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Raise a Cup to Stress Relief – A Cup of Tea!

cup of tea on a wooden table

It’s a well-known fact that tea, one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, has many health benefits. It has been used in Western medicine for thousands of years for anything from soothing an upset stomach to reducing your risk of heart attack or stroke. The health benefits of tea are undeniable, so let’s look at one benefit in particular…it’s ability to reduce stress.

Here at Brain Breather, we are all about reducing stress and keeping you sane, so let’s add tea to our stress relief tool belt.

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What Makes Tea Healthy?

Tea contains what are known as polyphenols. Polyphenols, found in plant-based foods, help combat cell damage and promote healthy cell behavior. One review noted that a diet rich in plant polyphenols can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and some neurodegenerative diseases. Another small study found that simply smelling green tea lowered subjective feelings of stress as well as stress levels in the brain.

Polyphenols, and by proxy tea, promote antioxidant production, cell apoptosis (when bad cells die), and reduce oxidative stress within the body. What all of this means is…start drinking more tea!

The Best of Tea

As I’ve mentioned, tea has a myriad of health benefits, so let’s take a look at which ones work best for what issue and how it will reduce your stress.

Upset Stomach

peppermint teaI don’t know about you, but when I’m nauseous, I’m super stressed out. To me, it’s one of the worst feelings and I stress about it for hours. How about you? Do you stress too? Well…

Stress no more! Grab some peppermint tea and get sippin’. Studies have shown that peppermint tea and peppermint extract are great for soothing an upset stomach. Peppermint tea can also reduce muscle cramping, which is a less-than-fun digestive issue.

This can also be quite helpful when it is your time of the month and you’re struggling to push through those awful cramps to get done what needs to be done.

Too Sleepy

Being tired is one of the worst, most frustrating feelings. That haze you feel like your walking through and that singular spot you’ve been staring at seem to taunt you. Getting the thousand and one things you need to get done feels almost impossible, which just adds insult to injury. So, to break free from the haze, grab a cup of your favorite black tea.

Black tea is created by fully fermenting the tea leaves before heating or drying. By allowing the leaves to fully ferment, tea curators are allowing the caffeine content to reach it’s full potential.

One 8-ounce cup of black tea provides anywhere from 60 to 90 milligrams of caffeine. While this is only about half the amount of caffeine found in a cup of coffee, tea is still the better option because it has the added health benefits that coffee lacks.

Not Sleepy Enough

chamomile teaLaying wide awake at night is just a recipe for disaster. You start to stress about the fact that you have to be up in x amount of hours, how tired you’re going to be, all the things you’re going to be too tired to do, and so much more.

To fix this problem, just add a cup of chamomile tea to your nighttime routine. It is thought that chamomile tea acts like a benzodiazapine, medication that reduces anxiety and induces sleep.

If this is true (studies are not conclusive), then chamomile tea is an excellent way to help you fall asleep faster and avoid laying awake all night worrying.

Related article: 10 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Need Energy? Can’t Have Caffeine?

If you’re like me, you’re tired all the time, but you can’t have caffeine to help ease the exhaustion. Fear not! There is a tea for you too.

Rooibos tea, also known as red tea, is brewed from a South African herb and is naturally caffeine-free. Little to no negative effects have been found from drinking rooibos tea.

The energy boost comes from its digestive benefits. Fixing digestive issues will always improve energy! Digestive burden puts a major burden on the rest of your body and mind.

By realigning your digestive system and boosting your energy, you’ll kill two stressors with one stone.

Stressed to the Max

While I am pointing out the stress relief abilities of all the teas listed, there is one that is best for specifically reducing stress. That type is lemon balm tea.

This tea is a part of the mint tea, which gives it a minty and slightly lemony taste to it. This herb has the ability to reduce cortisol levels in the blood. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone, so too much of it in the blood stream causes high levels of stress.

Anxious Beyond Belief

Passion flower tea is what you’re looking for when you’re feeling anxious. The flavone chrysin found in passion flower has anti-anxiety properties as well as sleep inducing properties.

Because of its sleep inducing properties, it should not be taken with sedatives, as it could interact unfavorably. Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid this tea.

Fighting a Cold

The common cold may not seem like a big deal and you can push through it, but it certainly makes life more difficult. It slows you down and wrecks your concentration. To combat this, pick up some echinacia tea.

Drink Your Tea!

If you’re lucky enough to be a superhuman that does not go through any of these issues, you should still drink tea. Like I said before, it has tons of health benefits that have all withstood the test of time.

If you’re not a superhuman, go out today and grab the tea that’s going to benefit you the most!

 

Taylor

12 Comments

  1. I bookmarked this for future reference, I had forgotten about Rooibos tea. I often drink Mate tea for energy. I also add life saving spices like ginger, turmeric and even black pepper. Tea is fantastic and should be consumed daily. Now for coffee, I’m no too sure. I find its taste too strong and overwhelming. However, with tea you can add your own flavors easily. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Lev, I agree. Coffee is too strong and bitter for me. I find myself adding all kinds of flavored creamers or way too much sugar, which both create an extremely unhealthy drink.

      Tea is much more versatile, allowing you to make it your own without losing any of the benefits. In fact, you often add benefit when you customize it, as you do when  you add in the life saving spices.

      I’m glad you found the article helpful and I hope you come back soon!

  2. I love tea so much! (Almost as much as coffee, but not quite. lol) I love that there are all different kinds and flavors. You mentioned using peppermint tea for an upset stomach. I have used this strategy quite often! What I also love doing is adding peppermint and ginger essential oils to the tea. It can be strong if you’re not used to it, so just use a little. But this usually totally wipes out any nausea. 

    I have never tried passion flower tea. Is this at all related to the passion fruit? If so, does it have a similar taste? (I love passion fruit!)  

    • Christina,

      I have never thought to add essential oils to my tea, but that is an excellent idea! I will have to give that a try the next time I find myself with an upset stomach.

      I’m no passion flower tea expert, but I do believe passion flowers create passion fruit; however, the tea does not taste like the fruit. It has a more grassy flavor to it. It is more earthy and spicy than it is fruity, which is interesting.

  3. You’ve laid out all the benefits of these different kinds of tea. Thanks!

    I’m not a tea drinker, but from time to time , I do , not because I feel I need it but because I just need to consume the tea bags that my husband and daughter buy, but never drinks after awhile.

    Reading your list, I’m inspired to try rooibos tea for energy because I always feel tired when I get home from work.

    The echinacia tea as well to fight colds, because it’s flu season these days.

    Marita

    • Marita,

      I completely understand what you mean. I have a cabinet full of tea that my family buys and never drinks!

      I wholeheartedly recommend rooibos tea. I love the flavor and the health benefits that come along with it. I have some stomach trouble, but since I started drinking the rooibos tea, I haven’t had any issues, and by fixing my stomach issues, I have increased my energy as well. I feel like a whole new person!

      Echinacea tea is fairly new to me, but one I now keep on hand as we are headed into cold and flu season. It’s important to have ever possible tool in your cold-fighting tool belt so you aren’t down and out for too long.

  4. I love green tea. Flavored teas give me a headache because of the smell (not always, but as a general rule). I also enjoy black tea from time to time, although green is my favorite.

    Do you know if drinking teas can help regulate blood sugar? If so, which types of tea? (I hope it’s green!) Certainly, lowering stress is a good thing for lowering my blood sugar numbers since stress seems to make them go higher.

    I’m curious about the red tea, rooibos? Is it a flavored tea or is it pretty bland like the green or black tea?

    Also, does the passion flower tea have a strong flavor and smell? I get a bit of anxiety from time to time and it would be nice to calm that down a bit. I am sure green tea does help me, though, too, as it relaxes me.

    • You’re in luck Karin! Green tea does in fact help regulate blood sugar. Green tea contains polysaccharides, which have the same blood sugar regulating abilities as insulin.

      Rooibos is by far my favorite tea. It has a light flavor that reminds me of winter. It’s a very warm and earthy flavor that people often pair with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.

      While the passion flower tea doesn’t have a really strong flavor, in my opinion, it does have a bit of a strong, sweet smell. If you have trouble with tea smells but you’re looking for a tea to help with anxiety, chamomile is your best bet. It is very mild in flavor and smell, and it is very relaxing. 

  5. Hi, how are you? I loved the article.

    In the past, I drank green tea, interspersed with black tea, every day, and I really felt incredible. I left that practice years ago and I think it’s time to go back to it.

    I did not know about peppermint tea for when you have a stomach ache, it’s something that happens to me very often, now I know how to solve it!

    Thanks, regards, Pao.

    • Hi Pao. I’m well thank you! 

      I definitely recommend going back to drinking tea everyday. There are so many different kinds with so many benefits that it could never be boring.

      I, too, have a lot of stomach trouble and I have found that peppermint tea is a lifesaver. I hope it is the same for you!

  6. I didn’t know about the benefits of Passion flower tea or lemon balm tea as far as reducing stress or anxiety levels. I have been really stressed as of late.

    Do most people who take anxiety medication get of the medication once they drink this kind of tea? Also, can these teas affect weight loss because of less stress levels?

    • These teas are definitely meant to supplement, rather than replace, anxiety medication. For some people, the tea is enough to take the edge off, but for those that require medication to manage their anxiety, this tea will not give them the same level of relief as their medication.

      Things like stress and exhaustion are big factors in weight gain, so it is possible that by relieving stress with these teas, you could see some weight loss benefits as well.

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