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Eight Helpful Reasons

Guest Contribution by Meredith Davis

Leaving for a refreshing day hike along the ocean or a more extended escapade into the mountains can create lasting memories. But to do that, you have to ensure that you have everything you need. This includes food, water, appropriate clothing, and shelter.

However, there is another rather unorthodox thing that you can bring for your hike: It’s tea!

Hiker with curly hair and a backpack - a great opportunity for tea

Hiker with curly hair and a backpack – a great opportunity for tea

1. Stabilizes Your Energy Level

Tea carries enough caffeine that can energize you when you feel sluggish during a hike. Plus, it is a healthier option than coffee and energy drinks.

Every cup of oolong tea has 50 to 70 mg. of an amino acid called L-theanine. This amino acid is enough to provide you energy for hours while on a hike. Moreover, it is an instant pick-me-up without the caffeine crash.

2. Helps You Stay Hydrated

Aside from keeping you energized, drinking tea can also be an excellent alternative to water for hydration.

However, if your goal is hydration, you should drink it in moderation and make sure that you are having herbal tea. After all, tea still contains caffeine, which has a diuretic effect. This means that drinking too much tea can make you pee, and this can affect your hydration.

For one, you do not want to stop to empty your bladder. Doing so just anywhere is not always possible, either. So our suggestion is that you should consistently sip enough to ensure that your throat is not dry while hiking.

3. Good for the Belly

When your stomach is upset, drinking a hot cup of tea can ease it. There are also herbal teas that can help you with indigestion, bloating, and nausea. Studies have shown that tea can help improve our gut health.

The polyphenols in the brewed water regulate the microbiota in the intestines. This helps our body produce short-chain fatty acids that promote gut health.

In addition, oolong tea has alkalizing and mild antiseptic properties that prevent inflammation.

4. Enhances Digestion

If you are someone who often has an upset stomach while hiking, make sure you have a thermos filled with tea. An upset stomach is probably because we tend to shift our diet when hiking: From home-cooked meals to energy bars. Luckily, drinking tea can help ease the discomfort.

We recommend drinking chamomile tea, as it is known to relax digestive muscles. It can also treat issues like gas, indigestion, and diarrhea.

5. Helps Reduce Inflammation

Studies show that tea (primarily black tea) can help reduce inflammation. As such, it can help relieve arthritis. This is thanks to the component Quercetin. It is a plant flavonoid that is bountiful in black tea and believed to carry the following benefits:

  • Fights free radicals. Quercetin has antioxidant properties that can fight free radicals. And we know that free radicals can slow down the signs of aging and reduce the risk of many diseases.
  • Reduces inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response to stress and injuries. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can be harmful to the body.
  • Reduces cancer risk. Quercetin is also believed to have anti-cancer properties, preventing the spread of cancer cells and tumor growth.
  • Prevents neurological diseases. Research is showing that Quercetin can protect us from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to the development of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s).
  • Lowers high blood pressure. According to a 2016 study, it lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure.

6. Relieves Tired Muscles

It’s common to have achy muscles after a hike. Luckily, herbal tea can help relieve muscle aches. As mentioned earlier, tea can help reduce inflammation – including arthritis. That’s because of the drink’s active ingredient Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It is an antioxidant believed to reduce inflammation and aid in weight loss.

EGCG is also believed to reduce the risk of heart and brain disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

7. Can be Relaxing

Just like coffee, drinking tea can have a relaxing effect. That’s because it can reduce the cortisol level (stress hormone) in bodies. This is due to the Theanine found in tea.

Theanine boosts the alpha waves in our brains, which causes a relaxing and tranquilizing effect. Plus, it can be a mood booster and increases our cognitive abilities to focus. In addition to Theanine, EGCG is believed to make people feel calmer.

8. Helps You Focus Better

If you want some brain boost and are tired of drinking coffee, consider drinking some tea.

As mentioned earlier, tea has Theanine and EGCG that can help us stay calm and increase our concentration. After all, we function better when we are calm.

For instance, you will not go panicking in case it rains while you are hiking. That’s because you are likely to have the presence of mind to bring out your rain jacket from your backpack and wear it.

Green tea, made from Camellia sinensis, has a potent combination of L-theanine and caffeine. Thus, it helps boost brain power, which can come in handy when you need to focus.

Conclusion

Whether you are taking a short trail or going for a day hike, there is nothing wrong with bringing tea with you. In fact, we encourage it.

That’s because you can reap the following benefits:

  1. Stabilized energy levels
  2. Keeps you hydrated
  3. Cures upset stomach
  4. Aids indigestion
  5. Reduces inflammation
  6. Relieves tired muscles
  7. Keeps you calm and relaxed
  8. Helps you focus better

However, remember to drink tea in moderation. We suggest alternating it with water if your purpose is to hydrate yourself.

Another option is to drink a cup of hot tea once you reach your destination to relieve yourself of muscle pain. There is also likely a bathroom, which you can use afterwards. 

Have you tried bringing tea on a hike? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments!

Photo “Hiker with a large backpack” is under an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to the photographer Jake Melara and is being posted unaltered (source)