Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world aside from water, with 159 million Americans sipping on a cuppa daily, according to the Tea Association of the USA. If tea is your staple, try understanding which teas will help you with ailments so you can use your fave drink to help your body even more. Here are seven healthy teas you’ll want to brew.
Helps with: digestion, headaches and sinus infections
Why it works: Peppermint tea supports your digestive system, relieving symptoms including bloating, gas and indigestion, says Rashmi Byakodi, a health and wellness writer and editor of the Best for Nutrition website. One study found that using peppermint over a two-week period is a safe and effective treatment for active irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint tea also eases headaches by opening up restricted blood vessels within the brain, Byakodi says. If you have clogged sinuses (also a cause of headaches), the peppermint will act directly on the respiratory tract to relieve them.
Helps with: weight loss
Why it works: Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis L plant, which is rich in polyphenol catechins and caffeine, Byakodi says. Research shows that green tea helps with fat metabolism at rest and following exercise. The most effective way to increase fat oxidation via green tea, however, is if you do endurance exercise (anything that increases your heart rate and breath for an extended period of time, such as cycling or running) in conjunction with drinking the tea. Fat oxidation rates are 20 percent higher with this method, according to a study.
Helps with: antiaging, inflammation and blood pressure
Why it works: This nontoxic herb, which has been used extensively in Chinese and Ayurvedic treatments, has an earthy flavor and is slightly bitter in a pleasant way. Chaga mushrooms naturally contain a high content of antioxidants, so Chaga tea reduces inflammation, helping to keep serious medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis at bay, says Amelia Brown, a registered dietitian with Redwood Reserves. Chaga is also a natural immune booster, as it activates the production of white blood cells required to protect your body from bacteria and viruses, Brown says.
Helps with: stress and insomnia
Why it works: Chamomile tea provides grounding, relaxing, mild sedative properties to promote deep, restful sleep, says Devon Ray Battaglia, an integrative health expert and holistic life coach. A study of nursing home residents found that those who took 400 milligrams of chamomile extract daily had significantly better sleep quality than those who didn’t.
Helps with: migraines
Why it works: Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. “Ginger can help by blocking the chemical messengers called prostaglandins that play a key role in the inflammatory response,” says Danielle Aberman, a registered dietitian. Ginger does double duty by also helping with nausea. Since ginger tea contains no tea leaves and is made from a root, it’s technically not a true tea, however. Find the ginger root or crystalized ginger at most grocery stores and boil a few slices or chunks in water to get the most intense medicinal value.
Helps with: reducing menstrual cramps
Why it works: Cinnamon is chock-full of antioxidants that reduce the pain from menstrual cramps, says Lily Allen-Duenas, a yoga teacher, meditation teacher and energy healer. A study found that cinnamon significantly lowers the amount of menstrual bleeding, pain severity and nausea.
Helps with: fighting off colds and warding off chronic conditions
Why it works: Black teas are loaded with polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants, says Theresa Mazza, a holistic nutritionist, chef and certified health education specialist. “Antioxidants help to fight off free radicals in the body and can decrease cell damage and inflammation, along with boosting overall health,” Mazza says. “This can help us better fight off common viruses like the common cold or flu.” A recent study found that drinking black tea on a regular basis will reduce the chances of cardiovascular disorders — and drinking as much as three cups daily improves your antioxidants without adding anything harmful to your body. It also decreases your blood glucose levels and improves your insulin levels (if you don’t add sugar). As long as you can handle the caffeine (black tea has about half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee), Mazza recommends drinking two to three cups daily.