Tea Time: Understanding What’s in Your Cup

by | May 15, 2019 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

Rachelle Beltnick

If you enjoy drinking tea, you are not alone! Tea is consumed worldwide and has been a popular beverage since ancient times. All tea (black, green, white, oolong and pu-erh) is made from the Camellia sinensis leaf. With little processing, tea can have many health supporting nutrients! Herbal teas, which are a blend of dried fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices and/or flowers, are not technically tea. But let’s include them here because they also have amazing health benefits! Not to mention, they taste great.

What’s in your cup?

While each tea and herbal blend has its own unique properties, enjoying a cup of your favorite may have the following health benefits:

  • Caffeine and antioxidants, such as catechins and epicatechins, are thought to speed up our metabolism and potentially increase weight loss.
  • Polyphenols, which are a natural compound found in tea, have been shown to protect against cancer, improve bone strength and improve overall health.
  • People who drink tea have experienced a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Drinking tea may improve overall mood, the ability to concentrate, and increase performance.

Amazing, right? And that is just to name a few of the benefits! Some like it hot, and some like it cold, but either way, medicinal and therapeutic properties can be found in each cup.

Is all tea created equal?

The real magic lies in traditional and herbal teas in their most natural form. Don’t be fooled by the colorful labels and health claims made on the front of pre-packaged bottles. The realitea is that not all teas are created equal. Many commercial bottled teas are made from tea concentrate and often have additives, including sugar, to make the tea more palatable and have a longer shelf life. These teas, which claim to have all the health benefits of traditional tea, may actually have a lower amount of antioxidants and a higher amount of calories.

Can you have too much of a good thing?

Unlike other health supplements, tea is recognized by the USDA. It is also significantly cheaper per cup than most other beverages on the market, but moderation is encouraged. While tea can be used as an effective alternative to many sodas and energy drinks, due to the caffeine content, it may not be safe for everyone. If you are considering supplementing your daily water intake, tea may be an enjoyable way to increase hydration and improve your health. It’s up to you to find the proper balance (and blend) that works best for you!