APRIL POWERS: BRITS RESETTING THEIR HEALTH GOALS IN TIME FOR SPRING

As National Tea Day comes around on 21st April, a new survey reveals Brits’ top 3 health goals

It’s widely known[1] that three-quarters of us abandon our New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January – with the 19th dubbed Quitter’s Day.

Yet, by Spring, we’re once again thinking of getting our bodies and lifestyles into shape – that’s the main finding of a new real-world research survey[2] of 1000 Brits that the Tea Advisory Panel has reviewed and analysed (www.teaadvisorypanel.com).

Half of those responding said they had gained weight during the pandemic, with a fifth piling on half a stone or more. No wonder then that the top three health goals for 2022 are losing weight (44%), getting fitter (44%), and eating a healthy diet (35%).

Around a third were more focused on mental health and wellbeing with 30% looking to sleep better and 28% wanting to reduce stress or anxiety. Surprisingly, just 15% wanted to drink less alcohol, despite a government report[3] warning that harmful drinking levels soared by nearly 60% in the year following the lockdown in March 2020.

Indeed, perhaps linked to weight gain and unhealthy lifestyles, nearly a fifth of participants in the same research poll said their health had gone downhill since before the pandemic. Even today, with the benefits of vaccines and reduced Covid rules, one in ten still describes their health as poor or very poor.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian at the Tea Advisory Panel, said: “Healthwise, we’ve had a rough ride over the past couple of years with increased stress, reduced exercise and – most likely – some bouts of respiratory illnesses. However, the warmer weather is a great opportunity to kick start your health goals beginning with a healthier diet.

“Drinking tea instead of fizzy drinks or alcohol is a simple step towards cutting calories and benefiting from natural plant compounds, such as polyphenols, which are linked to heart and brain health. National Tea Day, on 21st April, is a good time to think about how different teas can help you achieve your health goals”.

For weight management: A research review[4] found that drinking 1 to 4 cups of green tea daily reduced body fat and weight. The effects were thought to be due to EGCG – a plant polyphenol found naturally in tea leaves. Dr Ruxton says: “Tea has a modest positive effect on fat burning but can have a greater impact if you switch fizzy drinks or indulgent creamy drinks for a refreshing cup of tea”.

Getting fitter: A paper published in the influential, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition[5], concluded that drinking a litre of tea – equivalent to four mugs – is as good for hydration levels as the same amount of water. Dr Ruxton comments: “People often don’t want to fill up their sports bottle with a high-calorie sports drink and water can be boring. A cuppa, herbal infusion or a sugar-free iced tea can be a refreshing alternative.

Healthy diets: Dr Ruxton says: “Black (regular – the cuppa) tea is one of the biggest contributors to polyphenol intakes in the British diet – other sources are onions, apples, and berries. A high polyphenol intake has been linked with improved heart health and a slower cognitive decline in old age”.

Sleeping better: A research review[6] found that drinking chamomile tea was linked to better quality sleep. Other low caffeine options include rooibos tea, lavender, or passionflower teas. Dr Ruxton adds: “Even black tea doesn’t contain sufficient caffeine to affect sleep in most people – an average cup contains 40mg which is half the amount found in coffee”.

Reducing stress and anxiety: A unique compound found in regular tea – called L-theanine – has been found to reduce stress and levels of anxiety according to a review of the evidence[7]. Dr Ruxton comments: “L-theanine has been found to switch on and off particular areas of the brain, leading to feelings of relaxation. Studies even show that stress hormones, such as cortisol, reduce if we drink tea before a stressful event”.

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*Article contains affiliate links

Additional notes

The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA & INFUSIONS ASSOCIATION, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors.

[1] 64% abandon their New Years resolutions within a month, study finds (psychnewsdaily.com)

[2] Independent poll of 1000 UK adults by Perspectus Global Spring 2022

[3] Monitoring alcohol consumption and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic (publishing.service.gov.uk)

[4] [Effects of green tea and its epigallocatechin (EGCG) content on body weight and fat mass in humans: a systematic review] – PubMed (nih.gov)

[5] Maughan et al. (2016) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26702122/ .

[6] Chang et al. (2016) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26483209/ [7] Williams et al. (2020) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31758301/

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