There's nothing quite like a delicious, warm cup of tea—except knowing that you benefit from every sip. We spoke with Rene Ficek, registered dietitian nutritionist and Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating (SSHE), about some of the most popular teas and their benefits. With this list, you'll know exactly what to reach for when fighting some of life's most popular ailments.
Ficek says peppermint's relaxant and antispasmodic properties make it an excellent choice for digestive issues. The herb benefits your entire digestive track, meaning less flatulence, less painful gas and less bloating. Ficek also recommends reaching for peppermint when you want to feel more alert.
"The tea is very refreshing, doesn't need to be sweetened and has a real 'pick me up' effect whenever you drink it," she says. "Peppermint tea can also be made using fresh herbs from the garden—and it's one of the easiest herbs to grow."
If you're looking to wake up, Ficek suggests taking your tea like your coffee—black. This is because it "has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas." But caffeine isn't the only reason you should drink up. Ficek says Black tea has been proven to protect lungs from cigarette smoke damage and reduce the risk of strokes.
It's not a secret that green tea carries health benefits. But we bet you didn't know it can help speed up your metabolism, resulting in easier weight loss.
"Green tea has the incredible power to shift your fat-fighting metabolism into high gear, especially in those who exercise," Ficek says. "Researchers found that exercisers who drink green tea lose twice as much as those who don't."
But this beverage doesn't only help you lose weight. Ficek says it's been proven to help prevent colorectal cancers, prevent clogging of the arteries, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, reduce risk stroke, and improve cholesterol levels. Yup, we know what's on our next grocery list!
The next time you feel nauseous, try a steaming cup of ginger tea. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ginger helps promote digestive juices and enzymes that neutralize stomach acids due to its volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds, such as gingerols and shogaols. This root can also be used to treat headaches, diarrhea and even menstrual cramps. To make fresh ginger, Ficek says it's best to simmer the root.
"Make fresh ginger tea by simmering a piece of ginger root on the stove for 10 to 15 minutes—add fresh lemon juice and honey when you have a cold for a powerful germ-fighting combination," she says. "If you're traveling, take along ginger sticks or crystallized ginger instead of travel sickness pills or patches."
When counting sheep fails, Ficek recommends enjoying a soothing cup of chamomile about 30 minutes before bed.
"Traditional healers have long recommended chamomile tea as a simple, healthy (and delicious!) way to relieve anxiety, and current scientific studies support this tea's long-time reputation as a stress reliever and nerve relaxant, showing it to be an effective way to reduce anxiety and depression," she says.
Which tea is your favorite?