Anyone who knows me well knows that I love tea! Seriously, I drink about 3 cups of tea per day. I never get tired of it. Tea has several health benefits and has been my saving grace throughout the progression of my disease. When I studied abroad in Chile and my ulcerative colitis flared-up, one of the USAC staff who also has ulcerative colitis recommended I drink lots of chamomile tea and stay away from sugars. That was the best advice I could have received because it is something that I have continued to do to this day. Thanks, Paulina!
Studies have found that drinking tea regularly can help with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; encourage weight loss; lower cholesterol; and bring about mental alertness. There are also many different types of tea including green, black, oolong, and white. All of these teas derive from the Camellia sinensis plant commonly found in China and India which have unique antioxidants. Check out this article from WebMD to learn more about the different healing properties in each of these teas.
Since I cannot drink caffeine due to my disease, I always opt for decaffeinated tea options, like herbal teas. One of my absolute favorites is chamomile tea as I mentioned previously because I find it always settles my stomach. I specifically like to drink chamomile tea with or after my dinner so that the digestion process goes smoother. It really helps after a big meal, like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner! Chamomile is proven to prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve or kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells.
Another one of my favorite teas is sleepy time tea. I drink this every night about one hour before I go to bed and it helps me get a good night’s sleep. The main ingredients in sleepy time tea are chamomile, Tilia estrella and Valerian which is a sleep agent. It also contains spearmint, lemongrass and hawthorn. The brand I usually buy for this one is Celestial Seasonings. They even have sleepy time extra, so you get an even better night’s sleep!
One of my more recent afternoon favorites has been the Sweet Clementine Stress Support Tea from Yogi. This one has a touch of citrus in it which usually wakes me up from that afternoon slump. It also contains cinnamon bark, ginger root, and lemon balm leaf which helps in digestion, blood circulation and acts as a mild sedative to calm nerves. Yogi has some great tea options based on benefit if you are looking for something in particular. They even include cute motivational quotes on their tea bags. Today it was “We can always start again.”
Bottom line, tea has been a life-saver for me in helping my digestion and cope with stress. I have also found that my hands and feet tend to always be cold (not sure if this is linked to IBD), so a nice hot cup of tea always does the trick for me. I highly suggest looking into Yogi or Celestial Seasonings teas at your local grocery store and trying some that you think look good. If you want to be environmentally friendly, consider using loose-leaf tea or unbleached tea bags. These options benefit your body too because they have less toxins. I will talk in more detail about toxins in another blog post soon, hope you can join!
What are your favorite types of tea and how do they help you?