We Irish love our tea. Did you know that we're the third highest consumers per capita of the brew in the entire world, coming up behind Turkey and Morocco? That's dedication to the cause if we ever heard it. You may find yourself reaching for a second or third cup of the hot stuff and asides from the fact that there's almost nothing nicer than a strong cuppa on a bitter morning, there is another reason that drinking it makes us feel that little bit better.
According to The Guardian, there's phycology behind it; studies have shown that holding a warm drink not only soothes the soul but increases your capacity to be kind to those you don't know. Perfect during this festive time of year, no? In fact, literally holding a cup will bring out your good side because doing so, makes people rate strangers more highly. In an experiment, people were asked to rate strangers on how welcoming and trustworthy they thought they were. Those holding a warm cup admitted to feeling those positive attributes whereas those holding a cold drink felt the opposite.
Those holding hot drinks were also more likely to be generous, and less likely to display behavioural selfish thoughts. "This is due to the strong linguistic and metaphorical links created in the brain by repeatedly using the words 'warm' or 'cold' to describe personalities," explained Dr Daniel Glaser, Director of Science Gallery at King's College London.
Asides from the above, tea been proven to have a host of health benefits. As the below infographic by Fix.com illustrates, green tea helps prevent some cancers and reduces the risks of strokes and heart disease. White tea is similar in its cancer-fighting properties, and some studies say it's the best for health-conscious tea drinkers to drink in bulk. Oolong tea is good for cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. Herbal teas help lower high blood pressure. Black tea, which most Irish people drink, can help protect lungs from cigarette smoke damage.
See the full list of positive side effects below, so you can continue to guzzle tea guilt-free.