I love drinking coffee- cafe latte, cappuccino, ice coffee…I love the flavor. Nothing tastes like morning like a hot cup of coffee, you can’t beat that aroma and taste. Unfortunately coffee does not sit well with my stomach like it used to. So as my digestive tract continues to protest my love of coffee, I am always on the search for new beverages to try. I was born in England, and if you know any Brits we love our tea! Even as a child, I remember a comforting cup of tea. In the evening most nights, I drink a cup of hot black tea with a splash of milk and a spoonful of sugar.

A good friend of mine owns a local tea shop where she sells a variety of loose leaf teas, and through many visits, I have expanded my tea horizons, and learned that not only does tea taste delicious, and usually sit well in my stomach, but it also has various health benefits. I thought I would take some time and share what I have learned so far.

There are essentially 6 types of tea:

White Tea- essentially unprocessed; plucked and allowed to wither dry.

Green Tea- plucked, withered, and rolled- with light heat to prevent oxidation.

Oolong- processed longer, plucked, withered, rolled, and oxidized repeatedly to create a depth of flavor.

Black Tea- Processed the longest, allowed to oxidize longer.

Pu-erh- Made similarly to green tea but before the leaf is dried, it’s aged similarly to fermentation in alcohol.

Herbal- Not actually a type of tea, but steeping herbs creates a tea-like beverage, and since I drink these often, I thought I would include it.

There are many health benefits to drinking tea; and without trying to get too scientific in this post, I will summarize:

  • ·Tea contains various xanthines that work to stimulate the brain and relax the body. Caffeine is one of the most commonly known but xanthines in tea are metabolized at a slower rate, creating a milder effect with less of a crash afterward.
  • ·While tea still contains caffeine, is has 1/3-1/2 less than coffee per cup.
  • ·Tea also contains high quantities of polyphenols and flavonoids, known to eat away at free radicals (which damage our cells and cause disease). The content is highest in white and green teas because they are not oxidized.
  • White and Green Tea contains an amino acid only present in tea leaves that boosts alpha wave activity in the brain.
  • Tea has no calories. This changes a little if you have a blend that contains flowers, herbs, fruits, or sweeteners.
  • The freshest tea will have the most benefits- liquid concentrates tend to lose some of their polyphenols.
  • Tea alone is not a miracle drug but it can be used in combination with a healthy lifestyle to fight disease and improve health.

I asked my friend Caitlin who manages the loose-leaf tea shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for some recommendations of teas that would be good for digestion and inflammation. Here’s a recap of some of her suggestions.

Tea blends that contain the following herbs are great for gut health and digestion:

o   Ginger- calming to the digestive tract, is anti-nausea and anti-microbial for tummy bugs.

o   Turmeric- Relieves bloating, supports liver health, and also acts as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.

o   Fennel- relieves bloating, stimulates the liver, and improves the appetite.

o   Caraway- Eases stomach cramps, bloating, and nausea.

o   Cinnamon- stimulates the appetite and can help with stomach ulcers caused by H. Pylori

o   Peppermint- helps with stomach cramping and calms tissues.

o   Allspice- settles the gut and promotes digestive enzymes.

Tea blends that are great for combating inflammation contain:

o   Pu-erh- improves digestion, relieves constipation, and enhances the breakdown of fat.

o   Greek Mountain- mild pain relief and anti-inflammatory.

o   Turmeric- generalized anti-inflammatory.

My five favorite teas right now are:

·       Lemon Chiffon Roobios

·       Wild Cherry Black Tea

·       Apricot Peach Black Tea

·       Tangerine Ginger Tea

·       Peppermint Leaf Tea

I am one of those people that enjoys a hot cup of tea, even in the summer, but some people don’t like warm drinks when it’s hot out. There are plenty of teas that can be turned into iced tea and still provide you with a ton of health benefits. If you are new to tea, remember not all types are created equal. The flavors vary depending on the type of tea, the additives, the heat of the water used to steep, the temperature of the water, and the length of time steeped.

So if your gut is rebelling your choice of beverages lately, may give tea a try and see what you think.

If you want to learn more about tea, you can check out this website:

If you want to try the same loose leaf teas that I use, here’s a link to my friend’s shop, she can ship them to you:

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Charlotte Rensberger is a 37 year old ostomate from Michigan. Charlotte was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a teenager. She works as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, is married, and has 2 crazy children


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