Bagging the Best Tea for Your Health

Staff Writer
Bagging the Best Tea for Your Health

Whether you’re quenching your thirst or simply warming your hands on a cold winter day, there are plenty of reasons to cozy up to a healthful mug of tea. But, taste preferences aside, which flavor should you try? Here is a brief look at the benefits of popular types of teas, and why you may want to consider one leaf over another.

Antioxidant Powerhouse: Green Tea
With what some estimate to be as much as 10 times the amount of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, green tea — which comes from the same plant as black and oolong — is a powerful health ally. In addition to a specific kind of antioxidant known as flavonoids, which stave off heart disease and certain strains of cancer (including skin, breast, lung, and colon cancers), green tea also contains an abundance of polyphenols and catechins, two super-nutrients that fight cell-harming free radicals in the body.

A Spicy Salve: Chai Tea
Distinguished by an exotic medley of spices, chai-flavored tea (the base of which is black, green, or oolong) is laced with a cornucopia of ingredients, including, but not limited to ginger root, cinnamon bark, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, and anise. Served with or without milk, chai tea can be traced back to Ayurvedic healing, a traditional and alternative medicine with roots in India.

Chai is rich in antioxidants that protect the body from disease. This piquant beverage also helps to stimulate and balance digestion, as cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper settle the stomach and combat nausea.

Naturally Slimming: White Tea
In recent studies, white tea extract has been shown to aid weight loss by accelerating the breakdown of existing fat cells and reducing the growth of new ones. White tea also rivals the antioxidant capabilities of green tea and stalls several forerunners of cancer, in addition to supporting the immune system and guarding against dental plaque and tooth decay.

Because white tea is less caffeinated than others, it may be less likely to keep you awake and is your best option for sipping before bed. It’s also one of the least processed leaves, making this earthy yet sweet variety slightly pricier than other teas.

Soothe Your Stomach: Ginger Tea
The medicinal advantages of ginger are widely known and have been used in Eastern healing therapies for thousands of years. Best known for its digestive properties, ginger tea alleviates stomach pains and irregularities such like indigestion and cramps.

Other benefits of ginger tea include relief from heartburn, morning sickness, and menstrual cramps. While you can find ginger tea either in pre-made packages or in loose-leaf form, homemade ginger tea can also be brewed by boiling fresh ginger root slices in water. (Strain before drinking.)

— StacyAtZeel, Zeel