Regularly drinking tea can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of several diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and cancer. Learn more about the most famous tea types and the health benefits associated with each one.
Tea Types and Benefits
Before we start, it’s important to be able to distinguish a true tea from a herbal tea. True teas (green tea, black tea, and oolong tea) are brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Herbal teas, on the other hand, are not true teas at all. They are made from dried fruits, flowers, spices or herbs. This means herbal teas can come in a wide range of tastes and flavors and make a tempting alternative to sugary beverages or water.
Here’s a list of my favorite tea types and the health benefits associated with each one:
Tea Benefits: Good for bloating, allergies, acne, and weight loss
Green tea is touted to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. It’s loaded with antioxidants that have many health benefits, which may include improved brain function, fat loss, protecting against cancer, and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Green tea is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, including a catechin called EGCG. These antioxidants can have various beneficial effects on health, such as reducing inflammation and helping to fight cancer.
Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.
Green tea may boost metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree. Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.
Several studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some controlled studies show that green tea may cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Last but not least, green tea may lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Studies show that people who drink green tea have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Finally, studies show that people who drink green tea may live longer than those who don’t.
Steeping time: 2 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for sleep, headaches, anxiety, and bloating
Chamomile tea is most commonly known for its calming effects, and is frequently used as a sleep aid. In one study of 80 postpartum women experiencing sleep issues, drinking chamomile tea for two weeks led to improved sleep quality and fewer symptoms of depression.
It is also believed to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting effects. Studies in mice and rats have found preliminary evidence that chamomile may help fight diarrhea and stomach ulcers.
One study also found that chamomile tea reduced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, while another study in people with type 2 diabetes saw improvements in blood glucose, insulin and blood lipid levels.
Steeping time: 2-3 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for bloating, nausea, PMS, and bad breath
Peppermint tea is one of the most commonly used herbal teas in the world. It is most popularly used to support digestive tract health. Several studies have confirmed peppermint’s beneficial effects on the digestive tract. Several studies have shown that preparations of peppermint oil, which often included other herbs as well, can help relieve indigestion, nausea and stomach pain.
Evidence also shows that peppermint oil is effective at relaxing spasms in the intestines, esophagus and colon. Lastly, studies have repeatedly found that peppermint oil is effective at relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, when you experience digestive discomfort, whether it be from cramping, nausea or indigestion, peppermint tea is a great natural remedy to try.
Steeping time: 1-3 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for high blood pressure, and respiratory diseases
Hibiscus tea is made from the colorful flowers of the hibiscus plant. It has a pink-red color and refreshing, tart flavor. It can be enjoyed hot or iced.
Hibiscus tea has antiviral properties, and test-tube studies have shown its extract to be highly effective against strains of the bird flu. However, no evidence has shown that drinking hibiscus tea could help you fight off viruses like the flu.
Hibiscus tea has been shown to have a positive effect on high blood pressure. In fact, many studies have found that hibiscus tea reduced high blood pressure, although most studies were not high quality.
Steeping time: 4-5 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for weight loss, and to boost the metabolism.
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from the partially oxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. In addition to caffeine, oolong tea contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and beneficial tea polyphenol antioxidants.
The polyphenol antioxidants may help maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the evidence is mixed and more research is needed. Oolong tea may help decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure in some people. The combination of caffeine and polyphenols found in oolong tea may help increase the amount of calories and fat burned each day. This could ultimately help speed up weight loss.
Recent reviews show that tea may help maintain brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The caffeine, antioxidant and theanine content of teas may have beneficial effects on brain function and mood.
Steeping time: 3 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for the immune system, inflammation and colds
In many parts of the world, “chai” is simply the word for tea. However, in the Western world, the word chai has become synonymous with a type of fragrant, spicy Indian tea more accurately referred to as masala chai. Chai tea is traditional Indian milky tea made from a blend of black tea, ginger and other spices.
Chai tea contains cinnamon and black tea, both of which may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, studies that directly investigate the effects of chai tea are needed. The cinnamon and ginger found in chai tea may help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
The chai tea ingredients ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves may help reduce nausea, prevent bacterial infections and support proper digestion. Chai tea contains several ingredients that may work together to promote weight loss. However, stay away from the sweetened versions sold usually at the supermarkets.
Steeping time: 5 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for fat burn, immunity, and detoxification
Matcha has skyrocketed in popularity lately, with matcha shots, lattes, teas, and even desserts appearing everywhere from health stores to coffee shops. Like green tea, matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, it’s grown differently and has a unique nutrient profile. Matcha contains the nutrients from the entire tea leaf, which results in a greater amount of caffeine and antioxidants than typically found in green tea.
Matcha contains a concentrated amount of antioxidants, which may reduce cell damage and prevent chronic disease. Some studies have shown that matcha could prevent liver damage and decrease the risk of liver disease. Matcha has been shown to improve attention, memory, and reaction time. It also contains caffeine and L-theanine, which can improve several aspects of brain function.
Test tube and animal studies have found that the compounds in matcha may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Studies show that green tea and matcha can decrease several heart disease risk factors. Finally, some studies show that green tea extract helps increase metabolism and fat burning, both of which may aid weight loss.
Steeping time: 1-3 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for stress, weight loss, and detoxification
Just like green tea and black tea, white tea is also made from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, different processing methods give them their unique flavors and aromas.
White tea is the least processed of the three teas, and so it retains a high amount of antioxidants. These help reduce chronic inflammation by protecting the body against damage from free radicals. Polyphenols like those found in white tea may help relax blood vessels, boost immunity and prevent bad cholesterol from becoming oxidized. These factors may help lower the risk of heart disease.
White tea is a good source of caffeine and catechins like EGCG. These two compounds may have a synergistic effect that helps the body burn fat and boost metabolism. Test-tube studies have found that white tea extract suppressed several types of cancer cells and stopped them from spreading. However, more human research is needed. Studies have also shown that polyphenols like those found in white tea may lower the risk of insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control.
Compounds found in white tea, including the polyphenols called catechins, may lower the risk of osteoporosis by promoting bone growth and suppressing bone breakdown. White tea and its compounds may protect the skin from damage linked to aging. This includes external damage from the sun’s UV rays and internal damage from cellular components that may harm the skin’s fiber network.
EGCG, which is found in white tea, has been linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. EGCG may help fight inflammation and prevent proteins from clumping and damaging nerves, two conditions linked with these disorders.
Steeping time: 1-3 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for bloating, cold, upset stomach, and sore throat
Ginger tea is a spicy and flavorful drink that packs a punch of healthy, disease-fighting antioxidants. It also helps fight inflammation and stimulates the immune system.
It is most well known for being an effective remedy for nausea, as showed in several studies, especially in early pregnancy, but also when caused by cancer treatments and motion sickness. Evidence also suggests that ginger may help prevent stomach ulcers and relieve indigestion or constipation.
Ginger may also help relieve dysmenorrhea, or period pain. A number of studies have found that ginger capsules reduced pain associated with menstruation. In fact, two studies found ginger to be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen at relieving period pain. Finally, some studies have found that ginger supplements helped with blood sugar control and blood lipid levels.
Steeping tie: 4-5 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for the immune system, colds, and to relieve pain
Echinacea tea is an extremely popular remedy that’s said to prevent and shorten the common cold. Evidence has shown that echinacea may help boost the immune system, which could help the body fight off viruses or infections.
Many studies have found that echinacea can shorten the duration of the common cold, lessen the severity of its symptoms or even prevent it.
Steeping time: 15 minutes
Earl Grey (Bergamot) Tea
Tea Benefits: Good for oral care, digestion, and stress relief
Bergamot tea is made by combining black tea and bergamot orange extract. Commonly known as Earl Grey tea, it has been enjoyed worldwide for hundreds of years. Since it received its nickname from the British prime minister Earl Grey, bergamot tea is often considered English. However, it’s native to Southeast Asia and widely cultivated in Southern Italy today.
Bergamot is rich in beneficial plant compounds known as polyphenols, which act as antioxidants, which fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and diseases. Research on bergamot juice and supplements, as well as on black tea, suggests that bergamot tea may improve heart health and digestion.
Steeping time: 3-5 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for bone strenght, lower risk of brain strockes, and signs of ageing
Yellow tea is a variety of tea that is native to China. This variety of tea is quite expensive and is not produced everywhere. The process of making this tea is similar to that of green tea but with an added step, which involves encasing and steaming the tea. As the tea oxidizes at a slower rate, it gets the mellow taste. This tea has gained popularity because of its smooth and silky texture.
For healthy and strong bones, as well as lower joint pain, you can consider drinking yellow tea. Drinking yellow tea can also thin your blood, which can Help the blood circulation and prevent brain strokes. The antioxidants in yellow tea take care of free radicals and fight the signs of ageing like wrinkles and blemishes. The antioxidants present in the yellow tea serve yet another purpose: to help your brain function better. It will make you more aware and alert, and improve your mental reflexes.
Steeping time: 1-2 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for weight loss and brain function
Jasmine tea is a type of tea, scented with the aroma of blossoms from the jasmine plant. It’s typically based on green tea, but sometimes black or white tea is used instead. Jasmine tea is high in polyphenols that act as antioxidants in your body. It also contains the powerful polyphenol EGCG, which is linked to many health benefits like reduced heart disease risk.
Jasmine tea made from green tea may aid weight loss by boosting your metabolism. Jasmine tea polyphenols may help protect against heart disease by preventing LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing and potentially clogging your arteries. Jasmine tea contains caffeine and L-theanine, which may help keep you more alert and vigilant. Plus, it may improve short-term memory.
Jasmine tea is packed with powerful polyphenols, which may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Studies show that drinking jasmine green tea may help your body use insulin more effectively and reduce blood sugar levels. This may help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Steeping time: 3-4 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for the immune system, weight loss, and heart health
Darjeeling tea is a well-known tea variety that is exported around the world. It grows in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. Darjeeling tea is unique because the leaves can be processed in different ways, resulting in black, green, white, or oolong tea.
Darjeeling tea is rich in antioxidants, which are known to combat free radicals in the body, neutralize chemicals during digestion, and eliminate toxins. A cup of tea provides useful hydration to the body and helps combat dehydration. Darjeeling tea helps the body regulate the production of cortisol, known as a stress hormone, and reduce stress.
Steeping time: 3-5 minutes
Lemon Balm (Cidreira) Tea
Tea Benefits: Good for sleep aid and digestion
Lemon balm tea has a light, lemony flavor. In a small study in 28 people who drank either barley tea or lemon balm tea for six weeks, the lemon balm tea group had improved elasticity of the arteries. Arterial stiffness is considered a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and mental decline. In the same study, those who drank lemon balm tea also had increased skin elasticity, which typically tends to decline with age.
Another small study in radiology workers found that drinking lemon balm tea twice a day for one month increased the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which help protect the body from oxidative damage to cells and DNA. As a result, participants also showed improved markers of lipid and DNA damage.
Preliminary evidence has also suggested that lemon balm may improve high blood lipid levels. Furthermore, a number of studies have shown that lemon balm improved mood and mental performance. Two studies including 20 participants evaluated the effects of different dosages of lemon balm extract. They found improvements in both calmness and memory. Another small study found that lemon balm extract helped reduce stress and improve math processing skills. Finally, another small study found that lemon balm tea reduced the frequency of heart palpitations and anxiety.
Steeping time: 5-10 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for bone health and reduced heart disease risk
Rooibos is an herbal tea that comes from South Africa. It is made from the leaves of the rooibos or red bush plant. South Africans have historically used it for medicinal purposes, but there is verylittle scientific research on the topic.
One study has shown that rooibos tea may benefit bone health. One test-tube study suggests that it might stimulate the cells involved in bone growth and density. The same study found that italso lowered markers of inflammation and cell toxicity.
Moreover, preliminary evidence shows that rooibos tea may help prevent heart disease. One study found that rooibos tea inhibited an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict, similarly to how a common blood pressure medication does. Also, another study found that drinking six cups of rooibos tea daily for six weeks lowered blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and fat, while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
Steeping time: 5-6 minutes
Tea Benefits: Good for the cognitive function and memory
Sage tea is well-known for its medicinal properties, and scientific research has begun to support several of its health benefits, especially for brain health. A number of test-tube, animal and human studies have shown that sage is beneficial for cognitive function, as well as potentially effective against the effects of the plaques involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, two studies on oral sage drops or sage oil found improvements in the cognitive function of those with Alzheimer’s disease, although the studies had limitations. Moreover, sage appears to provide cognitive benefits for healthy adults as well. A number of studies found improvements in mood, mental function and memory in healthy adults after they took one of several different types of sage extract.
What’s more, one small human study found that sage tea improved blood lipid levels, while another study in rats found that sage tea protected against the development of colon cancer.
Steeping time: 3-5 minutes
If you live in Malta, you can check Holland & Barrett’s website to buy tea online.
Check other posts about a healthy lifestyle in the Wellbeing & Lifestyle section of my blog