Tea: the Unsung Wonder Food

There are a lot of “wonder foods” out there, and there seems to be a new one touted each week.  I would like to propose adding tea to the list of foods that seem to do anything and everything. But, contrary to what you may think, I am not about to espouse the health benefits of tea and try to sell you the idea that tea will cure you of every ailment you can imagine. While I think there definitely are some health benefits to drinking tea regularly, I would like to propose the idea of tea as an emotionalwonder food. That is, tea as something that feeds the soul as well as the palate, and that can help balance emotions.

Tea as an emotional barometer: Goethe’s barometer from the 19th century looks suspiciously like a teapot. A coincidence? I think not.
Tea as an emotional barometer: Goethe’s barometer from the 19th century looks suspiciously like a teapot. A coincidence? I think not. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Tea is equally good at boosting me up or calming me down—and this is not just a question of caffeine content. If I am in need of an energy boost, obviously something with a bit of caffeine such as black tea can help. However, low-caffeine teas such as greens, whites, or even caffeine-free tisanes can also provide a boost because of their refreshing, hydrating qualities. At the same time, tea is really good at calming me down and refocusing my energy when I am a little stressed or high-strung. Even black teas accomplish this just because I have to sit down and take time out from the busy world to drink them (although admittedly I am not hypersensitive to caffeine).

I find that tea also rises to the occasion in terms of social energy. It is perfectly suited as a beverage that is wonderful to partake in with friends, bringing people together and facilitating connection. But it also meets my needs when I want to be alone…or when I don’t want to, but end up by myself anyway.

To my mind, this “wonder food” quality is more to do with tea’s ability to help me tune into myself than caffeine content, antioxidants, or any other scientific reality of the tea I am drinking. When all is said and done, I find that tea provides an emotional barometer of sorts, letting me check in with myself and helping me give myself what I need.

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