We Asked Dietitians What Tea Was Healthiest & These Were Their Top Picks

Photo: Carlene Thomas

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of tea at mindbodygreen. We whip up matcha lattes, sip on honeyed rooibos, and make a batch of peppermint when we’re feeling a bit sick or headachy. But in the name of getting more tea bang for our tea bucks, we wondered—is there a healthiest tea? We reached out to some of the country’s top functional nutrition experts to find out.

Green tea

The bioactive compounds found in green tea are called catechins, and they are what fuel the metabolic health benefits and antioxidant activity of this powerful drink. The most powerful catechin is epigallocatechin gallate, otherwise known as EGCG. There is so much research to support that green tea provides health benefits beyond basic nutrition that it is deemed a "functional food." In addition to lowering inflammation, supporting optimal liver detoxification, and reducing the risk of cancer, research also demonstrates that green tea has a favorable impact on fasting glucose control. So many amazing benefits! I always recommend purchasing organic green tea to reduce toxic exposure.

Brigid Titgemeier, R.D., founder of Being Brigid and Next Great Nutritionist winner

White tea

I love white tea. It's from the same plant as green tea, but the quantity of antioxidants is higher because it is younger and has gone through less oxidation.

Kelly LeVeque, CHN, best-selling author and mbg class instructor

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Fennel tea

I love and often recommend my clients sip on fennel tea to help ease indigestion, gas, and to beat the bloat. Even if you don't suffer from digestive issues like these, fennel is really soothing and tastes great.

McKel Hill, R.D., founder of Nutrition Stripped

Matcha

What makes this deep-green powder so special is it is made from the leaves of a high-quality shade-grown bush called Tencha. These green tea bushes are sheltered from direct sunlight, which reduces photosynthesis and slows down the growth of the plants. This results in a darker shade of green and stimulates chlorophyll production, which magnifies the health benefits and nutrients of this tea. As a result matcha is high in polyphenols, l-theanine (a compound that helps with stress and anxiety), fiber, potassium, and chlorophyll. Some of the amazing health benefits include antioxidants (to fight off free radicals that contribute to disease and aging), metabolism boosting, detoxification, improved concentration, mood enhancement, and anxiety reduction.

Courtney Swan, M.S., founder of Realfoodology

Dandelion root tea

Many teas contain health benefits unique to the tea, but in general, I think the most important criteria in selecting a tea is that it is organic to avoid harmful pesticides and additives. I love dandelion root tea. If you're sensitive to or are avoiding caffeine, dandelion root tea is a delicious alternative. It's easy on the digestive system, caffeine-free, and is delicious with a splash of cream or coconut milk.

—Melanie Beasley, R.D. at Nutritional Weight & Wellness

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The one you'll actually drink!

The healthiest tea is the one you’ll actually drink, not forget about, with minimal adjustments (not adding a ton of sugar). Maybe it’s the minimalist in me, but keeping your cabinets clutter-free and usable is important for mental health too.

Carlene Thomas, R.D., founder of Healthfully Ever After and Next Great Nutritionist winner

Plus, this is the best tea for anxiety, allergy relief, and hormone balance.

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