Teas can come in a variety of different forms, providing a vast amount of flavors. Between "true teas," which are single-origin and only contain leaves from tea plants and other herbal mixtures, there's almost no limit to what you can discover when it comes to this drink. But the pros of drinking teas don't stop there, and this beverage also has numerous health benefits.
So which tea is the healthiest?
The benefits that can come from drinking tea do vary depending on the kind of brew you use, but that's part of the appeal. Different teas can help bolster various aspects of your health, and we have some of the best possible options listed out on our guide to the healthiest tea options out there.
Chamomile is one of many herbal tea varieties, often derived from daisy-like plants, and it has a sweeter, earthy taste—and it’s also our first healthy tea pick! Since the leaves don't come from the tea plant, they're caffeine-free, giving them flavor without any of the potential caffeine jitters. It's also possible to find chamomile as an ingredient in many cosmetics.
The major draw of chamomile tea is its calming properties, and drinking it can help reduce stress and even insomnia. Chamomile may also help alleviate symptoms of upset stomachs, headaches, and gut disorders. People with diabetes and ulcers can also benefit from this tea, making it one of the best teas for health!
As the number one in terms of worldwide popularity, black teas earn their position as one of the healthiest teas you can get. As one of the "true tea" types, black tea goes through rolling and oxidizing, which provides their darker colors. These processes account for this variety's intense and earthy flavors, as well as its high caffeine content, which is the highest of the three.
Aside from "true teas" naturally containing no sugars, the black variety has antioxidants. In particular, theaflavins can help protect overall heart health by assisting with lowering blood pressure and improving total blood circulation. Additionally, black teas can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and levels of certain types of cholesterol, such as LDL, making it a contender for the healthiest tea to drink.
For a similar taste and preparation to black tea, oolong is one of the best teas for your health. Where it differs from black tea is its short fermentation process, which contributes to its more nuanced, aromatic flavor. Additionally, it falls lower on the caffeine scale than black tea, putting it close to the midrange in that regard.
In terms of health benefits, drinking oolong tea can help activate certain enzymes in the body—specifically the ones that target triglycerides. If you're unfamiliar, this is a type of dietary fat that makes up fat cells. Since oolong helps target triglycerides, it can help with losing weight. It also has potential benefits of boosting metabolic rate, which is also helpful.
White teas don't have as strong of a flavor as other "true" varieties, but that doesn't mean that they don't match up with other healthy teas to drink. The plucking of these leaves early in their growth cycle and the low levels of processing are responsible for the flavor, plus also contributes to the fact that white teas contain a lower level of caffeine in comparison to their other "true tea" counterparts.
As we saw with black teas, white teas do have some antioxidant benefits, but where this variety truly stands out is in helping with skin health. The high levels of antioxidants can help reduce breakouts and wrinkles, plus anti-inflammatory properties that can help with conditions like dandruff or eczema make this tea powerhouse in boosting skin health.
Jasmine tea has its base in green tea leaves, but it also adds jasmine flowers to provide a distinctive smell and flavor. The aroma of jasmine itself is overall soothing, and it can have benefits in regulating someone's mood. Additionally, the flower blossoms have a link to boosted physical well being and even have the potential to help in stress-relieving therapies.
Both the tea leaves themselves and jasmine flowers are rich in antioxidants, so you'll gain the benefits of this composition when drinking such teas. Antioxidants have several benefits, such as reducing the impact of age-related damage on the body. Based on some observations, jasmine tea may also be able to help with maintaining mental health into old age, earning this variety a spot on our list of the healthiest teas to drink.
As another herbal variety, peppermint tea has a classic taste that's simultaneously appealing and refreshing—part of what makes it one of the most commonly used herbal types in the world. Peppermint oils themselves have many benefits, such as helping relieve symptoms of stress, nausea, indigestion, and stomach pain, and those factors are also present in tea made from peppermint's leaves.
Peppermint tea's most well-known point of health appeal is its support of digestive tract health, unsurprising given the benefits of the plant itself. However, the tea doesn't stop there. It also contains many antioxidants alongside antiviral properties. Drinking peppermint tea can also assist with cancer prevention, thanks to its features.
If you had guessed that our healthiest tea pick would be green tea, you'd be right, since this variety has taken the number one slot. While it uses the same types of leaves as the black and white varieties, this type goes straight from the plant to going through the drying and rolling process. From there, different methods like steaming, pan-frying, and roasting gives brews their distinctive flavors.
When it comes to health benefits, you'll find that green tea has a high level of antioxidants inside, which can help prevent signs of aging and the decline of cognitive function, thanks to its capability to boost memory recall. Additionally, some studies show that green tea can help prevent the development of cancer, and it’s an overall effective weight loss drink. We’d say all that makes this the healthiest type of tea.
When it comes to picking out the healthiest tea in the world, there's almost no way to go wrong. It may be hard to answer “What is the healthiest tea to drink?”, green tea is chock full of antioxidants and the like, but each brew can have a distinct effect which may be better for your health vs. someone else's. Most likely, you'll get something good out of your cup!