It’s February, and in much of the country winter has settled in – snow is falling here in Douglas County, Colorado even as we write this. If, like us, you’re looking for something to warm you up during these cold winter months, might we suggest a nice cup of tea?
Globally, tea is one of the most popular beverages; it’s also one of the healthiest. Its health properties derive from its ability to eliminate compounds in the body called free radicals that deteriorate proteins and DNA. Unhealthy behaviors and environments like alcohol use, smoking, and pollution can all cause an increased presence of free radicals in the body. However, the cell damage done by free radicals can be delayed by substances called antioxidants. Plant-based foods contain antioxidants called flavonoids, and a particular flavonoid called polyphenol is found in tea. It’s one of the most powerful antioxidants known to science.
Different teas have different benefits. Green tea usually has the highest concentration of those polyphenols, and may interfere with the development of certain cancers, reduce the risk of neurological disorders, and improve cholesterol. Black tea may reduce the risk of stroke, and white tea has been demonstrated to have the most potent anti-cancer properties overall.
As long as you avoid bottled and sweetened tea drinks, all teas are zero-calorie, sugarless, fat free, and no sodium. This makes them a great choice for folks who may be watching their weight. Also, because tea typically contains less caffeine than coffee, it’s more hydrating. That’s especially helpful here in Colorado, where you need to make a conscious effort to stay properly hydrated.
You can even get creative and add tea to your culinary repertoire. If you’re cooking grains, try using a lightly brewed tea instead of (or in addition to) stock. Adding tea leaves to your rubs adds a savory, surprising, and smoky note to steaks as well as slow-cooker cuts like pork shoulder or ribs. It also goes great in baked goods, like these Matcha–White Chocolate Sugar Cookies from Bon Appétit.
Are you a tea drinker? Do you have any recommendations for teas or recipes we should try? Let us know in the comments below!