Back to School: Stress, Heart Health, and Coping

With the breezy days of summer behind us September can bring about a lot of change. Kids are going back to school and new fall routines kick in. Maybe like many Canadians you too find that fall can be a new balancing act as you’re juggling new routines that cause levels of stress rise now and then.

Photo: Courtney Dirks

Photo: Courtney Dirks

Did you know that stress affects your heart health? Research shows that too much stress can harm your heart and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.[1] Stressors include not just major life events such as moving or starting school but also daily events such as traffic jams, meeting deadlines or facing conflicts.  The level of stress you experience and how you react to it can lead to a wide variety of health problems[2] including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats.

A great deal of research has been published on tea’s health benefits and tea has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is a risk factor of heart disease and small decrease in blood pressure from dietary changes may have significant benefits. Researchers in Australia found that regular consumption of 3 cups of black tea a day can result in significantly lower blood pressures. “There is unequivocal evidence that tea as a lifestyle factor can impact health,” said Dr. Carol Greenwood, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. “Drinking tea should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”

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Knowing your stressors can also help you choose strategies that are right for you. There are three basic types of coping skills for stress. 3 One is physical such as exercise, deep breathing and healthy eating. Another type of coping skill is mental such as positive thinking or meditation. The third type of coping skill is personal or social. “Take a time out! Make an extra effort to experience the good in your life. Seek out things that make you happy and that matter most to you.” advises the Heart and Stroke Foundation. All three types of stress coping skills are useful to help you deal with stress in your life and you may find one more helpful than another depending on your particular situation.[3]

Everyone feels stress in different ways and knowing where your stressors come from and what to do about it is an important first step in managing your health. Many people find tea a refreshing and relaxing drink.

Tea originates from the Camellia sinensis plant, and has been used for hundreds of years to help with relaxation. Recently TAC TEA SOMMELIERTM/SM Professionals have been trained in the art and science of tea. Here are our TAC TEA SOMMELIERTM/SM Professionals’ tips for brewing a delicious and relaxing tea:

Brewing Instructions

Use one teaspoon of loose tea or one teabag per cup (five to eight ounces).

  1. Begin by bringing fresh drawn cold water to a rolling boil.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the black tea leaves or teabags to release the best flavour. Never add tea leaves or teabags to the water.
  3. Cover and let the tea steep for three to five minutes then remove tea leaves or bag.

Note: For green tea, do not use boiling water but let it cool for a few minutes before pouring. Steep only for 3 minutes.

More information about heart health and tea is available at www.tea.ca

Closeup of an open notebook and a cup of hot tea on a rustic white wood table. High angle shot in horizontal format.

[1] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3484039/k.3548/Heart_disease__Reduce_your_stress.htm?gclid=CITxoOyumscCFYVAaQod8zEBQg

[2] American Heart Association Stress and Heart Health http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/HowDoesStressAffectYou/Stress-and-Heart-Health_UCM_437370_Article.jsp

[3] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Coping with Stress http://www.heartandstroke.com/atf/cf/%7B99452D8B-E7F1-4BD6-A57D-B136CE6C95BF%7D/coping-with-stress-en.pdf

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