Women are like tea bags...
By Pooja Patel
"A woman is like a tea bag – you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water"
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Drinking tea is a ritual people share with their loved ones or for self love. From my experience, this ritual is instilled by the matriarch of the family. I have always admired their strength and resilience in a world which offers them so little when it comes to the wellbeing of both their mental and physical health. A world where their basic human rights such as making autonomous decision for their own bodies are not given. Natural bodily functions and cycles are stigmatised. Due to the complexities of the hormone cycle of a person who menstruates, they are excluded from pharmaceutical and biomedical research. Conditions affecting biological females are poorly understood and so they are misdiagnosed and not believed, leaving them to suffer alone with little compassion from society. Public health, specifically woman’s health has always been an interest of mine. Anyone who knows me also knows how much I love to drink tea, especially tea from the Muthaiga Tea Company. Recently I have been very conscious about my nutrition as I have become aware of how little information is given to women about this. The team at MTC encouraged me to research woman’s health and tea to educate ourselves and our readers. So I went down a rabbit hole and started researching!
There are different categories of tea depending on the way the plant is harvested and the way it is processed. Tea has general health benefits due to the antioxidants found in them, for example, Flavonols, Theaflavins (found in black and oolong tea) and Catechins (found in green tea and oolong tea). On going and promising studies have shown that the antioxidants found in tea may have a beneficial effect in prevention of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and certain types of cancer including skin, breast and lung. This is due to the protective nature of these antioxidants against free radicals that damage our DNA. Tea blended with other beneficial herbs and ingredients can have a wide array of health benefits.
Pre and post-menopausal women become more prone to cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Promising research has shown that the antioxidants in green tea may have a protective role in the process of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and cancers such as breast cancer. One of my favourite tea made by MTC is Menthe Du Maroc. This green tea is enhanced by fennel which has shown to help relieve menopausal symptoms such as sexual function and sleep disturbance. This is due to their oestrogenic and photochemical compounds, which are being researched for development of breast cancer treatments. Another spice that contains phytoestrogen is star anise and can be found in MTC’s Rwanda Noir blend. Rwanda Noir is so refreshing and perfect for anyone who loves a black tea in the morning or afternoon.
Many people suffer from dysmenorrhea when they menstruate. The catechins found in green tea have shown to inhibit COX activity therefore it is hypothesised that it may help alleviate symptoms of dysmenorrhea. A study by Zhang et al. shows that green tea had the most significant affect on dysmenorrhea followed by oolong tea. MTC’s Resurrection d’Amour contains resurrection leaves which have also shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. This tea is packed with health benefits and may help alleviate discomfort during menstruation, and not to mention it is delicious! Women who are anaemic should be careful not to drink too much caffeine as this can interfere with iron absorption.
During the follicular phase of the cycle, which is the first part of the menstrual cycle. Your body eliminates caffeine much easier and it is suggested that caffeine intake can enhance strength training in this phase.
(L, Ray. et al. (2002) What is the menstrual cycle. https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/the-menstrual-cycle-more-than-just-the-period)
More research is needed to fully understand the health benefits of tea. As well as filling in the many data gaps in regards to women’s health due to a variety of factors, such as social and institutional stigmatisation. To our readers, I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post and I encourage everyone especially women to always advocate for their health and not to forget to take a few moments out of their day, for themselves, while enjoying a lovely cup of tea.
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