Produced from the Camellia sinensis plant, tea comes in thousands of varieties, each offering different health benefits and unique tastes and scents. Below, see nutrition and flavor profiles for the five main types of tea.
By Maria Oldham
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This is the purest form of tea, as it is the least processed, so its antioxidants (polyphenols) are more potent.
Flavor profile: Milder than most other teas because of how it is created – young tea buds and leaves are simply steamed and dried – white tea offers a delicate, naturally sweet taste.
Benefits: great for weight loss and heart health; ECGC antioxidants prevent new fat cells from forming and fight wrinkles; may help prevent colon cancer; contains less caffeine than other varieties
*Contains about 15mg of caffeine per cup
Primarily produced in Japan and China, green tea is created from tea leaves which have been picked, dried, and then steamed (Japanese) or roasted (Chinese) to prevent fermentation.
Flavor profile: Often blended with other herbs, flowers, or fruits, green tea offers a variety of flavor choices: sweet and earthy, nutty, or fruity.
Benefits: great for overall health; three to five cups a day may lower risk of ovarian, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers; may help prevent or slow the onset of dementia; each daily cup may lower risk of cardiovascular disease by 10 percent
*Contains about 25mg of caffeine per cup
This fully fermented tea is the most common variety, accounting for 75 percent of the world’s tea consumption.
Flavor profile: A full-bodied, slightly bitter taste is the product of black tea leaves being rolled, fermented, dried, and then crushed.
Benefits: great for fresh breath; antioxidants (polyphenols) fight plaque buildup; helps prevent belly fat; glucose-inhibiting properties of polysaccharides may help prevent diabetes; three or more cups a day may reduce risk of stroke by 21 percent; may be effective in reducing risk of ovarian cancer
*Contains about 40mg of caffeine per cup
Also known as wu long and often served in Chinese restaurants, oolong tea can be combined with flowers, fruits, or spices to create a bold taste and scent.
Flavor profile: Fermented for a shorter period of time than black tea leaves, oolong tea leaves are bruised and pan-fired, producing a rich, full-bodied tea with a sweet aroma.
Benefits: great for weight loss; boosts metabolism; antioxidants (polyphenols) help block fat-building enzymes
*Contains about 30mg of caffeine per cup
Although technically not tea (it isn’t made from the Camellia sinensis plant), herbal tea is a blend of dried herbs, flowers, or fruits brewed like tea leaves. The three types include mate, rooibos, and herbal infusions.
Flavor profile: A blend of herbs, fruits, or flowers, herbal tea presents a wide variety of flavor options, ranging from sweet and mild to fruity and bold.
Benefits: varying blends may help lower blood pressure (hibiscus), promote sleep (chamomile), and settle the stomach (peppermint).
*Contains no caffeine
Expert’s Choice of the Month
elderberry & echinacea with elderflower by Pukka
“I chose this tea because it’s wonderful for flu season,” says Nutrition World manager Cady Welch. “Elderberry and Echinacea are boosting to the immune system and soothing to the throat. Plus, I love its fruity flavor!”
$6.99 at Nutrition World
DR. OZ RECOMMENDS
Peppermint Tea – for regularity
Valerian Root Tea – for sleep
Nettle Tea – for allergies
Licorice Root Tea – for a sore throat or a sweet tooth
Ginseng Tea – for a libido boost
Yerba Mate Tea – for weight loss
Passionflower Tea – for anxiety