When it comes to cognitive longevity and overall wellness, drinking a daily cup of tea is one of the cheapest, tastiest and healthiest habits. Whichever type of tea you prefer, whether hot or iced, each sip is doing your body a favor.
Different herbal teas offer different health benefits. Chamomile, for example is linked to helping keep blood sugar levels steady and alleviating the symptoms of PMS. Yerba Mate tea offers a natural energy boost. And on the beautiful Greek island of Ikaria, locals sip on savory teas steeping with herbs often looked in other parts of the world.
Elena Paravantes-Hargitt, RD, a registered dietitian living in Greece and the author of The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners says that the most popular teas in Ikaria are directly linked to improving brain and heart health as well as reducing inflammation. Chances are that you already have the herbs used to make these teas in your own pantry.
The best herbal Greek teas for brain health
Sage tea is very common herbal beverage not only in Ikaria but all over Greece. Sage tea is used to help with congestion or sore throat, but that’s not all. Research has shown that it contains many bioactive ingredients such as camphor, alpha and beta caryophyllene, rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid, diterpenes, and flavonoids, all of which are rich in antioxidants. These active ingredients have been linked to protection against neurological diseases as well as oxidative stress.
Oregano is commonly used in Ikarian cooking, but it’s also enjoyed as a savoury tea. In the short term, oregano tea can help calm an upset stomach. Long term, it’s another great choice for brain health. Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture compared the antioxidant activity of 39 commonly used herbs and observed that oregano had three to 20 times higher antioxidant activity than the other herbs studied,”
Rosemary is an anti-ageing herb. One study found that consuming rosemary regularly can help protect against dementia because of its high amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids.
Similar to oregano tea, fennel tea can help with an upset stomach. (It’s especially helpful with gas.). Fennel leaves are used in Greek cooking too, in fritters, salads, bean stews, and seafood. Fennel tea has been scientifically linked to protecting against dementia when consumed on a regular basis. This is because it has antioxidants as well as fatty acids, which help protect the brain.Of course, food and lifestyle habits also play important roles when it comes to brain health, but integrating one of these teas or a blend with these herbs into your wellness routine will have long-term benefits. It certainly makes you think about using herbs you likely already cook with in a whole new way!