As the sun gets lower in the sky and the weather turns increasingly nippy, millions of Brits face months of winter blues. Yet, as a national survey for the UK Tea and Infusions Association reveals, a warming mug of tea can be just what the doctor ordered.

Around 2 million Brits struggle with low mood throughout the darker months of the year, according to the NHS, leading to lethargy and irritability. One of the main reasons is a lack of sunlight which is necessary for a functioning body clock and normal levels of serotonin – the so-called ‘happy hormone’.

As the NHS advises, keeping active, following a healthy diet, and staying warm, for example by enjoying hot drinks, can all help to ward off low mood as the nights draw in. The UKTIA survey of tea drinkers found that tea is the go-to drink at this time of year, with 58% of British adults saying they quaff the most tea during autumn and winter months.

Warming cuppa to boost low mood this winter

Dr Sharon Hall, Chief Executive of the UKTIA, says: “Our survey shows that Brits really appreciate a cup of regular black tea once the barbeque is packed away for the year and the leaves start falling off the trees. Earl Grey tea, with its zingy citrus flavours, is also popular.”

According to four in 10 (43%), the best cuppa by far is the first one of the day, followed by the one they drink at breakfast. Around one ten prefer their cup of tea when they get into work.

The survey also found that more than a third of adults (32%) always match their type of tea to their moods, with a further 24% doing this sometimes.

The traditional cuppa with milk is the most popular option across all mood states, especially when people are feeling lonely, but other teas have their moments too.

Chamomile is a popular choice for de-stressing, while a zingy fruit tea is an ideal option when feeling in a good mood. The menthol hit of peppermint tea is singled out as great for motivation.

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Drinking tea also seems to influence mood with the survey reporting that:

  • 57% feel relaxed when they drink tea
  • 50% feel calm
  • 34% ready for the next task
  • 31% feel energised
  • 17% feel like the ‘real me’.

Dr Sharon Hall adds: “A surprising finding from the UKTIA survey is that drinking tea directly impacts how people feel, which could be due to the enjoyment of a cuppa, the known bioactive natural compounds found in teas, or the chance to simply take time out for yourself. With a broader choice of teas available in shops and cafes, people are now able to select a tea that matches their current mood, or how they would like to feel”.

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Here are Dr Hall’s recommendations for teas to match your autumn and winter experiences:

  • On a rainy day – English breakfast black tea
  • A walk during a frosty day  – Green tea
  • Christmas shopping – Chai tea
  • Sledging – Hibiscus tea
  • Duvet day – Darjeeling
  • The first winter cold – Ginger tea
  • The morning after that festive party – Peppermint tea
  • Dry January – Ginseng tea

What is the UK Tea & Infusions Association? The United Kingdom Tea & Infusions Association (UKTIA) is an independent, non-profit making body that works in support of the industry and is dedicated to promoting tea and herbal infusions and their unique story to consumers, the media, and key stakeholders.

UKTIA works on behalf of the world’s major tea-producing and exporting countries, UK tea packers and allied UK companies who support the tea and herbal infusions supply chains. The UKTIA provides support and information of a technical, scientific, and regulatory nature. UKTIA is the voice of the British tea and herbal industry.

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