Reading the Tea Leaves

All varieties of tea offer a no-calorie way to up your intake of disease-fighting plant com-pounds. “In the U.S., tea drinkers have the higest flavonoid intake.” Just be sure to balance your intake with your tolerance for coffeine (or drink decaffeinated teas).

Green Tea

How it’s made Fresh leaves are picked and immediately steamed so that they retain their green color. Oolong tea is briefly exposed to oxygen before steaming.

Benefits Green tea gets a lot of attention for being a good source of the plant compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in studies to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol. It may also counter inflammation in the body. Squeezing a slice of lemon into green tea may halp its beneficial compounds survive digestion, according to research from Purdue University.

White Tea

How it’s made Young tea buds are rapidly steamed and dried after picking to inactivate the enzymes that cause browning.

Benefits White teas cantain the most catechin, a type of flavonoid that may help keep blood vessels open and help the body break down fat.

Black Tea

How it’s made Tea producers roll or crush leaves, releasing an enzyme that oxidizes the catechins. The fermentation creates the rich flavor and color.

Benefits Postmeno-pausal women who regulary drank black tea had higher bone mineral density in the lumbar spine and hip, according to a Japanese study that tracked 498 women over five years. Just try to skip the splash of milk. Its proteins can bind with some of the beneficial compounds in black tea, reducing your body’s ability to absorb them, researchers say.

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