Focus Foods: Tea

Whether you drink yours at breakfast, mid morning break or pre bed time, there is nothing better than a hot cup of tea. 

With 50% of Australians drinking at least one cup a day, tea is a chosen drink by many and can be a healthful addition to your day. Caffeinated or herbal, fruity or spiced, hot or cold--there’s a cup for everyone.

Read on for a run-down of some well-loved and healthy teas.

Green Tea

Though some people find green tea bitter, it’s still a popular option for those wanting a little energy kick, perhaps without the jitteriness some get from coffee. The polyphenols in green tea, known as catechins are also believed to have some powerful benefits--e.g. antiviral properties and potential therapeutic effects for some cancers.

Black Tea

Black tea is made from the same plant as green tea, but it is fermented and has a stronger flavour. Both black tea and green tea have been cited as being protective against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. This is due to certain plant compounds which can improve blood vessel function. Who would have thought!

Tip for consumption: A group of cardiologists and scientists discovered that the casein proteins in milk  bind to the heart-healthy compounds and prevent their positive effect. To reap some benefits, try either drinking it black at times or opt for almond or soy milk.

Rooibos

Rooibos is a red, antioxidant rich and caffeine-free tea. There is some evidence to support its ability to help ease feelings of stress by acting on the adrenal glands’ release of hormones.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus tea has a pleasant, tangy taste and is another caffeine free option. It has an antioxidant content higher than even matcha green tea powder. This may be one of the healthiest things we can drink given the benefits of antioxidants!

Chamomile

This traditional herbal tea has been used to soothe many ailments such as inflammation, ulcers, insomnia, and stomach problems. It’s a wonderful match with lavender as a caffeine-free nightcap when you’re too stressed for sleep.

A word of caution: the strong anti-inflammatory effect of chamomile means it is best avoided during pregnancy.

Lemon Balm

This tea is light, refreshing, and easy to drink any time of day! Its powerful antioxidant capacities were shown to reduce DNA damage and oxidative stress in a study on radiology workers. Next time you’re flying high in a plane or getting x-rays, opt for a cup of lemon grass to help protect your cells.

Which will you try?

No matter your pick, there’s no doubt that tea is a healthy, hydrating option for those who struggle to drink enough water during the day. Just make sure to stick to the least amount of sugar possible--if any!