There are many health benefits of drinking tea, but before we dive in, let’s start with an overview. Tea is such a cultural beverage because it’s traditionally brewed for family and friends or for the household’s “tea time,” breakfast or dessert. It’s been around for thousands of years, which has given researchers time to document its long-term effects on mental and physical health in its daily consumers. Perhaps you drink caffeinated tea to replace coffee, or you enjoy the boost from putting matcha in your smoothies. Maybe you drink herbal teas to support your health with natural medicine. There are so many different benefits tea can offer, and in this post, we’ve rounded up the top 10.
Tea can help stimulate your immune system, whether you’re a regular green tea drinker, a matcha drinker or you brew medicinal herbal tea. Green tea is a potent source of vitamin A and phytochemicals with immune-enhancing effects. It increases the number of immune cells in your body that are naturally produced to fight off any foreign invaders, according to research from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. By drinking green tea regularly over time, you can develop a stronger immune system and be ready to defend against seasonal viruses, bacterial infections and more.
According to a study published in Pharmacognosy Magazine, drinking mint tea provides a source of antioxidant-rich phytochemicals known to fight cancer and benefit your health. Research shows that mint tea offers antioxidants that could potentially benefit heart health, liver health and more by providing a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals, which are unstable molecules that cause damage to cells and DNA, and are often at the root of cancer in the body. Antioxidants have been shown in some studies to help stop cancer growth, so drinking herbal tea such as mint tea and others known for their hight antioxidant content such as green tea and black tea, could potentially help prevent cancer.
Have you ever used ginger ale to soothe a stomachache? Ginger soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the digestive process, helping to relieve gas and eliminate indigestion. Mint tea also reduces gas and bloating, and it can ease a stomach ache. Fennel tea and fenugreek can stimulate the digestive juices and natural enzyme production, help with gas relief and reduce inflammation in the bowels (a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome).
While caffeine isn’t necessarily “bad,” some people like to avoid caffeine because it exacerbates problems like anxiety or insomnia. Drinking tea instead of coffee in the mornings and after meals can ensure you take in far less caffeine. If you’re drinking herbal tea, you won’t take in any caffeine at all, of course. You could also go for decaffeinated green tea or black tea. Otherwise, black tea would be the strongest source of caffeine and green tea would be weaker.
Ever heard of taking chamomile tea to soothe your nerves or help you sleep? If you have insomnia, stress or anxiety, you could benefit from herbal teas like chamomile, passion fruit or lavender to help you relax and sleep better. In many studies, drinking hibiscus tea resulted in lower blood pressure.
Research has linked green tea to allergy relief in people dealing with symptoms of typical seasonal allergies. Drinking one or two cups of green tea a day could reduce your allergy symptoms and potentially reduce the amount of medicine you need to manage your symptoms. Green tea’s high content of catechins are what makes it work as a natural anti-histamine, resulting in studies to inhibit nose-blowing, throat itchiness and pain and other symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or seasonal allergies.
In one study, hibiscus tea resulted in lower body weight in the participants, suggesting it might have an anti-obesity effect. However, more common teas found in your local grocery store like black tea or green tea also help with weight loss. They’re shown to boost your metabolism and help your body burn fat so you can lose weight. In a Japanese study, the catechins in green tea were responsible for reducing body fat in 240 participants.
Drinking black tea on a regular basis could help keep your cholesterol levels in check, according to a 2018 scientific research study published in “Lipids in Health and Disease.” It was shown to neutralize free radicals, which means black tea helps protect the blood vessels against oxidative stress—a factor that plays a role in the development of heart disease.
In the same study, scientists found that the regular consumption of black tea helped regulate and stabilize blood sugar levels. It seemed to work by helping to control levels of insulin—the glucose level-lowering hormone responsible for bringing glucose into the cells where they can be used for energy. Ultimately, healthy blood sugar levels depend on a healthy diet with moderated sugar intake, as well as regular exercise. However, if you love drinking black tea, rest assured you may be helping to keep diabetes at bay by drinking it every day.
Which tea do you prefer: green tea or black tea? The good news is, both have been found to improve the health of your gut—that is, your microbiome, which is the living portion of your immune system made up of billions of friendly bacteria. Both green and black tea have different polyphenols in them, but both contain polyphenols that promote the growth of friendly gut bacteria. Green tea contains catechins and black tea contains flavonols, as the teas are processed in different ways.
Research shows that being a regular tea drinker can help stimulate your immune system, play a role in cancer prevention, improve digestion and reduce anxiety. Teas of all sorts provide a great source of age-fighting and disease-fighting antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals (damage-causing molecules) in the body.