Don’t be so quick to pass off tea as your little sister’s stuffed animals’ favorite imaginary pastime or grandmother’s before-bed ritual. Tea, like water, saves you the calories found in sodas and juices and it packs a flavor that is anything but boring. With less caffeine, it is a great alternative to coffee and can be energizing or relaxing, depending on the variety you choose. For thousands of years tea has been linked to health and happiness in the East. More recently Western researchers have discovered tea may indeed be beneficial for our brains and hearts, and may even prevent cancer. While herbal brews are technically not considered teas, they may still boast health benefits of their own. However, keep in mind that they contain lower concentrations of polyphenols, the antioxidant responsible for helping us stay cancer and disease-free. To get the maximum health benefits from your future go-to beverage, stick to these 4 tea varieties:
•Green tea: Popular in China and Japan, this type is made with steamed tealeaves. It has been widely studied and found to have a high concentration of EGCG. In addition to its cancer fighting and cholesterol level-improving abilities, the antioxidants in this tea may burn fat (we’re all for strengthening our forces against the freshman 15).
• Black tea: If you need a mid-afternoon energy boost, skip the nap and sip on some black tea. Made with fermented tealeaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content. 75 percent of the world drinks this variety, and it forms the basis for many flavored teas and instant teas. Good news for your favorite smoky hangout spot: black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke.
•White tea: White tea is not dried out or exposed to air. While further studies should be done to prove conclusiveness, white tea is suspected to contain the most potent anticancer properties.
• Oolong tea: This wilted tea may improve bad cholesterol levels. You may have heard of Wuyi, the variety of oolong tea that is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement. However, stay skeptical of this one, as claims have not been backed by science. Chose it instead for its capacity to keep your skin clear and glowing.
Reach for any of these varieties of tea rather than soda or plain water and let your body reap the health benefits. Read more about CL’s favorite kinds of tea here.
Natalie Raymond is a graduate student at Texas Christian University. Follow her at @nsr61590. To stay tuned to more articles for classy co-eds be sure to follow College Lifestyles on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.