By Bayan Raji
Research has shown the effects of stress on the body, and most people can feel the toll it takes. A few quiet minutes with a cup of tea may help alleviate anxiety by creating an opportunity to relax and savor the moment.
Green tea has been part of Chinese healing traditions for thousands of years. Today, we know it contains the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is thought to provide a range of benefits from cognitive awareness to a calm state of mind.
Several recent studies have suggested regular consumption of tea might prevent certain types of cancer. None of these studies, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have been large enough to legitimize claims that drinking tea reduces the risk of cancer, and none have shown significant reduction in risk of cancer.
Pause for refreshment
Regardless of its health benefits, tea can serve many therapeutic purposes, according to Thia McKann, owner of The Path of Tea, a tea shop in Houston. McKann offers two classes a month at M. D. Anderson's Place ... of wellness to introduce the basics of tea, from how to brew it to its soothing properties.
"Tea contains many antioxidants and has wonderful calming effects," she says. "Making a cup of tea can be a way to honor someone as well."
"Every culture has a ritual or ceremony around tea that has been used for years to foster a sense of community. It's a way of bringing the whole world together, really. In the end, it's about having companionship and community, and learning to be a good guest and a good host."
Brew the perfect cup
All types of tea come from the same type of plant. The variety in flavor depends on when the tea is picked, and what soil and altitude it was grown in.
To make the consummate cup of tea, McKann offers these recommendations:
- Use filtered or spring water
- Heat water in a teapot or kettle on the stove, not in a microwave
- Remove the water from the heat when it produces tiny bubbles
- Don't bring the water to a rolling boil; the high temperature affects flavor
- Use organic teas because they're fresher and chemical free
- Brew loose tea leaves instead of tea bags for maximum flavor and benefits
- Add dried fruit or flower petals for a twist
- Mix teas to create unique flavors
- Brew white and green teas from two to three minutes
- Brew oolong, black and herbal teas four minutes
M. D. Anderson resources:
Place ... of wellness
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