When you just need to relax, skip the coffee — and drink tea.
“You don’t really hear people say, ‘I’m going to go relax with a cup of coffee,” says dietitian Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet. “It’s often the ritual of drinking tea: It soothes stress. It helps you relax.”
Tea’s list of benefits is long too. Gans notes its antioxidant profile and says tea has been linked to lowering blood pressure, cholesterol (compared to coffee) and one’s risk of cardiovascular disease as well as fighting cancer and Alzheimer’s. “And there was a recent study that, overall, shows tea-drinkers have a healthier lifestyle than coffee-drinkers,” she says. Make what you want of that. Maybe it’s tea’s link to stress reduction, but the research is there.
I know what many of you are thinking, though: Tea? Really? Ew.
Been there, guys. I vividly remember my uncle handing me a cup of tea when I was probably 10. I took a sip, made a face like he’d just given me a lemon to suck on and handed him the cup right back. And you don’t want to start adding a bunch of junk to your tea, either. As Gans notes, “It’s a healthy beverage option, but start adding a lot of honey and sugar? Now it’s a lot of calories.” Kind of like how a chai tea latte isn’t really tea — it’s a legit dessert.
It’s important to learn to enjoy the flavor of the tea without all the sugary additives if you can. But I do get it if you’re not into the bitter taste of some classics — like Earl Grey, for example. (Yes, some teas really do have flavor.) I loathed teas for years and years until I started trying out a new one every now and again instead of coffee. I like a hot beverage on a fading fall day, but I could never tolerate the caffeine content in an afternoon cup of joe.
So, enter tea… but only those with actual taste. Here are seven healthy teas — for people who usually hate tea.
A version of this article was originally published in September 2014.