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Health & Nutrition, Immunity, Mindfulness

No specific food or supplement will prevent us for catching a serious infection like COVID-19/Coronavirus.  Good hygiene practice remains the best means of avoiding infection.  However there are plenty of small things we can do that may strengthen our immune system. 

From supplements to exercise to nutrition, we thought we’d share some of the natural ways we’ve been making sure we stay fighting fit at Twist HQ – or rather Twist WFH (Working From Home).

We’ve been eating our fruit and vegetables.  These foods are fantastic for increasing your immune system.  They contain various antioxidants that help fight against free radicals which can instigate inflammation within the body.  Most fruit and veg contain a variety of macronutrients your body needs, for example, vitamin C which is required for development, repair and growth of all bodily tissues.  It also produces antibodies which counteract hostile microbes and helps stimulate many types of white blood cells which help in fighting off illness.  There’s an abundant of vitamins in tea, especially vitamin C, which is fantastic news for us at Twist Teas!

We’ve reduced our added sugar intake.  There is of course a significant link between added sugars and being overweight or obese.  Being obese may lead to a higher potential of getting ill.  Studies have shown this whereby people who are obese are twice as likely to get the flu, even if they have had a vaccine.  Reducing sugar intake can aid weight loss and reduce inflammation within the body.  Your daily sugar intake should be no more than 7.5% of your daily intake, therefore, for someone who has 2000 calories, they should only have 32.5 grams of sugar.  However some of us are finding it incredibly hard to keep to these levels during lockdown.  So we’ve been drinking copious amounts of tea from our Puds Without Sin range including Mint Humbug, Lemon Drizzle, Banana Shake and Minty Allsorts.  They don’t contain any sugar or artificial sweeteners and really deliver on flavour.

We’ve been exercising.  Now this doesn’t mean we’ve all been doing crazy intense sprinting or weight lifting.  Moderate exercise is a brilliant way to help boost your immune system.  Physical activity helps antibodies and white blood cells become more active, meaning they’re more ready to fight illness.  Exercise may also help your immune cells regenerate more regularly.  We’ve all been making the most of our limited time outdoors by doing moderate exercise like walking, jogging and cycling – whilst keeping a safe distance from anyone we meet.

Decrease stress.  Being able to manage your stress is a great way of reducing the chance of illness but it’s not easy especially at the moment.  Increased stress levels may cause imbalances in immune cell functions which inhibit the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens.  This is because the stress hormone corticosteroid suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system.  Stress will also see a growth in inflammation within the body.  Easy and fun ways to reduce stress is to do some exercise and stretching.  This releases endorphins which activate the opioid receptors within the brain making you feel a sense of euphoria and accomplishment.  It also helps minimise discomfort.  Stretching is particularly helpful because it increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system which enhances relaxation.  We’ve found it easier to complete a 20-minute stretch session whilst WFH.  But beware, if followed by a cup of Chamomile Yawn it can lead to a daytime nap as well!


Book Reviews
We all know that small changes for the better can make a big difference. That first cup of tea in the morning? Game changer!  The millions of tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year are killing seabirds and marine mammals.  And David Attenborough is right when he says that ‘We have a responsibility, every one of us’.  But knowing how we can make a difference isn’t as straightforward as it seems. 

Our teabags don’t contain any plastic and we do our upmost to use the most environmentally friendly packaging available.

As a team we promote reusable cups – we even sell them on our website.  We help clean up on the Common outside Pollards Farm and frequently share tips on giving up plastic include washing clothes in a wash bag to catch plastic microfibres (the cause of 30% of plastic pollution in the ocean) and using bar shampoo.  But plastic’s not going away without fight, so what else can we do to help?

So we bought this accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, for some practical tips.  And it doesn’t disappoint.  Martin Dorey, anti-plastics expert, has been working to save our beaches from plastic for the past 10 years. His Beach Clean Foundation and global call to arms #2minutebeachclean has been taken up by people all over the world, and has proven that collective small actions can add up to a big difference.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what you can do to save the planet from plastic – this book’s definitely worth a read.

Family, News
I won’t lie. I’ve always loved John Lewis.

As a child, Mum and I spent pretty much every Saturday afternoon in John Lewis Brent Cross, browsing fabric in the haberdashery department, meandering through the rails of children’s clothing and treating ourselves to tea and cake in the cafe (invariably Victoria sponge for mum, something chocolatey for me).
When I got my first flat, it was basically filled from top to bottom (well, it was only one storey, so it was top and bottom) with John Lewis furniture, crockery, glassware and everything else. And now, with a busy lifestyle, three kids and a business to run, it’s my go-to for presents, cookware and clothing.

So, you can imagine how excited I was to get a call at the start of the year inviting us to set up a Twist pop up shop at our local John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City. They’re looking for local, independent, high quality brands with products a little different to the norm, so obviously we fitted the bill to a tee (no pun intended.)

Fast forward six weeks, and there we were, in the gift section for a whole week, with literally hundreds of John Lewis customers dropping by to sample some of our blends. Our Twist ‘candy cart’ looked great and created a focal point for shoppers. And, most importantly, the customers loved it. We sold caddy after caddy of pretty much each and every blend; Refresher Green and Lemon Drizzle were the most popular, with Twentfourseven a close third. We also sold loads of our personalised caddies as shoppers jumped at the chance to get an innovative, top-quality, personalised Valentine’s Day present for their other halves.  

What was also great was that seemingly every John Lewis Partner came for a brew during their tea breaks, and the feedback was incredible. “Best tea I’ve ever tasted” said one, “You should be in the John Lewis cafe” said another. (We’ll drink to that…) Our teas went down such a storm that they’ve asked us to go back over Easter. If you’re in the area, do drop by and say hello!


Book Reviews

Our recommended tea to accompany this book: To Mother with Love

Since we love nothing better than curling up with a book and a brew, we’re going to share a few recommendations. 
Of course, books are super subjective, so they might not be right for you. But, it’s great to get a tip-off from someone, so maybe you’ll give it a go.

So, our first book review is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – it was recommended to me by a friend and what appealed to me most about the story was the relationship between mother and daughter and how it confronts the reality that all of us have flaws, no matter how well we disguise them.  It reflects that really us mums are just making this up as we go along, and raises all sorts of questions about motherhood.

Writes the author: “It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?” Whether or not you agree with the choices made by the characters, it’s hard not to empathise with their predicaments – especially, I felt, being both a mother and a daughter. 

And the brew to drink with this tale? It’s got to be To Mother with Love – Chinese White Tea with Apple Pieces, Rosehip, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Elderflower, Orange Blossom, Rose Petals and Orange Peel. This tea tastes like summer and while it is usually served cold with sparkling water, it is also delicious hot. (We also sell this one as SexyMotherCuppa and Strawberry & Rose, knowing that the more fun names might not be right for everyone. Like books, it’s subjective!)