Spilling the Tea: The Health Benefits in Every Cup

Whether you drink it hot or cold, tea is a delicious addition whenever you’re settling in with a warm cup before bed or hydrating during a hot day. This tasty beverage not only quenches your thirst, but it’s packed with loads of health and wellness benefits to change your way of life, including reducing stress and anxiety, managing weight, and providing allergy relief. Here’s the tea on tea and how certain types of tea can benefit you and your family.

The primary varieties of tea in the United States include black tea, green tea, white tea, dark tea, and oolong tea. According to the Tea Association of the USA, “Differences among the five types of tea result from the various degrees of processing and the level of oxidization.” These teas undergo a natural chemical reaction that will alter the taste and color of the tea.

Tea doesn’t contain any sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar, and it’s typically calorie-free. The teas derived from the Camellia sinensis plant are also rich in flavonoids, which can play an important role in various areas of a person’s health.

Similar to the saying “there’s an app for that,” when it comes to soothing an ailment or giving your health a boost, there’s likely a tea to help. Here are a few ways tea can play a role in your overall well-being.

Weight Management
Weight-loss teas are among the most popular in tea sales, with green tea being the go-to due to its major components–catechins and caffeine. Remember those flavonoids? Those are important in managing your weight with tea, as tea has a type of flavonoid called catechins. These catechins (and the caffeine!) can boost your metabolism and help break down fats quickly. It’s important to note that the science behind tea and weight management is constantly evolving, so always talk with your doctor before making any decisions on what you should do.

Immunity Boost
Allergy season often feels like it’s more of an everyday occurrence and not a “season,” leading us all to need a little immune system boost to keep us going. Research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University explains that tea contains a component that can help the body ward off infection and disease, and that drinking tea may strengthen the immune system.

Tea Association of the USA explains that L-theanine, found in tea, primes the immune system in fighting infection, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research also indicates that tea’s catechins provide preventive effects on influenza and the common cold, although more research is needed.

Overall Health
Numerous studies have shown that regular consumption of tea can play an active role in a person’s overall health. The Tea Association of the USA shares that tea is an excellent source of flavan-3-ols (flavonoids) and two cups of green or black tea (400-600mg of flavan-3-ols) helps reduce the risk associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and helps to improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. In other studies, white tea is said to be helpful in fighting various forms of cancer, due to being high in antioxidants.

There are a variety of herbal teas, many containing various herbs, spices, and fruits, that all offer a host of benefits. According to Penn Medicine, rooibos improves blood pressure and circulation, boosts good cholesterol, keeps hair strong and skin healthy, and provides relief from allergies. Peppermint tea can soothe an upset stomach, cure constipation, and alleviate motion sickness. It also can provide pain relief from tension headaches and migraines. Ginger fights morning sickness, chronic indigestion, and osteoarthritis, and hibiscus also lowers blood pressure and fat levels, improves overall liver health, and may prevent formation of kidney stones.

Signs of Aging
There are plenty of products on the market claiming to help everyone look younger longer. Among these highly sought-after commodities is anti-aging teas. However, do they really work?

A study published in The Lancet Regional Health–Western Pacific found that tea drinkers showed signs of slower biological aging. The study recommends that those who consume around three cups of tea–6-8g of tea leaves per day–will see the best results. Alternatively, those who stopped drinking tea showed an increase in aging.

Stress & Anxiety
When it comes to relaxation, we’re quick to brew a hot cup of tea and snuggle in our comfiest pajamas to watch our favorite television show. There’s just something about this nightly ritual that helps us settle down for bed, lessen our anxiety, and relax. Well, there’s science behind it! According to a study, six weeks of tea consumption can lead to lower post-stress cortisol and greater subjective relaxation. So yes, those chamomile teas and lavender teas are really working due to the components they’re made of. However, mental wellness is of utmost importance. If you’re experiencing stress and anxiety, always speak with a professional to determine what will best alleviate these symptoms.

Sometimes getting through the day isn’t possible without a little caffeine boost. The stimulant, when consumed in low doses, has proven to help increase alertness, energy, and the ability to concentrate. These benefits are even evident in those living with attention  deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In order to help alleviate their ADHD symptoms, some people have started drinking small amounts of caffeinated tea. In a report, it is said that this tea consumption may be an effective active treatment for adult ADHD. Although, what about the children with ADHD?

A study in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that children with ADHD, who consumed caffeine, showed improved planning and executive function, which encompasses time management, organization, and prioritization skills, along with reduced symptoms of hyperactivity.

Be aware that everyone reacts differently to caffeine, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to lessening ADHD effects. As with everything, it is important to speak with a medical professional to determine what will work best for you.

This article was originally published in May 2024.

Newsletter Signup

Your Weekly guide to Baton Rouge family fun. BR Parents has a newsletter for every parent. Sign Up