tea_01For an Occupational Therapist,  from my experience making a cup of tea is an activity that held dear in their hearts. It is used as a part of a functional assessment with clients as to weather they are able to carry out meal preparation, following a sequence task and as result begin to identify those where support may be required. So lets takes some time to consider the origins of this beverage. 

What is tea? A tasty hot beverage made by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water, the term also refers to the plant itself (Pearsall, 1999).

Tea originally came from East and South Asia. The first documented person to drink tea was in China in the 10th Century BC, it was quite popular with the Qin and Tang dynasties. We didn’t get to taste it until the 16th Century when China started trading with Europe (Pearsall, 1999).

Tea contains lots of minerals which are useful for our bodies such as Zinc, manganese also potassium, and can lessen the risk of heart disease and some cancers (http://www.bbc.co.uk, 2015)

All tea is good although, it has been said that green tea is particularly effective for a healthy heart. It contains lots of flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants these protect the cells in our bodies from free radicals that can cause cancer (http://www.greentearesource.com, 2015).

Although, in a study that reviewed 51 studies involving more than 1.6 million participants little evidence was found to support this, that drinking green tea protects against different types of cancer were weak and “highly contradictory” (Boehm, 2009).

Like coffee, tea contains caffeine; this is what gives you that lift when you drink it. This stimulates the heart and central nervous system, also increasing blood pressure. Although there no long term side effects, it’s good to enjoy tea, but don’t go overboard with it (http://www.nlm.nih.gov, 2015). Although, whilst tea is a stimulant, if you are already feeling stressed, this can increase it, so we need to be wary of the link between caffeine and anxiety (Janes, 2013).

Making a nice cup of piping hot tea, makes you feel relaxed and contented, but also the process of making it is just as good (http://www.bbc.co.uk, 2015).

In summary, tea is a beloved beverage with a long history within our society, it contains Zinc, manganese also potassium, and can lessen the risk of heart disease and some cancers, although evidence to support this appears open to debate. Despite this, tea is a drink that enhances our well-being through the activity of making it and drinking it.

Although there is coffee which can be just as nice, or even a pint of beer, is it important what the drink is. Or the activity itself of taking time to sit down, maybe socialise with friends, and use this as an opportunity de-stress, reflect upon the events in our lives, that maybe this might possibly be real important of tea, as those other beverages we enjoy.

Related post: how to make a cup of tea.

References

BBC. ‘Effects of Caffeine’ (accessed February, 2015) http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/nutrition/healthy_caff.shtml

Boehm, K. et al (2009) Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer. 8 JUL 2009 The Cochrane Library (accessed February, 2015) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005004.pub2/abstract

Green tea resource (accessed February, 2015) http://www.greentearesource.com/

Janes, H (2013) Caffeine and anxiety: 8 things you need to know (accessed February, 2015) http://www.stressbusting.co.uk/caffeine-and-anxiety/

Medicine plus (2015). ‘Caffeine’ (accessed February, 2015) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/caffeine.html

Pearsall, J. (1999) The Concise Oxford dictionary (10th edition) Oxford : Oxford University Press