By Kristin Yancy
What do the Queen of England, Ghandi, and your voice teacher all have in common?
Easy. A cup of tea. Tea has long been considered a source of happiness and good health in Eastern medicine, and researchers have come to agree that there are some serious health benefits inside that steaming cup of English Breakfast. So swap your morning coffee habit and read on to pick the leaf that’s best for you!
Green Tea Perhaps the most widely known ‘healthy’ tea option, green tea has a high concentration of EGCC, a potent antioxidant that may help prevent many types of cancer (including breast, lung, and stomach), may improve your cholesterol, and comes with a whole host of other benefits, such as the potential to help your body burn fat and reducing future risk of clogged arteries. There are many varieties, but some to look for on the shelf are Bangkok, Gunpowder Green, Sencha, and Organic Green Teas.
Black Tea This is your energy booster. Black teas generally have more caffeine. Although these leaves are more processed than other tea options, black tea still contains some of the same health goodness as green tea, and some studies show that black tea may help protect your lungs from damage caused by secondhand smoke. Examples include Earl Gray, English Breakfast, English Afternoon Tea, Irish Breakfast, and Masala Chai.
White Tea Because white teas are generally the least processed, they contain the highest amount of flavanoids, the name given to the type of antioxidants in tea that help neutralize free radicals in the body [free radicals are the cells that make us age and can also make us more prone to certain diseases]. Because of this, white tea is thought to have the most anti-cancer properties. Try Royal Wedding, White Peach, White Earl Gray, or Chinese Silver Needle.
Oolong Tea The cholesterol fighter, research seems to indicate that drinking this tea most commonly leads to lower cholesterol levels later in life. Look for Darjeeling, Thai, Asaam Smoked Oolong, and African; and check for delicious flavors like pomegranate and magnolia.
Pu-erh Tea A form of black tea where the leaves are fermented and pressed, Pu-erh tea may help prevent weight gain. Pu-erh teas will be labeled as such, and come either raw (usually rolled into strands) or ripe (which has been aged and comes either loose or compressed).
When you’re in the mood for tea time think brewed over bottled. Bottled teas may contain large amounts of sugar and sweeteners, and the more the leaves have been processed, the less health boost per glass.