Why is tea good for us? Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world with around 3,000,000 tons being consumed each year. But do you know how humans started to drink tea and why we continue to do so? It’s not just for the taste, turns out this ancient drink gives us so much more than a flavourful reason to keep brewing it.
The first cup of tea and more
The first records of tea describe it as a medicinal drink and date back to the first millennia BC. There were archeological remains of tea found in graves dating back to the Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC to 220 AD. But even before that, tea was the drink of the people and of myth.
The first cup of tea
A Chinese legend tells the story of the discovery of tea as a happy accident. The Chinese emperor Shennong, who ruled in 2737 BC, liked to boil his water before drinking it. One day, a wild leaf floated down into the boiling water, the servant pouring the water did not notice and served it to the emperor with the leaves’ tastes in it. The emperor found the drink refreshing and so tea came to exist.
A fitting and simple story for such a gentle but powerful drink.
How did tea become popular worldwide?
During the 16th century, Portuguese people living in the east began drinking tea as they came into contact with the tradition. However, it was the Dutch who first traded and consumed it as an import, as they started to move into the Portuguese trading routes.
The biggest boost for tea in Europe actually came through marriage. When Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess who was quite fond of tea. Her acceptance of the drink made it popular across the British Isles, now famous for their tea traditions. After the embrace in Britain, tea made a sure advance on other European countries and then the world.
Now tea is a staple of many cultures across the world, with each one having a different tradition with the beloved beverage.
How do different cultures drink tea?
- Argentinians like to drink Yerba mate, a super vitamin-packed green tea, which is an everyday routine for most of the country.
- In the UK tea is drunk any time of the day, beloved and a point of pride for many who can make a good cup.
- In the US, 80% of tea is drunk cold and sweetened.
- If you want butter with your tea go to Tibet, where you can drink po cha, an incredibly strong black tea mixed with salt and yak butter.
- Moroccans like their mint tea as a social experience, it’s almost required upon visiting any home.
This drink has adapted to belong in most countries in the world, changing names, leaves, and tastes.
Why is tea good for us?
Tea is not only a comforting food or a part of social practices, it is also a healthy addition to our diets and a beverage packed full of benefits. After reading this list you’ll be wanting to brew up your own cup of organic tea.
Most tea, not including herbal tea, has a lower caffeine concentration than coffee. Making a great option for those that want to drink a caffeinated cup but want to lower the concentration.
Good for the brain
A study found that regular tea consumption could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The research found that the cognitive abilities of tea drinks were stronger in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It was also shown to improve memory and attention spans.
Power your metabolism
Tea has a component called polyphenols that can cause an increase in burning calories. Another thing tea does is that it boosts one type of fat, called brown fat. This kind of fat is different in that it burns more calories than other fats and boosts your metabolism.
Good for gut health
Componentes in tea help promote healthier guts. Boosting the production of beneficial gut bacteria that can lower blood sugar and help in weight loss.
A powerful anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases so any natural combatant to it is good news for us. Tea is a powerful source of anti-inflammatory since it’s full of polyphenols, which is also antioxidant. It can help fight off inflammatory problems caused by diabetes, bowel problems, and even cognitive decline caused by inflammation of the brain.
A message for tea lovers
If you want to enjoy a good cup of tea please support local tea shops, where tea culture thrives and grows. Like at Univers du Thé.