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