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Tea is a good way to add healthy nutrients to your diet while staying hydrated. Even if you are a coffee drinker, tea is always nice to switch to on occasion, with a bit of caffeine to boot. While you’re in the garden-planning stage, consider adding a few plants to make your own tea.

You don’t need to grow your tea herbs separately, and I’ll tell you some easy ones to start with so you don’t have to spend so long caring for them. I’ll go into detail about oxidation later, but that’s basically how black the tea is. With many of these herbs, the most oxidation they’ll get is from drying them.

Home grown Chocolate mint growing in garden.

Mint Plants

There are so many kinds of mint that you can grow; peppermint, apple mint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint or spearmint. The entire family of them grows well without any special care and the only thing you need to make sure of is that they’re watered enough. Other than that, it’ll be a problem if they spread into the ground so it’s better to keep them in pots so they stay enclosed.

Mint teas have general benefits like improving digestion, reduced heartburn, and flatulence, and if you take it with some honey, you can relieve a cough. Mint leaves don’t need to be dried to make tea so you can just add mature leaves and their soft stems to a pot and prepare your tea.

Growing lemon balm is very similar to growing mint.

Lemon Balm

This tea herb looks somewhat similar to mint but it delivers a lemony flavor and scent that’s hard to miss. Grow this herb in pots so that it doesn’t spread too far and take over your garden, literally. Prune it regularly before it releases seeds so you can control growth. Make sure you don’t fertilize it since it already grows quite rapidly and doing so can be risky for other plants.

It’s praised and heralded for its calming properties, earning it the title of an antidepressant from nature. It has a soothing effect on your nervous system that relieves anxiety as well. Since they contain menthol as well, you’ll be getting some beneficial properties of mint as well. You can use fresh leaves, or dry them as well.

Chamomile

While the flower-bearing plant seems very popular, Roman and German varieties are used to make teas. The annual plant, German chamomile, can be sowed in spring before planting them in a shaded spot. Once the plant establishes itself in your garden, it thrives with minimal maintenance, producing the most flavorsome herb in dry conditions.

The tea is beneficial for various conditions but it’s most well known for helping one sleep. It also aids in the treatment of ulcers, menstrual cramps, and respiratory tract inflammation. The sunny yellow middle of flowers is the main ingredient for the tea but you will need many flowers to prepare tea if they aren’t dried. On the other hand, a spoon of dried flowers can produce more tea.

These are some of the easiest teas you can grow in your garden to enjoy healing teas regularly, straight from your own garden. Happy Farming!

More on growing teas: Grow Your Own Tea at Home

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Four Simple Fitness Tips

Getting in shape doesn’t have to be complicated. If you incorporate these five simple fitness tips into your routine, you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling great.

Keep Moving

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week for the average adult. That works out to about 21 minutes of moderate exercise or 11 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. For the busy person, setting aside time for the gym might prove tricky. Chances are, though, even the busiest person can work in twenty minutes of movement.

Have a few minutes while microwaving lunch? Walk briskly in place. Waiting for water to boil? Try some jumping jacks.Keep your toes tapping and legs moving while working at your desk. For a bonus, take breaks as frequently as possible to stretch — even if it’s just raising your arms and straightening your torso. Need to clean? Turn on some music and make it fun. You’ll get your exercise in and wind up with a tidier home.

The bottom line: wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, keep your muscles moving. Even if you’re just walking in place, every little step counts.

Make It Fun

Some people like going to the gym and sweating on the treadmill or elliptical. If you’re one of those people, great. Renew your gym membership or buy some exercise equipment and knock yourself out. For everyone else, typical workouts can be a drudge.

If the gym isn’t for you, forcing yourself to go isn’t a long-term solution. Eventually, you’ll get tired of it and stop. Why not find some type of physical activity you enjoy instead? For example, dance classes, roller derby, basketball, hiking, rock climbing, or bike riding. The possibilities are endless.

No time for a new hobby? No problem. Fitness can be as simple as flipping on some music and dancing your feet off for as long as you can. Determined to make the whole gym thing work? Try spicing up your workout by listening to an audiobook or podcast while working up a sweat.

Buddy Up

The old adage “there’s strength in numbers” applies doubly to fitness. Finding a partner or group to exercise with makes it easier to meet your fitness goals. Having trouble getting out of bed and going to the gym in the morning? If it’s just you, it’s much easier to hit snooze and go back to dreaming of pizza and ice cream. However, if you’re meeting a friend, you’re more likely to haul yourself out of bed to avoid standing him or her up.

Having a fitness buddy also helps with accountability and motivation. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that 95 percent of participants who began a fitness program with friends completed the program. Only 76 percent of solo participants finished the program. Those who participated with friends also lost more weight than those who didn’t.

Treat Yourself

You’re working hard. You exercise and you eat right. Do something nice for yourself! As you meet your goals — or just maintain them — reward yourself for your efforts. It’s okay to have a slice of cheesecake every once in a while; just don’t go overboard.

Food isn’t the only reward to consider. You could also treat yourself with new clothes or a new game, a night out — whatever appeals to you. By giving yourself a reward, you’re reinforcing the idea that you’ve achieved something. When you complete tasks and reach your goals, the reward center in your brain sends out dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.

The better getting fit makes you feel, the more likely you are to stick with it.


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