Diary / Wellness / Sep 26, 2022
5 Teas to Boost Your Health This Winter
Written by: Michele Ross
Shorter days and dropping temperatures mean one thing: Winter is upon us.
Whether you prefer cooler climes or are already counting down the days until springtime (truth be told, I’m in the latter group), winter is still the peak season to cozy up and settle in under a soft blanket with a hot beverage in hand. And fortunately, if you opt for some of the teas listed below, you can rack up wellness wins with each sip you take.
To discover what the best teas are for a range of health benefits—such as metabolism, immunity, and more—we reached out to LA-based registered dietitian Gaby Vaca-Flores.
1. Best Tea for Digestion: Ginger
If you regularly struggle with digestive distress or the holiday season instigates new symptoms, you’ll want to brew some ginger tea as a natural way to tame your tummy. “The bioactive compounds in ginger can provide relief from common digestive ailments like bloating and nausea by helping stimulate and empty the stomach,” Vaca-Flores shares.
Plus, the benefits of ginger—whether sliced and steeped in hot water or in teabag form—aren’t limited to easing digestive symptoms alone. “I consider ginger tea to be a hero beverage because it packs a host of wellness benefits in addition to digestion,” she continues. Such benefits include but aren’t limited to supporting brain health and easing menstrual pain and PMS symptoms, cementing ginger’s status as an overachiever when it comes to boosting your health.
Tip: Don’t love the taste of ginger but want to ease bloating and nausea naturally? Teas with peppermint, anise, and fennel can work just as well.
2. Best Tea for Immunity: Elderberry
Winter is peak flu season, which means many of us pay extra attention to protecting immune health at this time of year. And if you’ve ever searched for the best natural remedies to boost immunity, there’s a high likelihood that elderberry popped up left and right.
“For centuries, elderberry tea has been a tried and true beverage for supporting immune health,” Vaca-Flores explains. “This berry keeps your body's defenses strong by packing a ton of antioxidants brought on by its high concentration of phenolic compounds.” She adds that phenols are famed for their ability to inhibit microbes in the body to help keep your defenses up—and thus and your susceptibility to illness down.
3. Best Tea for Sleep: Chamomile
Have trouble hitting the hay? In addition to following pro tips such as limiting screen time and avoiding alcohol in the hours leading up to sleep, you should also brew herbal tea to get more shut-eye. To calm your mind and body down before bedtime, chamomile tea is your best bet.
“Chamomile tea is my favorite bedtime beverage to help me unwind and prepare for bed,” shares Vaca-Flores. “This tea delivers high amounts of an antioxidant called apigenin, which can bind to the brain receptors that initiate sleep.”
As an added bonus, research shows that chamomile can help decrease anxiety, ease an upset stomach, promote immune health, and reduce inflammation.
4. Best Tea for Metabolism: Green Tea
Next, if you want to rev up your metabolism in the midst of heavier meals and festive celebrations, be sure to add green tea to the mix.
“Researchers have found that drinking green tea has the potential to help people manage their weight, lose inches, and decrease body fat,” Vaca-Flores explains. “Its metabolism-boosting benefits are largely in part due to a group of phenolic compounds called catechins, which are naturally found in green tea and deliver potent antioxidants.”
Plus, like the majority of the other teas on this list, green tea works overtime by offering a variety of additional health benefits. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also allow green tea to fight off free radical damage to stave off premature aging and different types of illness.
5. Best Tea for Breakouts: Spearmint
Lastly, if you struggle with breakouts (and hormonal acne in particular), you may be surprised to learn that spearmint tea may help clear your skin—without needing to rely on an array of harsh products and/or pricey prescriptions.
As Vaca-Flores explains, “Spearmint tea is suggested to be beneficial for people experiencing breakouts because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-androgen properties.” Androgens are male sex hormones; in excess, they can “overproduce sebum (oil), and consequently acne, in some people,” she continues.
With that said, she notes that the jury is still out on whether spearmint is proven to beat breakouts for good, as more conclusive research is necessary. However, spearmint tea is still antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which can yield benefits for your skin and greater health alike.
As someone who struggles with hormonal acne, I’ve tested this natural remedy out myself and have witnessed positive results. Better yet, I opt for a spearmint/green tea blend to reap even more health benefits, so you can bet that this tea will continue to be my go-to through this winter and beyond.