by Sheryl Ebon
It’s January and the successive parties and banquets during the holiday must be making you think if that lechon skin was worth it or how long that delectable chocolate cake is going to stay in your hips, not to mention the alcohol and the calories it contributed to your midsection. Around this time, we’ve already gotten the New Year’s resolution in order and I bet one of the items on the list is enrolling yourself in the gym or starting a new exercise or diet regimen. I know. I have been in your shoes and it was a real struggle. For many of us, how many years have we put that resolution on the list and never saw it through? Eventually, I stopped including it in my NYR list and though I have stuck to Yoga as my occassional go-to ‘exercise’, I discovered something else.
Exactly four years ago, I stumbled into an accidental regimen. I received a pack of loose tea leaves the previous Christmas and I thought I’d make a pot and bring it to the office. That decision turned out to be a serendipitous one as the tea-making task turned out to be a process of self re-discovery, essentially a return to myself. I was then a working mom, juggling work and home and parenthood every day. Indeed, it was easy to forget who we were before we became a mom or wife. After a baby is born, our focus and attention are always turned outwardly- to the husband, the children, the household, the job. “We” are no longer there. Our thoughts fly to the thousand and one things we need to do every moment of every day.
But as I discovered, the act of brewing and steeping tea draws one into the present, becoming mindful of every step along the way, effectively de-cluttering your mind of your worries, stressors, and even pain. Even for just 10 minutes every day.
It then became a daily habit for me and nine months later, I quit my job and built the first online tea shop in the country with my own tea brand. I delved deeper into the study of the leaf and the health benefits it purported to have. In a way it wasn’t suprising as I learned that before tea was elevated as a daily tonic, it was first used as medicine to treat common ills like fever, malaise, flu and even as antidote to poison from animal bites for at least 2,000 years.
Recent scientific though proved more promising findings, and I quote:
1Encouraging data showing cancer-preventive effects of green tea from cell-culture, animal and human studies have emerged. Evidence is accumulating that black tea may have similar beneficial effects. Tea consumption has also been shown to be useful for prevention of many debilitating human diseases that include maintenance of cardiovascular and metabolic health. Various studies suggest that polyphenolic compounds present in green and black tea are associated with beneficial effects in prevention of cardiovascular diseases, particularly of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. In addition, anti-aging, antidiabetic and many other health beneficial effects associated with tea consumption are described. Evidence is accumulating that catechins and theaflavins, which are the main polyphenolic compounds of green and black tea, respectively, are responsible for most of the physiological effects of tea. This article describes the evidences from clinical and epidemiological studies in the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases and general health promotion associated with tea consumption. -Tea and Health: Studies in Humans
In addition, only tea possesses the unique chemical combination of having caffeine/theine and L-theanine, an amino acid that counters the negative effect of caffeine e.g. palpitations, insomnia, restlessness etc. Buddhist monks have been drinking tea since before the 9th century as the caffeine/theine keeps them awake while L-theanine helps them focus during meditation that the phrase ‘alert relaxation’ was later coined.
Tea has been consumed for thousands of years and up to this day, it continues to be a potent supplement to humanity’s quest for wellness- physically, emotionally, psychologically, and mentally. I sure am grateful to discover what it has to offer and I make it my mission to share the benefits to others.