Teas for a healthy mind and body

Do you love sipping an energising cup of green tea when you rise or a calming cup of chamomile before bedtime? You’re in luck: Tea is not just a refreshing drink – it may offer a host of health benefits.

While drinking any tea likely comes with benefits, many teas have their own distinct health perks. So, pour yourself a cup and read on to discover the six best teas for your health.

Green tea may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and promote heart health

Green tea, from the Camellia sinensis plant, has been revered for centuries for its medicinal properties.

One possible reason green tea is so salubrious is its high polyphenol content. Green tea has a lot of polyphenols called catechins, specifically epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has shown to be beneficial for fending off inflammation and chronic disease like certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

For instance, one review found that drinking six or more cups of green tea per day was associated with a 33 per cent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with drinking less than a cup per week.

As for heart disease, a study published in August 2018 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that EGCG may break up and dissolve potentially dangerous protein plaques found in the blood vessels, and thus may lower the odds of someone developing atherosclerosis (the buildup of material in the arteries that can reduce blood flow to the heart and brain). In fact, other research has found that people who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14 per cent lower risk of stroke, compared with those who barely drank it.

Black tea may promote healthy cognition and reduce inflammation

Scientific evidence suggests black tea may play a role in preventing cognitive decline, inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, and potentially cancer.

One study published in January 2016 in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging found that regularly drinking black tea was associated with a lower risk of developing a neurocognitive disorder, such as dementia, in the elderly, particularly for elderly women.

Oolong tea may contribute to healthier cholesterol levels

Have you always opted for green tea? Consider giving its cousin oolong a try. Oolong tea is a partially oxidised tea, in between black and green tea, and its concentration of polyphenols offers many health benefits.

Take, for example, oolong’s potential heart health perks. One study found that drinking more than 2.5 cups of oolong tea daily was associated with lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of dyslipidemia (which is an abnormal amount of lipids, like triglycerides or cholesterol, in the blood). Other research supports oolong’s impact on the heart, suggesting that drinking oolong or green tea regularly was linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Chamomile tea may aid sleep and support immunity

If you’re feeling wired at bedtime, consider sipping a cup of chamomile tea to wind down. Since chamomile tea is an herbal tea that contains no caffeine, it can be a calming beverage before bed.

That’s not all, though. Chamomile tea may support immune health, which we could all use right about now. A review suggests that chamomile tea may help stimulate the immune system, but the researchers do suggest that more clinical trials need to be done.

Ginger tea may help treat nausea and vomiting

Got tummy troubles or a bout of morning sickness? You may want to steep some ginger tea, which is well known for its ability to help ease digestive stress.

According to a review published in March 2016 in the journal Integrative Medicine Insights, ginger, an ancient root known for its medicinal properties, is a safe and effective treatment for nausea and vomiting.

Research also suggests that ginger helps reduce post-chemotherapy nausea in adults with cancer by 40 per cent. Furthermore, gingerols, the compounds that give ginger its characteristic taste and smell, may be useful in therapies that help protect against diseases like diabetes and cancer, that research notes.

Hibiscus tea may play a role in lowering blood pressure

Not only does hibiscus tea – made from dry hibiscus leaves – taste delicious and tangy, but it may help your ticker, too. Research has found that drinking hibiscus tea regularly for six weeks helped lower the blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults compared with a placebo drink, and could be used in tandem with dietary changes to help improve health markers.