Everything may stop for tea but cheering cuppa healthy hacks start here

Cuppa that cheersCuppa that cheers
Cuppa that cheers
"Everything," sang Jack Buchanan in a cut-glass English accent, impressive for a born and bred Scotsman, "stops for tea".

A lot of water has passed under the bridge - and refilled UK kettles - since his 1935 musical toast to tannins.

But, almost a century on, cheering cuppas remain more popular than ever, we Brits daily drinking 100 million brews.

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"It's a very good English custom, though the weather be cold or hot, when they need a little pickup, you'll find a little teacup, will always hit the spot," as the debonair crooner suggested.

Bags of goodnessBags of goodness
Bags of goodness

A new report confirms nearly six in ten of us find such a hug in a mug relaxing, a fifth claiming refreshing Rosie Lee our "superpower" go-to stress buster.

Tea Advisory Panel www.teaadvisorypanel.com has been able to TAP into the nation's zeitgeist with "Take 5 - how actioning just five health hacks can unlock your better self" research studying our traditional drink's health properties.

Guest advisor GP Gill Jenkins, Dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton and Dr Tim Bond distil science to share simple lifestyle top tips to get our fitness back on track, saying: "As our lives become increasingly complex and fast-paced, it's essential to keep focussed on our personal wellbeing."

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Dr Jenkins explained: "Tea works on the heart and vessels thanks to its rich content of polyphenols and beneficial plant compounds that help to lower blood pressure and fight oxidation, a process that damages our cells if we don't eat enough antioxidant-rich foods.

Can't beat a brewCan't beat a brew
Can't beat a brew

"What's good for the heart is also good for the brain as studies show drinking tea – especially black tea – can have a positive effect on cognitive function (attention, mind wandering and focus), mental wellbeing (stress and mood), and brain blood flow. Even just one or two cups a day provided some benefits."

Studies examining associations between tea and heart health suggest the sweet spot for tea drinking is four to five cups a day, Dr Bond confirming: "Encouragingly, the research poll we reviewed shows 21 per cent of the nation are hitting the target during their working day but that leaves room for improvement."

And he advised: "Ideally, we should leave the tea bag to brew for at least three minutes to release the optimal number of polyphenols.”

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Dr Carrie continued: "Tea is like nature's pharmacy with polyphenols for heart and brain health, fluoride for strong teeth, caffeine for alertness and L-theanine – a unique amino acid found in tea – for destressing and focus."

Pots of nutrientsPots of nutrients
Pots of nutrients

Healthy hacks

1 Hydrate with five-a-day: Dr Bond advises: “Scientists have settled on 4-5 cups a day as the optimal intake to not only help keep us hydrated but provide the right amounts of the natural polyphenol compounds. Top this up with tap water, soup, herbal infusions and fruits to reach the recommended 1-2 litres a day of fluid."

2 Take five minutes to recharge: Dr Jenkins says: “Stress is a major driver of ill-health and disease so it’s a false economy to ignore your own wellbeing by not taking a regular five minutes out of your day to rest and reset. Brewing a cuppa is a great way to stop doing or thinking and just be yourself for five full minutes. Plus, it’s great news for our brain and mind health as well as providing that TLC time for our bodies, top to toe.”

3 Strengthen your core: "Use it or lose it" is a helpful phrase to remember when motivation for exercise is waning. "What we put in our bodies, how we rest and recharge, and how we move are three key pillars to maintaining our health," said Dr Ruxton, who recommends five simple exercises to get you going ... crunches for abdominals, twist-ups for obliques, plank for stability, bridge for glutes and toe taps for core strength.

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4 Flex it: “Healthy movement doesn’t only involve getting the heart pumping with cardio and building muscle through strength training. Stretching our muscles and supporting our joints are equally important aims, perhaps more so as we age,” says Dr Bond, advising five exercises ... roll down and up, standing lateral flexion, spinal twists, hip flexor stretch and hamstring stretch.

5 Balance your diet: Five steps include boost your breakfast fibre by choosing wholegrain bread or breakfast cereal to keep you feeling fuller until lunch, add veg or beans to recipes, snack on fruit or making a smoothie with frozen berries and banana, decommission your sugar bowl by trying low calorie sweeteners, Friday is treat day but whopping quarter of our daily calories come from nutrient-poor cakes, biscuits, sweets and sugary drinks. relieve mid-afternoon slump with a warming cup of tea and handful of nuts to keep cravings at bay. We'll drink to that!

Quotes to a tea

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” – CS Lewis

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“I say let the world go to hell but I should always have my tea” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Yes, that’s it, said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time” – Lewis Carroll

“Wouldn’t it be dreadful to live in a country where they didn’t have tea?” – Noel Coward

“Tea is one of the mainstays of civilization in this country” – George Orwell

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“There’s something hypnotic about the word tea” – Dorothy L Sayers

“I must drink lots of tea or I cannot work as tea unleashes the potential which slumbers in the depth of my soul” – Leo Tolstoy

“Sir, I did not count your glasses of wine, why should you number up my cups of tea?” – Samuel Johnson

“My dear if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs” – Charles Dickens

“I got nasty habits – I take tea at three” – Mick Jagger

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