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A glass teapot and mug on the wooden background

Mmmm…what’s more soothing and relaxing as a nice cup of green tea? What’s even better is the fact that, according to study after study, those tiny little tea leaves may be packed with some very powerful potential health benefits.

Why is tea so good for you?

Tea leaves come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea’s major health benefit lies in the antioxidants that it contains. Why are antioxidants so important? They help reduce or prevent some of the damage caused by free radicals, which can damage cells.

Green tea, black tea, white tea…what’s the difference?

The difference between the three main varieties of tea (green, black, and oolong) is the process used to make them. Black tea is exposed to air, or fermented, which darkens the leaves and gives them flavor. Green tea is made by heating or quickly steaming the leaves. Oolong tea leaves are partially fermented.

What are green tea’s other health benefits?

Some studies show that drinking green tea may help curb a few heart disease risk factors, including body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol absorption. However, the FDA denied a petition filed by a green tea maker that wanted to put heart-health claims on its product’s label, ruling that there wasn’t credible scientific evidence to support the claims.

There is some evidence that green tea may help control glucose (or blood sugar) levels; however, that hasn’t been widely tested in people. More research is needed to learn how much green tea would be needed and whether green tea also helps curb body weight and body fat.

What about herbal tea?

Herbal teas are not made from the Camellia sinensis plant and are not really teas at all. Herbal teas are infusions of leaves, roots, bark, seeds, or flowers from other types of plants. Due to this, herbal tea does not contain the same potential health benefits of green, black, or oolong tea.

How To Make The Most Of That Cuppa

Here is the best way to reap the most benefits from every cup of tea:

Drink freshly brewed tea. The beneficial compounds are reduced in instant tea, decaffeinated tea, and bottled tea.

Drink at least three cups of tea. Researchers actually have not determined how many cups of tea you should drink, but people in high tea-drinking regions, such as Asia, tend to drink three cups a day.

Steep for the right amount of time. Three to five minutes is the recommended amount of time for maximizing the benefits.

Note: According to the American Dietetic Association, pregnant women, or those who are breastfeeding shouldn’t drink more than one or two servings of green tea per day.

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