Tea provides a refreshing drink to perk you up or calm you down, but with so many different types of tea available, here are a few with the most health benefits.
Green tea is well known and extensively researched for its many health benefits. It contains the highest concentration of beneficial phytonutrients of all types of tea. Green tea contains a high concentration of catechins (a group of flavonoids), including epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the most abundant and widely studied tea polyphenol.
The antioxidants in green tea are associated with relieving conditions varying from simple viral or bacterial infections, to degenerative conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis and periodontal disease. Green tea has also shown to alleviate symptoms of illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease and arthritis.
Black tea, like other forms of fermented tea, is a good source of flavonoids called catechins, which are important antioxidants that are associated with helping to prevent certain diseases. This popular tea also contains the most caffeine compared to other teas, as well as an amino acid called theanine, which affect the brain, and have shown to heighten mental alertness.
Drinking four cups of tea a day has been associated with cutting the risk of a heart attack. Studies have linked the consumption of black tea along with green tea in helping to reduce the risk of heart disease, by improving endothelial function (keeping the lining of the arteries open to allow more blood flow) and lowering blood pressure. Black tea has also been found to cuts levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a study at University College London.
Rooibos or Red Bush tea is made from a South African plant that's part of the legume family. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, and is low in tannins. The lower tannin content means that the body can absorb iron more effectively. Other teas like black and green have much higher tannin levels which can cause iron deficiency, and possible interference with digestion.
Rooibos tea contains a high number of antioxidants, and many minerals such as copper, manganese, fluoride, zinc, magnesium and potassium which are great for skin, teeth and bones.
A few other benefits are its natural sedative properties to help with tension and stress and its ability to boost the immune system, provide energy and to hydrate the body.
The health benefits of peppermint tea are mainly due to its active ingredient, menthol. Menthol is known to promote digestion, and relieve stomach cramps by soothing the stomach. The heath benefits of peppermint tea are mainly due to its relaxing effect on the body. It is known as an effective remedy for digestive problems such as irritable bowl syndrome, gallstones, constipation, indigestion, diarrhea and flatulence. Peppermint tea is also a good stress reliever, as it has a soothing and calming effect on the body.
The active menthol in peppermint is an essential ingredient in toothpastes, because of its benefits for oral health. Regular consumption of peppermint tea has been linked to relieving bad breath and protecting the gums from gum disease.
Chamomile tea, made from the flowers of the herb chamomile, has benefits for blood sugar levels. According to Japanese researchers, "daily consumption of chamomile tea with meals could contribute to the prevention of the progress of hyperglycemia and diabetic complications". As well as cutting blood-sugar levels, it appears chemicals in chamomile block activity of an enzyme associated with the development of diabetic eye and nerve damage.
Chamomile is known to relax smooth muscle tissue, so it is useful in things such as calming a nervous stomach and relieving menstrual cramps. The tea is often used to promote relaxation, alleviate stress and induce sleep.