8 Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits

8 Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits

How these popular beverages can boost your wellness in many ways.

By: Maressa Brown

Coffee may be the hot beverage that gets you up and at ‘em every morning, but tea has more than one undeniable power. In fact, when we talk about tea, it’s almost impossible to generalize about its many health benefits because there are simply so many varieties to sip for a number of reasons. Which one’s right for you? Here, the benefits of eight popular teas.

1. Green: Brimming with antioxidants, green tea serves as a pick-me-up and also has been shown in various studies to offer an anti-hypertensive effect, help with healthy weight maintenance, and protect brain health. But that’s not all: An article in the journal Nutrition and Cancer states that it may stave off cancer, as extracts of green tea and green tea polyphenols have actually inhibited the formation and development of tumors at different organ sites in animals. So drink up!

2. Chai: While there are many versions of this popular tea drink, the traditional recipe for chai calls for black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs, such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. The health benefits of the mixture are numerous: Not only is black tea full of antioxidants, but the spices enhance circulation and aid digestion, and cinnamon actually has been shown to balance blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol.

3. Red (rooibos): Some say caffeine-free, red rooibos tea -- which grows only in the Cedarberg region near Cape Town, South Africa -- boasts more powerful health benefits than green tea. One animal study from Pediatrics International notes that the brew is packed with flavonoids aspalathin and nothofagin, which have stronger anti-oxidative activity than other flavonoids. As a result, researchers found the tea may prevent DNA damage and inflammation.

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4. Black: Since green tea has become so popular, the more basic, caffeinated black tea -- often used in English breakfast teas – has lost its place in the spotlight. But it deserves credit for its healing abilities, too! Researchers state in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that clear evidence shows drinking anywhere from one to six cups of black tea a day could lower risk of coronary heart disease, thanks to its polyphenols.

5. Kava: This plant has been used in beverages for thousands of years in its native South Pacific but only recently popped up as a tea aimed at reducing stress. And while caution is encouraged when taking kava in any form, it has been shown to be effective for addressing anxiety. According to the National Institutes of Health, the majority of evidence shows that certain kava extracts (standardized to 70 percent kavalactones) can lower anxiety and might work as well as prescription anti-anxiety medications called low-dose benzodiazepines. Promising research also shows it may help alleviate insomnia.

6. Chamomile: This is typically the “go-to” tea for calming down, but it offers much more. An article published in Molecular Medicine Reports explains how the tea can actually dispel gas, soothe the stomach, and relax the muscles that move food through the intestines. No wonder it has been used to address colic in infants and diarrhea in children. It may also boost your body’s antibacterial response to help fight off infections.


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7. White: White tea, a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested primarily in China, has been shown to reduce risk of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and even physical signs of aging. Researchers from Kingston University in the U.K. found white tea’s high levels of inflammation-fighting antioxidants are linked to these effects.

8. Oolong: There is a traditional Chinese belief that this tea can help regulate body weight, so researchers have put it to the test. In one study published in theJournal of Nutrition, it did appear to slightly increase metabolic rate and fat oxidation. It may also lower bad cholesterol and body fat, noted a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Which of these teas are your favorite, and why?

Maressa Brown is a senior staff writer for The Stir. She loves writing about and reading up on health/fitness, relationships, and pop culture -- preferably on a beach somewhere.

Image ©iStock.com/DragonImages

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