On a chilly morning, there’s nothing quite as comforting as a steaming cup of English Breakfast. With a splash of milk and a dash of sugar, of course. But did you know that when it comes to your health, a cuppa can be so much more than just a winter warmer?
Want to know more? Read on for our guide to the health benefits of certain teas, and a countdown of our favourite varieties.
With its delicate flavour and low caffeine count, green tea is a wonderful alternative to traditional black brews. The tips of the leaves are picked early, then dried and heat-treated ASAP. This stops the fermentation process and retains antioxidants. This means green tea is packed full of catechins, which actively fight off everything from cancer to heart disease. In fact, one study even found that a daily cup of green tea may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The name may sound a little odd, but oolong is actually one of the healthiest teas you can drink. It has a deliciously rich taste, and a shorter fermentation time than traditional black tea. This means it retains its antioxidants, which contribute to healthy bones, stronger teeth and radiant skin. If you’re looking to shed a few kilos oolong can work wonders. According to experts it activates the enzyme responsible for dissolving triglycerides, aka fat. If there was ever a reason to swap that bar of Whittaker’s for a cup of oolong, this is it!
Picked just after they sprout, white tea leaves have a delicate flavour and transparent tannins. If you love a cuppa but don’t want a buzz, white tea contains just 15 milligrams of caffeine. It also has proven cardiovascular and cancer-fighting benefits, with some studies even suggesting that it can improve glucose tolerance and reduce LDL cholesterol.
If you suffer from gas and bloating, peppermint tea could be your new secret weapon. Naturopaths swear by it as a solution for easing symptoms, and relieving muscle spasms. It also works its minty magic on nausea, which makes it a great go-to tea for pregnancies. Why not grow your own herbs and make your own freshly brewed, organic peppermint tea?
Coveted as a digestive aid, sipping on a cup of ginger tea after meal can make you feel lighter, and more energetic. It’s also great for easing upset stomachs, and curing motion sickness. Buy a box of teabags, or make your own by gently simmering a knob of ginger root in a pot of water for 15 minutes. Throw in a dash of lemon juice and honey for a powerful immune system boost.
Gentle and calming, chamomile tea is a known sedative made from daisy-like flowers. If you suffer from insomnia or stress, a daily cup of chamomile tea can be incredibly soothing. It’s also known for its digestive properties, and can even help to relieve coughs and bronchitis. Just be sure to steep it for several minutes to reap the full benefits.
High in vitamin C and a string of other minerals, rooibos is amazingly easy to drink. It’s best known for its antioxidant properties, which help to fight off disease, soften the skin and give drinkers a healthy glow. If you suffer from eczema or psoriasis, some dermatologists swear by a daily cup of rooibos.
Lemon balm tea
Invigorating and easy to grow, lemon balm tea is remarkably effective at banishing the winter blahs. It wakes up the mind, and can even help to improve concentration. Brew in the morning, and try adding a spoonful of honey or maple syrup for extra flavour.
Milk thistle and dandelion tea
If you love a daily glass of wine but are a little worried about your liver, why not add milk thistle or dandelion tea to your diet? Both are gentle liver cleansers, and help the vital organ function in top gear. Some nutritionists also claim that they fast-track bile production, which helps with digestion.
Rosehip oil is the key to a sumptuously soft complexion, so it makes sense that rosehip tea is kind to your body. It’s loaded with Vitamin C, which is an essential part of a maintaining a strong immune system. It also promotes skin and tissue health, which will help you get a gorgeous winter glow.
With so many flavours and varieties to choose from, your winter tea stash has never looked so good! Brew in the morning for a healthy wake-up call, enjoy an invigorating afternoon cuppa, or sip before bed for instant relaxation. Want to continue your tea love affair long after winter has passed? Simply brew in batches, then decant into a carafe. Store in the fridge for a refreshing tea hit that tastes amazing, and nourishes your body.