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I start most mornings with a cup of coffee, but at heart, I am a tea-drinking gal. Green, black, herbal — I love it all, and I usually drink a couple mugs of the stuff a day. (See also: Is Green Tea All It’s Cracked Up to Be? It’s Close.)
I mostly like tea just because it’s delicious, but here are a bunch of other great reasons to consume it:
1. To Wake Up
Depending on the kind of tea you drink, an 8 oz. cup of tea can have up to 120 mg of caffeine. Black tea has the most caffeine, followed by green.
2. To Calm Down
Not only can chamomile tea help you fall asleep, but researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that it can also help relieve anxiety.
3. To Soothe Your Stomach
Teas made from peppermint and ginger are both known for their stomach-calming properties. And there’s no need to pay for tea bags here — dried peppermint (picked from your garden, if you have it, and hung to dry inside) or fresh chopped ginger placed in a tea ball or reusable tea bag work just as well. (Just be careful if you’re prone to acid reflux; mint can actually aggravate the condition.)
4. To Lower Your Blood Sugar
As Andrea reports in her piece about inexpensive ways to lower blood sugar, green, black, and white tea can all help bring blood sugar down. She also notes that cinnamon can as well, which is often used along with black tea as an ingredient in chai.
5. To Help Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer
Studies have show that green tea — widely held as the reigning champion of teas when it comes to health benefits — might help prevent both cancer and heart disease thanks to the tea’s awesome antioxidants, which are called catechins.
6. To Get Warm (or Cool Down)
Drinking a big mug of tea — or any other hot drink, really — will raise your body temperature. Put it on ice, and it makes a great summertime thirst quencher.
7. To Keep a Bright Smile
Researchers have found that drinking green tea can reduce your risk of periodontal disease. Yes, it’s true that tea can also stain your teeth, but if you stick to lighter teas like green, that’s less likely to happen.
8. To Get Flavor Without Calories
From tropical fruits to wintry spices, from delicate jasmine to the classic black, green, white, and oolong, tea comes in a variety of flavors and has pretty much no calories to speak of. (Well, until you start adding milk and sugar. I’m not going to tell you that your Starbucks chai latte is calorie-free, buddy — and don’t get me started on those big ol’ cans of Arizona.)
9. To Wean Yourself Off of Coffee
If you want to kick the coffee habit but aren’t looking forward to the ensuing withdrawal headaches and cranky, yawning mornings, switch your mug of java for a mug of tea (green, ideally, since it has less caffeine than black) for a while to step yourself down slowly.
10. To Socialize
Whether you plan a fancy afternoon tea party (with potluck finger foods, perhaps?) or just meet a friend for a cup of the steeped stuff at a coffee shop (nobody calls them tea shops, do they?), drinking tea is a great way to catch up with friends.
Why do you drink tea? Do you know of any awesome benefits I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments.