It’s tea time for a healthy winter | Life

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Last week I was a little downwind and also caught an upper respiratory virus, which I hadn’t known for three years. These viruses know when you are vulnerable and attack you. In addition, cooler weather has set in. In cooler weather most of us become less physically active with no hot-weather outdoor activities to stimulate us, so gaining extra weight can often be an added fact of life. We also know that with weight gain, blood pressure, as well as unhealthy cholesterol, can increase in our body. Recent research suggests that a good bowl of pinto beans and a little hot tea will counteract all of this. So, I turned to a bowl of beans for several days with Lemon Zinger herbal tea and felt better in two days.

Lemon Zinger tea is “all herbal” containing real lemons, lemongrass and hibiscus, which gives the tea a tangy taste and a ruby ​​red color, and is good all year round. In a 2009 controlled research study, drinking three cups of herbal tea containing hibiscus each day lowered blood pressure. “Most commercial herbal tea blends in the United States contain hibiscus,” said Diane L. McKay, PhD, Tufts University, Boston (2009). Overall, drinking hibiscus tea blends lowered systolic blood pressure – the highest number in the blood pressure reading – by an average of 7 points.

The study was sponsored by ARS, which is the principal research organization of the United States Department of Agriculture. In a clinical trial, McKay tested 65 volunteers, aged 30 to 70, whose systolic blood pressure was 120 to 150 (mm Hg) and whose diastolic blood pressure was 95 (mm Hg) or less at the start of study. Long-term blood pressure readings of 120 out of 80 or higher are often considered a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. For six weeks, about half of the group was randomly selected to drink three cups of Hibiscus tea per day. The others drank a placebo drink containing artificial hibiscus flavor and color. All participants were instructed to follow their usual diet and maintain their normal activity level. Before the start of the study, blood pressure was measured twice, one week apart, and then at weekly intervals thereafter.

RESULTS: Results show that volunteers who drank the hibiscus tea had a 7.2 point drop in systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 point drop in volunteers who drank the drink. placebo. But never change your diet or add herbal ingredients to your food without first consulting your doctor. People are different and don’t get the same results.

I’ve always loved beans of all kinds all year round, so I love knowing they can be good for me. Another researcher, Lydia A. Bazzano, MD, of Tulane University, in 2009 in New Orleans, suggested that to lower cholesterol, we should eat at least three cups of dry beans and peas, or legumes. , per week to help lower cholesterol levels. . In his study, total cholesterol in those who ate a legume-rich diet for at least three weeks decreased by an average of 14 points compared to those on placebo. LDL cholesterol fell an average of 11 more points in the high-bean group.

Of course, there are many types of herbs that are used in teas. Celestial Seasonings Tea Company offers dozens of varieties with names like Wild Forest Blackberry, Bengal Spice, Chamomile, Ginger, Lemon Lavender Lane, Mint Magic, and Wild Berry Zinger. Other tea companies are following suit. But it is good to know that you can grow tasty herbal teas in your garden. In fact, there is a book, “Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Tasty Teas in Your Garden” (Companion House Books). The book describes how you can make your own blends to fight stress, boost immunity, and possibly soothe headaches according to herbal traditions. Backyard herbal tea growers will usually have combinations of several of these herbs: lemon verbena, peppermint, rose hips, lavender, chamomile, bergamot, hibiscus, and ginger. Some people even go so far as to grow real tea plants from the camellia family.

So if you have the space and the inclination to DIY herbal teas in your own backyard, there are plenty of books like this to use as a resource and maybe to sip your own garden teas throughout the day. ‘winter. And of course, you can still grow beans.

Gwyn Riddick is a certified North Carolina planter and former owner of Riddick Greenhouses & Nursery. He is a member of the Natural Resources Leadership Institute (NCSU). If you have any gardening questions, email them to Gwyn Riddick at The High Point Enterprise, 213 Woodbine St., High Point, NC 27260, or email [email protected]


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