Did you know that certain teas offer additional benefits beyond the comfort of a warm, relaxing drink? While tea alone isn’t a replacement for medicine, therapy or a generally healthy lifestyle, choosing the right tea to sip can boost your mental health and improve your overall sense of well-being.
- Matcha Green Tea
Most of us have enjoyed a cup of green tea at some point in our lives, but matcha is not as well-known despite its rich flavor and long list of health benefits.
Matcha is a powdered form of green tea leaves, and it is packed with an important compound known as theanine. Theanine, which may also be referred to as “l-theanine,” is an amino acid that helps to boost your natural levels of calming neurotransmitters. It’s also responsible for helping you achieve a state of “alert relaxation.”
This “alert relaxation” stems from alpha brain waves, which are responsible for enhanced focus, creativity and productivity. Some performance psychologists call this a “flow state,” and if you meditate, it can be thought of as “finding your zen.”
Aside from these benefits, drinking matcha can help to lower your stress levels while giving you a mild boost of energy from caffeine. It’s also supercharged with antioxidants and nutrients.
For the best flavor, look for ceremonial-grade matcha powders, such as an organic Chalait matcha offering, or a high-quality Ummon matcha from Ippodo Tea.
Chalait Matcha, $25
- Masala Chai
Masala chai simply means, “spiced tea.” A true masala chai is a flavorful black tea (such as Assam) steeped with spices like ginger, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. It’s often made with warm water and warm milk, and it can be sweetened to taste.
The black tea found in this type of chai is full of polyphenols and antioxidants that support both heart and brain health. In addition, many of the spices used in this tea are excellent for battling inflammation and improving gut health, both of which influence your mental health and ability to focus.
You can purchase a pre-mixed blend of masala chai, such as Full Leaf Tea Co.’s organic masala chai, or you can make your own stovetop chai with loose-leaf Assam tea and fresh spices.
- Oat Straw Tea
Technically this is an herbal blend that does not contain any tea leaves, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll call it tea. It has a mild, sweet oat flavor that makes it easy to enjoy.
Oat straw is a popular supplement in the holistic health community, and consuming it in tea form is becoming increasingly popular as well. Oat straw is traditionally known for its ability to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety (and it’s backed by research as well!). It may also promote brain health and improve your mood.
Oat straw can be brewed on its own as a loose-leaf tea, or it can be combined with black, green or oolong tea leaves for a unique flavor experience that gives you the benefits of oat straw alongside the caffeine and benefits of your chosen tea.
Toast to Your Health With Tea
Regardless of whether you prefer bold black teas or delicate, flavorful herbal blends, there’s no question that adding an extra cup of tea to your day is good for your mind, body and soul.
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