,’ says Hay, so it works as a three-pronged attack against your cold and flu. On top of that, ‘it’s an immune system tonic’ so it helps you fight the cold. Hay suggests adding a little Manuka honey to your ginger tea. ‘Manuka honey has strong antibacterial properties that can help soothe colds, flus and any sort of bacterial infection. Look for a high UMF factor of at least 10 and use it sparingly as it isn’t cheap’.
Best to optimise fat: Clearspring Matcha Green tea
With all the extra calories piling up from party food, alcohol, and Christmas chocolate, we really want to optimise our workouts so we don’t get too off track during the Christmas period. The best tea to help you burn the most fat during your workouts is Matcha green tea. Matcha green tea is around ten times stronger than standard green tea, and is packed with nutritional benefits proven to help metabolism. Matcha is well known for containing catechins, a group of chemicals that help with anti-oxidant levels and fat-burning, Hay explains. Matcha tea allows you to burn more calories during exercise so you can make your workouts the most efficient they can be. If you don’t like the distinct Matcha taste, try Daylesford Organic Genmaicha tea, which has a gorgeous popcorn-y taste.
Best for ageing: Whittard’s Very Berry Crush tea
Now a tea is not going turn back the hands of time, but a berry tea is the best shot you’ve got. Berries, red and purple in colour, help telomeres within the cells. Hay asserts ‘telomeres are the ends of cells that as you get older, genetically get shorter. Purple and red berries can help keep these telomeres longer’. This can assist with slowing the ageing process, and keep your skin youthful and glowy. Berries also ‘work on the Sirt 1 genes, which is the gene for longevity’ says Hay. Berries are some of the best anti-ageing ingredients out there, and delicious too.
Best for acne-prone skin: Clipper Green Tea with Lemon
Lemon tea has bitter properties, but is also really soothing on the system. Contrary to the general assumption that lemon is acidic and is harsh on the body, Hay assures us that it is actually very calming. The bitter quality of this tea will have anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe acne. The lemon will also aid digestion. Hay explains, ‘sometimes when the liver and gallbladder aren’t working properly they use the skin as a method of elimination, which can cause acne’. By treating inflammation and the digestive system, a lemon tea is a well-rounded way to soothe acne. You can also make your own lemon and lime tea, by juicing half a lemon and lime and simply adding hot water. Drink daily for the best results.
Best for weight loss: Rio Amazon Yerba Mate tea
If you’re struggling to lose those last few pounds and its getting you down, try a Yerba Mate tea, which helps increase weight loss. Hay highlights the bitter properties of the tea which ‘work through the liver and gallbladder, with the gallbladder in particular when you kick it into action it metabolises fat and you lose weight better’. Be warned, this isn’t a quick fix, you will have to allow time for the tea to have an effect. Hay recommends having one cup a day for a few weeks to see the effects, build up to two cups a day if you feel you can but definitely start with one cup a day.