Love this time of year especially for tea. Along with water, tea is one of the most commonly consumed drinks in the world. It not only hydrates just as well as water does, but it also contains antioxidants that are proven to fight cancer, reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases, and even aid in weight loss. In fact, many teas have more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables.

Green, black, white, and oolong teas derive their leaves from the evergreen plant known as Camellia sinensis. Its leaves contain polyphenols, antioxidants that have strong health properties. No matter how cured or fermented a tea is, it still contains some concentration of polyphenols.

While all varieties of teas are healthy for you, some have more health benefits than others. Because it is uncured and unfermented, white tea has stronger anti-cancer properties than most teas. Black tea contains high concentrations of theaflavins and thearubigins, which are linked to lower levels of cholesterol. And oolong tea is particularly good to drink when trying to lose weight.

Black Tea
Studies on the effects of black tea have shown that the tea can help prevent lung damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke and may also reduce the risk of stroke. Also, black tea contains high concentrations of the antioxidants theaflavins and thearubigins, which have been linked to lower levels of cholesterol.

Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea is a type of black tea that may aid in weight loss as well as reduce the risk of heart disease. A study on animals showed that those that drank pu-erh tea gained less weight and showed a reduced level of bad cholesterol.

Oolong Tea
Oolong tea has been proven to aid in weight loss, as it activates an enzyme that dissolves triglycerides, which is the fat that is stored in fat cells. In a study, women who drank oolong tea burned more calories over a two-hour period than women who drank only water. The antioxidants in oolong tea can also lower bad cholesterol.

White Tea
Since it is uncured and unfermented, white tea has been shown to have stronger anti-cancer properties compared to more processed teas. It may also benefit people with diabetes, according to a study which found that drinking white tea improved glucose tolerance and reduced bad cholesterol levels.

Green Tea
Green tea is filled with antioxidants, particularly a high concentration of EGCG, which is a type of antioxidant that can help prevent the growth of certain cancers including bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. It can also prevent the clogging of arteries, burn fat, reduce stress, improve brain health, decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.

Herbal Teas: Chamomile Tea, Hibiscus, Rooibos
Herbal teas aren’t technically considered tea, as they are made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots and are not derived from the Camellia plant. Still, while there is limited research on the health benefits of herbal teas, they do contain healthy antioxidants. Chamomile tea may help prevent complications due to diabetes, including loss of eye sight and nerve and kidney damage, and may even prevent the growth of cancer cells. Another herbal tea, hibiscus, may lower blood pressure. And rooibos, a South African herb, contains cancer-fighting flavonoids.

Also do not be afraid to experiment with some teas for cooking. Have fun and enjoy!