It's 3 p.m. You've officially hit that afternoon slump. Feeling slightly tired and sluggish after a long day of work, you turn on a kettle and start to fish through boxes of tea, wondering which one would provide the best pick-me-up. While almost every type of caffeinated tea would help energize you, there's one particular brew that also boosts your body's overall health: green tea.
According to numerous experts and studies, drinking green tea provides your body with a myriad of health benefits. In particular, green tea's antioxidant content can help ward off chronic diseases and assist with weight loss. Here's why you should consider sipping on a cup of green tea during your next afternoon slump. (For even more drinking tips, be sure to read our list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.)
Why you should consider drinking green tea
"Green tea is a great choice due to the antioxidant content," Jinan Banna, PhD, RD adds. "A diet rich in antioxidants may lower the risk of chronic disease. The antioxidants found in green tea may have anti-cancer properties, for example."
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, specifically points out the ways that green tea differs from other types of popular teas. Because of its antioxidant properties, green tea is considered a "true tea" alongside other popular blends like black, oolong, and white tea. Herbal teas—such as chamomile, ginger, and peppermint—are helpful for soothing indigestion or stomach pain. While herbal teas are great options to drink (especially before bed), Goodson points out that rotating a "true tea"—like green tea—helps reduce inflammation in the body thanks to the polyphenols.
Along with its strong antioxidant properties, green tea can also aid your weight loss goals. The Canadian Pharmacists Journal published a study reviewing previous claims that green tea can help you lose weight. And researchers found that the claims held up after a 12-week weight loss study comparing participants that consumed green tea versus those who consumed none.
According to the Nutrition Journal, green tea has also been proven to improve cholesterol levels, which leads to a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Another study by the University of Basel in Switzerland also found ways that green tea can help brain and cognition function.
The healthiest green tea to drink
While choosing any green tea on grocery store shelves will provide your body with these health benefits, not all green tea is created equally. In fact, matcha—a type of green tea—is considered one of the healthiest teas to drink.
"Matcha is often considered one of the healthiest green teas because it has a higher antioxidant level than traditional green tea and is particularly known for its anti-cancer properties," Young says.
Whisking together a cup of matcha using a powder is a common way to enjoy this healthy green tea option, but it's not the only way to reap the benefits that it provides. In fact, some tea brands incorporate matcha into their green tea blends. Pukka Supreme Matcha Green is a great example of this, with each bag providing a mix of "organic whole leaf green tea and the finest matcha."
What not to do with your cup of green tea
While sipping on a steaming cup of green tea in the afternoon is a great way to get you through that afternoon slump, it's also common to reach for something sugary for fast energy. Some people enjoy adding cream and sugar to their tea to curb that sugar craving, but if you're not careful, your cup of tea can quickly turn from healthy to unhealthy.
If the taste of green tea is too bitter for you, the best solution is to look for another "true tea" you like that provides similar antioxidant properties. Just keep added sugars to a minimum.
"The best tea is the kind you can enjoy without tons of added sugar, such as with sweet tea or some pre-packaged teas," Goodson says.
If you still feel like you need something sweet in your cup, Goodson recommends "sweetening your tea with a teaspoon of agave or honey for a touch of sweetness and [still enjoy] all of the goodness of true tea."
You can also double your antioxidant intake by nibbling on a piece of your favorite dark chocolate. Dark chocolate can help curb your sugar cravings, while your body reaps the antioxidant benefits that the cacao provides. Between a cup of your favorite green tea and that piece of dark chocolate, you'll squash that afternoon slump in no time.
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