Tea can be herbal, but we're going to talk about actual tea -- black, green, oolong and white -- that's made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis. This is a relative of the flowering camellias that many people use for landscaping.
Tea is loaded with cancer-busting catechins. Green tea has the most. Dr. Hirota Fujiki of Japan's National Cancer Center Research Institute suggests that drinking tea is a practical way to prevent cancer [source: Carper]. Catechins are also antibacterial, a quality that makes tea an asset in preventing stomach ulcers.
Green and black tea reduce the risk factors for heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing total cholesterol. Tea also dilates blood vessels for better blood flow. It prevents platelets from clumping and works to dissolve blood clots. That helps reduce the damage that high-fat diets do on arteries.
In older women, drinking tea also may build bone density. It's a good source of manganese, which is important for strong bones.
Planning a trip? Don't travel without the next superfood.