Me & Tea. (BFF)
Hello team, from a very hot and sticky London. I love the heat, but I love it mostly in countries that are geared up for it. Countries with air conditioning. You know, small stuff.
But I am not complaining. I really am not. If I was going to pick a Summer to begin life as a new mum, it would be this one. I, along with my new found NCT chums, can’t quite believe our luck. We’ve been hitting all our favourite local haunts, sipping iced this and that and revelling in the balmy shade with our sleeping babies (HA HA HA HA HA HA).
As much as I love sipping iced lemonade, there is still something special about sitting down in the evening and having a cup of tea, and not just because it’s familiar, comforting and because my grandma told me “it will cool you down” (really?) but because there is actual hard evidence that black tea is exceptionally good for new mums to drink.
And not only new mums, but kiddos too. Not teenyweenies, but small children. In the Forties and Fifties, it was actually commonplace for children to drink tea, but since the shift away from this towards sugary drinks, dental decay is on the rise and record numbers of children are now having surgery to remove rotten teeth!
But back to new mums – an entire demographic of women whose bodies have been through the wringer, whose emotions and hormones have gone haywire, whose teeth are weaker than ever (yes, that’s a thing) and who are more prone than ever to experiencing some kind of anxiety or depression. Fabulous.
As many of you will know if you follow me on instagram, I did not have an easy start with Isabelle. She was quite an unwell baby with severe acid reflux, which I will be writing about separately very soon. All is well now, but it was definitely a tough struggle to get to where we are now, which is with the right medication, the right formula and a paediatrician who really knows his stuff.
During the first weeks of (and I don’t use this word lightly) trauma, tea was often my go to comfort. Be it in the middle of the night, after rocking Izzy for hours, or at any point in the day when I happened to have my arms free. (Not a frequent event…)
At times, I felt very low indeed. That kind of low which meant I found myself crying in the kitchen because we’d run out of butter. Or for no reason at all. I definitely could feel myself hovering around the edges of some kind of deeper low that I’d not experienced before, and perhaps what I was experiencing was somewhere within the spectrum of PND, or perhaps I was just battling with a bazillion emotions and hormones I’d not experienced before… but whatever it was, tea helped. A cuppa. Putting the kettle on. Having someone make me a brew…
This may have been because it’s one of my (and many Briton’s) favourite comforts, BUT in addition to this, long-term tea consumption isactually linked with reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms, especially amongst the elderly. There was a study done involving 614 people over the age of 60. About 59% of the people had drunk tea over 15 years and it turned out that long term tea consumption was associated with reduced risk of depression and anxiety… crackajack.
Also, the caffeine in tea helps to improve memory, alertness and mood… and combat fatigue. Basically, everything I needed (and still need) as a new mum. A number of studies have shown it can improve physical performance too. Too much caffeine can almost have the opposite effect, but have no fear – tea has half the caffeine of coffee – less than 50mg per mug – and more importantly it has other active ingredients such as L-theanine which blunt the stimulation of caffeine and introduce feelings of calm concentration.
So essentially, tea is the magic potion we all need.
Our longest serving prime minister, William Gladstone, was convinced tea was the ultimate cure-all, and wrote: “If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”
And the more I learn about the wonder that is tea, the more true his words seem.
Dr Tim Bond from TAP says: “We all instinctively know that tea is good for us, simply because it gives us such a lift. But as scientists continue to explore the different actions and interactions of its chemical components we are beginning to unravel the secrets behind its proven benefits.”
So there you have it.
Isabelle’s now fast asleep in her cot, and I’m sitting here watching her in the monitor and a cuppa with a splash of milk.
I’m taking a breath. Finding time to exhale.
Go on – put the kettle on.
This post is sponsored by the Tea Advisory Panel
and all thought & opinions are my own