We often envision therapeutic teas being brewed from herbs known for their healing qualities. But real tea, be it black, green, white, or somewhere in between (known as oolong), offers its own health perks. Here are 10 ways to benefit from this age-old beverage.
1. Drink Up
Experts from leading American universities, including Harvard and Johns Hopkins, ranked tea second only to water as a healthful drink. The group’s recommendations, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included drinking up to 40 ounces daily, avoiding extra calories from sweeteners and creamers, and limiting daily caffeine intake to 400 mg, or 300 mg for pregnant women.
2. Choose More or Less Caffeine
Although many decaffeinated versions are available, caffeine content varies naturally among different types of teas. Black contains about 50 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup, about half that of coffee; green contains about 25 mg of caffeine per cup; oolong ranges somewhere in between the two, and white comes in lowest, with 15–20 mg per cup.
3. Pick Your Color
All tea, except for red tea (e.g., rooibos), comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, but fermentation influences color. Black is fully fermented; oolong, which is lighter in color, is only slightly fermented; and white and green varieties are not fermented at all. White tea is made from buds and young leaves, while mature leaves produce green tea. The exact nutrient composition of each type varies, as does taste, but they all convey handsome benefits.
4. Love Your Heart
Numerous studies support the venerable brew’s role in preventing heart disease by keeping blood vessels functioning well and aiding in the control of cholesterol and triglycerides. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that drinking one to two cups of black tea daily lowered risk for atherosclerosis by 46 percent, and more than four cups daily lowered risk by 69 percent. Another study, published in the journal Circulation, found that tea drinkers were more likely to survive a heart attack.