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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > October 2016 > IT’S ALWAYS TEA TIME!

IT’S ALWAYS TEA TIME!

Refreshing, soothing, calming, energising… Herbal teas are so much more than a fragrant alternative to your regular builder’s brew. Here’s how to tap into the benefits

FANS OF TRADITIONAL TEA who only make time for the occasional peppermint or chamomile infusion could be missing a trick. There’s a herbal tea for every occasion, with therapeutic effects reported by devotees that go beyond avoidance of caffeine.

Many herbalists and alternative nutritionists swear by herbal teas to help with issues as varied as indigestion and insomnia. Admittedly, if you’re looking for hard evidence, this is hard to come by. ‘Research looking into the health benefits of herbs – and herbal teas – tends to be limited and studies aren’t usually well designed or carried out on a large enough scale to draw any definite conclusions,’ says HFG nutrition consultant Juliette Kellow. ‘Results often vary widely, too, with many studies concluding there’s only a small benefit, if any at all.’

So why do they swear by them?

‘We use a lot of teas to help deliver the health benefits of the herbs,’ says medical herbalist Stephanie Caley of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH).

They’re also versatile. You can enjoy them hot, or chill them for a refreshing alternative to cordials. If you’re trying to wean kids off squash and juice, fruity herbal tea blends can work wonders. You can even use them to make ice lollies or mocktails.

‘Once you find herbs you like that work for you, it’s nice to make your own blends from fresh or dried herbs,’ says nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. ‘You’ll get multiple benefits from the different herbs as well as creating some lovely flavours.’

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About Healthy Food Guide

In this month’s Healthy Food Guide our experts look at the latest research in lowering your cancer risk. We investigate the science of why hunger makes us angry, and share our best-ever healthy gluten-free baking tips for sweet treats that won’t disappoint. Plus, makeover chocolate muffins, Anjum Anand’s lighter India supper and simple meals with artichokes. Available to download now.
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