Apart from water, tea is the most widely enjoyed beverage in the world. Teas of all kinds have been ritualistically consumed in the East for centuries and they’ve steadily become more popular in the West thanks to our increased awareness of their many health benefits.
Green, black, white, and oolong teas are all brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, differing only in their level of fermentation, while herbal tea varieties consist of dried herbs, flowers, fruits, and spices. Herbal teas are consistently caffeine-free, making them a popular option for those who like to enjoy tea before bed.
Let’s look at 6 different types of teas and their associated health benefits.
Hibiscus Tea is made from dried hibiscus flowers and often combined with dried citrus fruits, berries, and other flowers. It has a distinctive bright pink color and tart and tangy flavor. Hibiscus tea may help lower blood pressure, fight bacteria, and even aid in weight loss. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and the cancer-fighting compounds, polyphenols.
Green Tea is widely revered for its myriad health benefits and medicinal properties. It’s packed with antioxidants and polyphenols (specifically catechins called, EGCG), which aid in reducing inflammation, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, risk of stroke, and type 2 diabetes. It can increase mental clarity and focus thanks to the amino acid, L-theanine, and encourage proper digestion due to its caffeine content, which stimulates the nervous system much like coffee.
Chamomile Tea is known for its mild flavor and calming effects and is frequently consumed as a sleep aid, often resulting in better-quality sleep. It’s also believed to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protecting properties. Thanks to the antioxidant apigenin, chamomile tea may help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of several types of cancer.
Peppermint Tea has long been associated with aiding in proper digestion and is widely used to relieve indigestion, nausea, bloating, and stomach pain, making it a popular choice for after meals. It’s also believed to contain antioxidant, anticancer, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Because peppermint tea is caffeine-free, it’s a soothing option before bed.
Ginger Tea is also helpful in aiding gastrointestinal distress, especially nausea, indigestion, and constipation. This naturally spicy herbal tea is brimming with antioxidants and has been known to reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system. Women suffering from menstrual cramps, bloating, and other pain associated with their monthly cycle may experience decreased symptoms when drinking ginger tea during this time.
Oolong Tea, a more robustly-flavored cousin of green tea, may contribute to healthier cholesterol levels. Like green tea, oolong is bursting with polyphenols and may have significant benefits on cardiovascular health, weight loss, certain cancers, and brain health. Other benefits associated with this powerful tea include healthier gut bacteria, a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, a natural defense against UV rays, and increased bone health.
Those who benefit most from tea drink it often (multiple cups a day), so consider switching your morning coffee for green or black tea, as they contain caffeine and transition to something herbal in the evenings.