The Boston Tea Party was a little different from the one I had this afternoon with my Aunt. Tea Rooms celebrate a time long gone and tend to shy away from encouraging any hostility towards the British. As a matter of fact, English Breakfast tea remains one of the most popular black tea options on any tea menu, no matter where you are seeking your (insert overcompensating English accent here) “spot o’ tea”. These establishments are typically Victorian in nature and somewhat gaudy, but in a way that isn’t worthy of an eye roll, but instead a “This is adorable” response.
Tea really could have been an American thing too. We could have stopped work at 3pm in the afternoon and enjoyed a little tea time ourselves, had American Colonists remained satisfied with bowing down and paying taxes to British Royalty. Instead, we began to import coffee. In our American live to work society today, coffee time could be considered the mad rush to wait in line or drive-thru at a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts to get a cream and sugar coffee concoction and guzzle on the way to the office. Not quite a break at all, now is it?
Americans spend somewhere around 18 million dollars in coffee sales each year, as opposed to the approximately 7 million we spend on tea. We do enjoy our caffeine, but both of these also present health benefits if, like everything else, used in moderation.
The list of tea’s health benefits seem to grow regularly and include the following:
- Aid in a healthier immune system
- Fights free radicals with antioxidants
- Assists in fresher breath and cleaner teeth
- Calorie-free (until you add your sugar, cream and/or honey of course)
- Herbal varieties tout specific health benefits from stomach issues to lower cholesterol
- Example: peppermint tea for an upset stomach
- Less caffeine than coffee but its theanine increases mental alertness
- Flavonoids protect the heart and may reduce certain cancers
Coffee is not without its own health benefits, though the news makes it difficult to maintain a good read on whether or not it does more harm or good. Either way, this is what coffee is said to be responsible for the possible prevention of:
- Type 2 diabetes (Found in both regular and decaf varieties)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Certain Cancers
- Heart problems
- Liver disease
Whatever option you choose, recycle your Styrofoam cup and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy an elegant cup of something to warm yourself this winter. After all, the relaxation alone could lead to the biggest health benefit you could use right about now, mental stability.