Finding ways to reduce stress can be
difficult if you have little time to relax. Luckily, there’s an answer to unwinding right in our midst and you can find it, hot or iced, at any of Orlando’s eclectic teahouses.
For centuries, tea has been regarded as an ingredient to health and happiness by Eastern cultures, and more Americans have recently become interested in its benefits. Tea is a valid source of caffeine, and, unlike coffee, has been proven to reduce stress levels in the body while maintaining physical and mental health.
Christina Cowherd, owner of Infusion Tea in College Park, believes that the tradition of brewing the tea is a big part of why it has calming effects on the body.
“It’s important to me to intentionally wait for the water to boil and to measure loose-leaf tea instead of using a tea bag to control the amount,” she says. “I love watching the leaves open. The ritual itself is soothing.”
Green, chamomile, mint and ginseng teas are herbal options with a lower amount of caffeine that are good for nighttime consumption. They also effectively reduce high levels of cortisol, a natural hormone that the body releases when it’s stressed and causes a spike in blood pressure.
Along with their stress-reducing benefits, many teas are full of antioxidants, which help the body’s ability to fight infection and illness.
“We have a lot of people struggling through chemotherapy who come in and ask for certain blends of green and white teas,” says Cowherd. “Those are certainly the healthiest in terms of having the most antioxidants and being the least processed. Green tea is also a great protectant against skin cancer.”
Another plus: drinking loose-leaf tea is more eco-friendly than drinking coffee. It doesn’t come pre-bagged; instead, it can be measured into an infuser or tea ball, depending on your personal preference. While a coffee filter can only be used once, white, green and oolong tea leaves can be used a second, or even third, time.
“Oolong has a very unique flavor, and you can get three good cups out of it and each cup actually gets more complex,” says Cowherd. “Instead of losing flavor it only gets more interesting, and it’s definitely less wasteful.”
So don’t stress any longer. It’s time to go green. Tea, that is.
Loose-leaf Tea vs Tea bags
Though tea bags are convenient, there are many benefits to using loose-leaf teas:
Loose-leaf teas have higher flavor profiles and allow water to extract more vitamins and minerals, while infusion is limited by pre-bagged tea.
If you easily get the jitters, carefully pre-washing the tea leaves can remove up to 70 percent of the caffeine—an option you don’t have with tea bags.
Most loose-leaf teas can be re-used at least once, which is good for the environment (and your wallet).