‘How come tea is more refreshing than water when you’re hot and thirsty?’ The team headed back out onto the pitch without waiting for an answer. All cricketers know the truth of this, even if they don’t know why. No-one drinks coffee at teatime; it’s just not cricket.
Tea is a brilliant example of food as medicine. Its aromatic oils wake up your taste buds, soothe a dry mouth and open up your capillaries, cooling you down and sending fresh blood to tired limbs. Together with theophylline, they relax your nervous system, balancing the caffeine so that you get a pleasant tonic effect, rather than a kick.
And that’s just the beginning
The more research we do on tea – black, green or white – the better it looks, although the usual caveats apply. A lot of the research is in vitro or on animals, which limits its usefulness. And it’s misleading to assume that if, for example, people who drink tea are less prone to heart attacks, the tea must be the cause. But having said that, tea-drinking does seem to correlate with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s an impressive list
Green tea, of course, is the best of all, but any old tea is good.
So don’t forget, tea is a herb as well, and sometimes an old-fashioned builder’s brew might be just what you need.
When cricketers stop for tea, they are – in effect – taking herbal medicine. But what about all those sausage rolls and cakes they have with it, though? That might be another story.