Hot tea gets a month to call its own in January, which is perfect timing given the cold temperatures and snow bomb cyclones. Plus, we’d be shorting hot tea (and your health) by only giving it a day — the warm beverage has so many wide-ranging health benefits that it’s a great idea to work a cuppa into your daily routine.
Teas flavonoids can help rev up metabolism and improve blood sugar control, and theanine in tea is a well-documented ally to your immune system. Beyond that, tea has also proven it can help improve heart health and boost mental clarity. In a word, it’s tea-rific.
Celebrate hot tea all month long by making a mug at home or lifting your tea cup at one of these great high tea spots in Chicago.
Not sure which to choose? These are the best teas for your health, broken down by the benefits each provides.
If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight … try black tea
When it comes to weight loss, green tea is typically championed as the MVP. But, black tea can be a team player lending an assist to your weight-loss efforts, too. Researchers at the University of California – Los Angeles were able to show that both black and green teas can promote weight loss by changing bacteria in the gut. The study on mice showed these prebiotic teas changed the ratio of intestinal bacteria, decreasing the kind associated with obesity and increasing the kind linked to lean body mass. In a nutshell, that’s like a healthy BOGO! “The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotics, substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person’s well-being,” explains Susanne Henning, the study’s lead author and an adjunct professor at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, in a news release.
For an all-natural facelift … drink white tea
Before you book your next facial, you might want brew a cup of white tea. Research from Kingston University shows that white tea has a range of healthy benefits, including reducing cancer and rheumatoid arthritis risks. But, it’s a boon for beauty, too. The research demonstrated that white tea prevents enzymes from breaking down elastin and collagen, a process that can otherwise lead to wrinkles.
To fight cavities … drink black tea
Brushing, flossing … and drinking black tea could help ward off cavities. Researchers found that black tea is capable of killing or suppressing acid production of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque. A quick disclaimer though: The study, which was shared at an annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, was funded by the Tea Trade Health Research Association.
To improve memory … drink green tea
Antioxidant-rich green tea boasts several benefits, including helping to prevent cardiovascular disease and turbocharging metabolism. A 2012 study published in “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research,” though, shows that popular green tea can also boost brain cell production to improve memory and spatial learning. Researchers credit this to epigallocatechin-3 gallate, a key property in green tea and well-known antioxidant that can protect against age-related degenerative diseases.
If you want to feel more awake … drink peppermint tea
Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Reach for peppermint tea. Researchers from Northumbria University in the United Kingdom found that peppermint tea helps boost mood and cognition, and improves memory. (Ahem, tea time > afternoon coffee break). Meanwhile, chamomile had a calming and sedative effect, slowing down memory and attention speed. So be sure to save that chamomile tea bag for nighttime when you’re winding down.
To relieve menstrual cramps … drink chamomile tea
Not only is chamomile tea a great way to ward off colds, but it can also help alleviate period cramps. Researchers from England noted that drinking chamomile tea was associated with an increase in urinary levels of glycine, which is an amino acid known to relieve muscle spasms. Because of that, it can help relieve menstrual cramps by relaxing the uterus. Their research on the benefits of chamomile tea was published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, one of the Society’s peer-reviewed journals.
If you want to avoid catching a cold … drink echinacea tea
Echinacea, a popular herbal supplement, can cut your chances of catching a cold by a whopping 58 percent, according to researchers at the University of Connecticut. Already have a cold? Sip on some echinacea tea. Echinacea can also reduce the duration of a common cold by 1.4 days, according to the study that was published in a British medical journal.
If you want to decrease your blood pressure … drink hibiscus tea
Hibiscus tea has proven to lower blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults, according to research presented at an American Heart Association conference. Defined, hypertension is a condition in which blood pressure is chronically high. It affects one-third of U.S. adults. The research was funded by both Agricultural Research Service and Boulder, Colorado-based Celestial Seasonings.
In honor of National Hot Tea Month, we asked Peter Goggi, the president of The Tea Association of the USA, what his go-to tea is on a cold day. His blend includes teas with a good body, malty flavors, and strong citrus notes.
“I love a good strong hot cup of black tea on a cold wintry day, so I make my own blend of tea,” Goggi says.
Here’s exactly how he likes his tea, complete with the regions and tea leaf gradings.
- 1/3 Kenya West of Rift CTC PF
- 1/3 Assam – A good FBOP orthodox tea
- 1/3 Sri Lanka – A flavory FBOP or BOP from Nuwara Eliya distric, which is the highest grown tea in Sri Lanka
“I brew for four minutes and drink with (horrors!) whole milk. A strong brew that makes my day better!”
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Brittany Anas is a freelance writer who specializes in health, fitness and travel writing. She also contributes to Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, Trip Savvy, Simplemost, Orbitz, and Eat This, Not That! She spent a decade working at daily newspapers, including The Denver Post and the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, and she is a former federal background investigator. In her free time, Brittany enjoys hiking with her gremlin-pot belly pig mix that the rescue described as a “Boston Terrier” and coaching youth basketball. She also works with domestic abuse survivors, helping them regain financial stability through career coaching. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram.