'Diet' has become a word that reminds us of an expanding waistline and things we shouldn't be eating.
It would be nice to return to the less negative connotation of the word "Diet" when it was used to mean something akin to "Way of living life." In this more holistic sense, "Diet" extends beyond food and drink and includes a person's attitudes, thoughts, and behaviours. In its original sense "Diet" was never a question of what food and drink should I limit in life, but more positively "How can I live more healthily?"
Is Tea Healthy?
A healthy lifestyle includes a new way of looking at food and drink; not purely as 'calories' but as medicine. Hippocrates, the Greek founder of western medicine is cited as saying: "Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine by thy food".
The Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health was held on 19th September 2012 in Washington DC and reviewed findings published across the world on the positive effects of tea.
The findings showed that tea consumption could be associated with improvements in:
- Weight management
- Cancer prevention / protection
- Cognitive function
- Heart health
- Bone health
Taking the expanded meaning of the word 'diet', we should also consider our mental health; tea has long been known to contain a non-protein amino acid called L-theanine. For centuries, monks combined tea drinking with their meditation practices, and it has been shown that L-theanine is responsible for an increase in focus. The monks found that a combination of caffeine and L-theanine in tea gave them a greater level of alert concentration.
Meditation creates chemical reactions in the body and helps discipline our behaviours. It can become an integral part of a healthy diet, where tea also plays its role in improving our mindset.
Tea is also the best drink when exercising. Bodybuilding and weight training groups have been discussing the positive impact that green tea has on their workouts. While these benefits have not been fully substantiated, initial studies are suggesting that the catechins in green tea combined with exercise may help maintain exercise endurance as we age.
Whether making changes to the type and frequency of physical exercise we do, the type of food and drink we choose to consume, or our attitude to life in general, tea can play its part. Diet need not be negative, but a reminder that we have the opportunity to shape our thoughts and actions and improve our lives.
Takatoshi Murase, Satoshi Haramizu, Akira Shimotoyodome, Ichiro Tokimitsu, Tadashi Hase. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology Published 1 June 2006Vol. 290no. 6,R1550-R1556DOI:10.1152/ajpregu.00752.2005:
'Tea catechin ingestion combined with habitual exercise suppresses the ageing-associated decline in physical performance in senescence-accelerated mice.'
Takatoshi Murase, Satoshi Haramizu, Noriyasu Ota, Tadashi Hase. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative PhysiologyPublished 1 July 2008Vol. 295no. 1,R281-R289DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00880.2007