Caffeine boost without the jitters? Try tea
Countless people reach for their cup of coffee first thing in the morning, a warm and welcoming beverage to help start their day with a spring in their step.
But if the caffeine-induced jitters are too much, or if it’s time to try something new, consider tea.
Tea offers a lot of what makes coffee so appealing — plenty of flavor options, a hot beverage on a cold day — with less caffeine and a handful of health benefits coffee just can’t provide.
Here’s how tea can be a welcome addition to your day.
Tea is a great source of polyphenols, compounds found in plant-based foods including grapes, beans, soy, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries and spinach. Polyphenols are antioxidants that can help fight against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, degenerative diseases and may help reduce the risk of developing some cancers, in the same way antioxidants are good for your health.
Drink a rainbow
There are so many different types of tea, and we’re not just talking about brands.
- White teas are made from young leaves and are the least processed of any kind of tea. It comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. They have the lowest level of caffeine and are a source of fluoride and tannins, meaning it can not only help strengthen teeth but also flight plaque, making it great for your dental health in addition to being delicate and delicious.
- Green tea is gently processed with heat; green tea from Japan is steamed instead of by roasting or pan-firing. These teas are high in flavonoids, associated with boosting heart health and lowering bad cholesterol. Matcha, a kind of green tea, is often sold as a powder and has become a very popular option for adding in to other beverages. Matcha has higher antioxidant levels than other kinds of green tea, making one cup of matcha the equivalent of 10 cups of other kinds of green tea.
- Black teas are the kind most of us grew up drinking, in bags with red or yellow tags hanging off the end. They’re made from the same plants as green teas, but the leaves are dried and fermented instead of lightly processed, making them darker when steeped, and giving them their deeper and richer flavor. Black tea is for those looking for caffeine, but it’s not as caffeinated as coffee, so you get a little pick-me-up without going overboard or staying awake all night. These teas contain flavonoids, which help fight inflammation and can boost your immune system, whether consumed hot, cold, iced or brewed by the sun. Plus, if you have cold tea available, it can be used to help reduce skin rashes or applied to minor cuts and bruises to reduce swelling.
- Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea, made from the same plant as green and black teas, but the leaves are processed only lightly, giving it a wholly different flavor and appearance.
- Herbal teas are a combination of tea leaves and fruit pieces, spices and/or herbs, producing a variety of flavors and fragrances. These are typically low in caffeine as well, which make them great for drinking at night or when you want warmth without caffeine. Herbal teas are associated with stress relief because of the lack of caffeine. There’s a wide variety of herbal tea varieties, including chamomile tea, a tried and true option for helping with trouble sleeping; rooibos teas that are associated with improving blood pressure and circulation and keeping hair and skin healthy; peppermint tea is a favorite for calming an upset stomach and motion sickness and might help alleviate headache pain; ginger tea is often suggested for pregnant people struggling with morning sickness and can help with chronic indigestion; hibiscus tea can help boost liver health and can replace a candy craving with its light, sweet taste.
Whether you drink it with honey, milk, lemon or on its own, hot or iced, tea is a fantastic alternative to coffee and can help your health with each delicious mug.