Detox Tea: the fad and the facts

With a new year just around the corner, words like ‘renew,’ ‘restore,’ and ‘refresh’ start ringing all too loudly, and from all over the place too. Healthy food habits are right up there with losing weight and traveling new places among the most popular new year resolutions world over. And if you’ve had a particularly draining year – mentally or physically – detox is most likely to be on your healthy habits agenda in the year to come.

And in case you are toying with the idea of undergoing some sort of a detox, digital or bodily, know that it is not an easy process. For one, detoxification requires conscious effort, even if it’s only initially. It is best done in a place that is quiet, not too busy, and free from distractions – a far cry in the face of modern realities. Surrounding yourself with detox ‘promoting’ tools and foods, however, helps tremendously.

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Detox tea: A vague solution, but a solution nonetheless

For people who are too busy to diet, indulge in juice cleanses, and make pilgrimed trips to the spa, the idea that detoxification is possible with a simple cup of tea seems like a good enough solution to a detox problem. And a time-saving, pocket-friendly one, too.

The difficult part, however, is finding a reliable enough detox tea that you can keep handy.

In a world where consumption is fuelled by picture-perfect Instagram posts with lyrical essays on the products in the pictures – overtly or covertly – a lot gets passed around in the name of detox food, including tea. From elusive sounding high-grown green tea from remote mountains of some place oriental to power-packed ayurvedic blends made with ingredients with names you can barely pronounce, the world of detox tea is overfilled with self-asserting, brimming-with-benefits concoctions, each claiming to be better than rest.

Of course, honest education helps clear the clouds over the deep and dense world of detox tea.

It helps to first start with the knowledge that your body naturally has the ability to rid itself of harmful toxins. What tea – any tea – does is catalyse that effort. It provides the body with an extra bit of ‘goodness’- nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants – that supercharges the cells to draw out toxins and cleanse the system.

As for the question of the best detox tea around, there really is none. All tea is detox tea! And there is no ‘this tea will detox more’ or that it will ‘detox better.’ Detoxification is an absolute process. It either happens, or it doesn’t. And a good tea, irrespective of the kind, type or flavour, will help the body detox. Period.

Tea, by itself, is a food rich in antioxidants. Polyphenolic compounds in it, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) have been known to enhance the body’s metabolic activity and improve its ability combat the adverse effects of gluttonous indulgences. Tea also provides the body with essential vitamins and minerals needed for sustenance, such as magnesium and zinc. The caffeine in it energizes, and the aromatic compounds of tea induce warmth and plenty of good, relaxing feelings.

Consuming a good tea – fresh, seasonal and of good grade – is like biting into a season’s fresh produce. Garden fresh tea is typically prime with good flavours and beneficial compounds. Made available to the body regularly and generously enough, you can see the positive effects of drinking fresh tea in a matter of weeks. Sustained, regular consumption of good quality tea – no matter the type or origins – will cleanse your entire system, keep you active, and leave you feeling healthy and nourished.

On the matter of flavoured tea and Ayurvedic blends

Flavoured blends that claim to help purify the body’s system rely, largely, on the inherent qualities of the ingredient(s) to suggest a benefit like detoxification. But it is the ‘realness’ of the tea as well as the flavouring agent that makes all the difference in the world. Tea that is spiked with artificial flavours is unlikely to rid your body of toxins as effectively as the one that is made with real tea and real ingredients.

With Ayurveda-inspired teas, things get a bit trickier. For one, Ayurvedic teas are not always tea. That is, not all ayurvedic blends contain tea leaves in the dry mix. Unless stated otherwise, most ayurvedic detox blends are, in fact, tisanes comprising of botanicals cited in old wisdom and traditional literature that are known to have some positive effect on the body. And because these botanicals are not conventional food ingredients, consuming them without consulting a medical professional is inadvisable.

What is advisable, though, is to opt for a tea one that’s fresh, features real ingredients and comes with proof of origin. This way you end up drinking better, feeling better, and feeling ‘detoxed’ too.

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