If you’re like most people, you start your day with a cup of joe—even when you’re feeling a little under the weather. However, what might be more beneficial is reaching for a hot cup of tea instead. Like coffee, some teas contain caffeine to jump-start your morning, but unlike coffee, they have healing properties to combat what might ail you.
Teas derived from the camellia sinensis plant have high-powered, natural antioxidants that help parts of the body, like the heart, lungs, and brain, function better. But teas made from other plants have feel-good benefits, too. So, it might be worth it to brew a cup of tea to remedy that sickly feeling. Here are tips for picking teas—and the right ones for your symptoms.
How to Pick Teas
Drinking tea has been considered a health-promoting habit since ancient times, but today’s tea selection varies widely. To pick teas that provide the most benefit, be sure to:
- Read the label. Check the ingredients and nutritional facts to ensure you’re getting a good serving of the promoted tea plant and less of other additional flavors.
- Keep it simple. Stick to green, black, white, oolong, and pu-erh teas in their simplest form for the biggest antioxidant boost.
- Avoid the trendy stuff. Stay away from fad-diet teas, fancy tea lattes, and bubble teas that may do your health more harm than good.
- Come prepared. Don’t rush to grab anything on the shelf. Some teas provide more health benefits than others, so know what you’re looking for before heading out the door.
There’s a Tea for That
Wintertime is officially cold, flu, and COVID season, among other illnesses. We break down the common symptoms associated with these maladies and some teas that might help you cope with them.
Echinacea: An immunity booster, it helps your body fight germs and infection. It can shorten the duration of a common cold or flu and alleviate symptoms, too.
Slippery elm: Containing mucilage, a sticky mixture of sugars, it aids in coating the throat and reducing your cough.
Peppermint tea: The workhorse in peppermint tea is menthol, which is a decongestant that cools a sore throat and may reduce swelling in the sinuses.
Licorice root: From the licorice plant, glycyrrhiza glabra, its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects target upper respiratory conditions.
Green tea: Packed with antioxidants like catechins, polyphenols, and flavonoids, green tea helps decrease inflammation and swelling that causes your nasal passages to feel blocked and also offers a wide range of other health benefits.
Lavender tea: Used in soaps, oils, and balms, lavender in tea form can be just as effective in stabilizing mood and promoting relaxation. In a National Library of Medicine study from 2020, drinking lavender tea showed to reduce anxiety and depression scores of 60 older adults when consumed in the morning and at night.
Ginger tea: With the medicinal properties of gingerol and shogaols, the ginger in its tea increases digestive responsiveness and speeds stomach emptying, which can reduce the feeling of nausea.
Chamomile tea: Derived from the chamomile plant, chamomile tea is widely known to have sedative effects. It also includes apigenin, an antioxidant that can induce muscle relaxation and sleep.
Comfort in a Slow Cooker
It may go without saying, but if there’s any cure-all for the wintertime sickies, it’s a warm and tasty meal from your slow cooker. Check out these effortless slow cooker recipes for comforting goodness.