People are often divided into two categories — coffee people and tea people. While there’s not a “right” answer, if you’ve put yourself in the coffee camp, you may be missing out.
Popular herbal teas, and especially hot tea, are not only delicious but may also be potentially beneficial for a wide variety of health concerns.
This article will discuss the benefits of tea and how you can access those benefits for yourself.
What Are the Benefits of Tea?
The benefits of tea are not new. People worldwide have been drinking tea for both taste and its benefits for thousands of years. While the type of tea can more precisely determine the health benefits you can expect, most have a few benefits in common.
If you are looking for a specific use, verify that the tea you’re interested in can provide those benefits before investing.
May Help to Lower Cholesterol
Although this benefit is mainly seen with black teas, any tea containing the antioxidants theaflavins and thearubigins may help lower cholesterol.
Specifically, people dealing with hypercholesterolemia (the medical term for high cholesterol) may benefit the most. Cholesterol levels have been tied to various health concerns, including heart disease and cardiac events.
Combined with a healthy diet, the benefits of tea can be significant in this regard.
May Help Stabilize Blood Sugar
The same antioxidants that can help lower blood sugar may also help stabilize blood sugar levels in the body. Theaflavins and thearubigins can potentially lower the risk of developing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Even in those without pre-existing diabetes, elevated blood sugar can be hazardous.
Can Help Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
Some of the compounds contained in tea may also lower the risks of developing certain cardiovascular conditions, including heart disease. It does this by helping to improve a variety of the triggers of heart disease, including total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) levels.
The result is an increase in heart health, the potential for lower blood pressure, and a decreased risk of stroke.
May Help Promote Better Brain Function
The health benefits of tea also extend to the brain. Think of the way you feel when you relax with a warm cup of tea.
For most people, that feeling involves a sense of peace and calm. However, the amount of caffeine in most tea types can also help the brain be more active.
A higher sense of alertness, increased mood and focus, and even quicker reaction time and memory recall may be tied back to tea consumption. In addition to caffeine, an amino acid known as L-theanine may also play a part.
Some teas also contain minerals like zinc, magnesium, and potassium.
Can Help to Boost Metabolism
Certain teas, including black, green, and oolong, positively impact the body’s metabolism. When you have a high metabolism, the body’s natural calorie expenditure increases, and you burn far more calories during the regular activities of life.
This also helps to reduce the amount of fat in the body. Over time, people who consume tea regularly often have a lower body weight, and lower body fat ratios, than those that don’t.
Helps You Hydrate
Hydration is one of the most important ways to keep your body healthy. On the opposite hand, dehydration can cause significant and systemic health problems, especially when it is allowed to go on for an extended amount of time.
Drinking tea can provide your body with the above health benefits and help keep your body hydrated. Although many people believe that tea (especially tea with higher caffeine levels) functions as a diuretic, drinking tea has not been shown to cause dehydration when consumed in standard amounts.
What Is the “Best” Tea to Drink?
When choosing a tea, approach it by considering two different factors — the taste and the tea’s benefits. It doesn’t matter how beneficial the tea is for you; if you don’t think it tastes good, you won’t want to drink it.
That means that the “best” tea for you is the one that provides you the benefits you’re looking for and also tastes great enough for you to be interested in drinking it regularly.
For most people, the perfect combination of both is green tea.
Green tea has a relatively mild taste and plenty of bang for the buck regarding its benefits. It is regularly considered one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.
Other types of tea with at least some positive health benefits include:
- White tea (delicate in flavor and relatively low in caffeine)
- Chamomile tea (mellow and usually caffeine-free)
- Pu-erh tea (sweet and fermented)
- Chai tea (full of spices, rich)
- Ginger teas (spicy)
- Peppermint tea (cooling and calming)
- Earl grey tea (citrusy and floral)
- English breakfast tea (full-bodied)
- Matcha tea (earthy and full of health benefits)
These teas can be enjoyed as premade tea bags or loose leaf tea.
Is It Good to Drink Tea Every Day?
As long as you drink tea in moderation, feel free to enjoy a cup or two every day! You can make it part of your daily ritual, especially in the morning, as it makes for an excellent mild replacement for a cup of coffee.
When you regularly drink tea, you provide your body with a constant influx of healthy, bioactive compounds.
These compounds, including polyphenols, are behind many of the positive health effects tea can provide. Catechin, known as epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG), functions as an antioxidant, helping to protect the body from the cell damage that can result from free radicals.
Combining your tea consumption with a healthy diet can help to supercharge your results.
Increasing your consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich foods, and healthy proteins can help make all of the benefits of tea even more impressive. You can also use this combination to help you with weight loss and promote a higher level of gut health.
Are There Any Side Effects to Drinking Tea?
There are some potential downsides to drinking tea, especially in larger quantities. Much of those downsides are related to how high that particular tea’s caffeine level is and how that impacts the body.
Black and green teas tend to have higher caffeine levels than other teas, but most have only a tiny amount.
Drinking too much caffeine can lead to multiple symptoms, including increased restlessness and anxiety, a faster heart rate (known as tachycardia), head and neck tension, muscle tremors, and trouble sleeping.
Drinking less caffeine often stops those symptoms reasonably quickly, so if you know that you’re sensitive to the compound, pay attention to the caffeine content in the tea you choose.
In addition, while tea itself only contains just a few calories at most, the sweeteners and other additives many people add to their tea can take a healthy drink and make it far less suitable for you.
Certain teas may also inadvertently function as laxatives, creating nausea, diarrhea, and other stomach problems as a result. While this happens mostly with people starting to drink tea or increasing their tea consumption, it can happen at any point.
Whether you enjoy a warm cup of oolong tea or another herbal tea variety, the benefits of tea are accessible for everyone. When you choose your tea based on the benefits you’re looking for, you can make positive changes to your health and wellbeing by boiling a cup of hot water.