It’s steeped in health benefits, loaded with healthy compounds and antioxidants. It is no wonder tea is the most consumed beverage in the world after water.
"Tea is the ideal drink. there are health benefits to drinking tea from lowering your cholesterol to possibly even helping you lose weight," said Kate Lowenstein, health director of Prevention Magazine.
Lowenstein helped break down the different types of tea and their benefits. First, many people don’t know that green, black, white and oolong tea all come from the same plant called Camellia sinensis. They are just processed differently, but they all give the body a boost.
"Tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, and that has been found to improve your immune function which makes it great for cold season. L-theanine is also good for memory and metal alertness," Lowenstein said.
Herbal teas, on the other hand, are from all different plants and each has it’s own benefit. So which one to drink? Well it all depends on your issue.
For example, black and green teas have high levels of a compound known to reduce inflammation and the risk for heart disease.
Green and white teas are great for the skin because they are packed with antioxidants that protect it from pollutants and sun damage.
"If you want to help your digestion, peppermint tea and chamomile tea can be great. Chamomile has oils in that soothe the muscles in the digestive tract which an help with indigestion and make digestion easier," Lowenstein said. "Peppermint tea contains menthol which kills bacteria that causes bloating and it also can soothe muscles in the digestive tract."
For a calming effect, black tea has been found to help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And hibiscus tea is said the help lower blood pressure.
"If want an all around healthy tea, green tea is the way to go, there is research that finds that it lowers cholesterol, some green tea drinkers reduce their risk of heart attack," Lowenstein said. "Green tea can lower the risk of certain cancers. And certain antioxidants in green tea have been linked to weigh loss."
The best way to drink tea is straight up -- try not to add milk and sugar. The protein in milk can block the antioxidants in the tea from absorbing and sugar is an inflammatory, which will counteract that anti-inflammatory agents in the tea.
Experts say you should consumer 2-3 cups of tea per day to receive the full benefit. So start brewing, because drinking your way to healthy living may just be your cup of tea.