Nothing says comfort and warmth like a steaming mug of a hot beverage when it’s cold outside. There are so many options to choose from to fill up your cup! However, many of them can be high in calories and added sugars. Tea is a wonderful option that avoids these pitfalls.
There are many different types of tea like black, green, white, and herbal. Herbal tea is a nice place to start for those new to tea drinking as they often are mild, fruity, sweet, and tasty. Herbal tea consists of a combination of spices, herbs, and flowers. This specific type of tea has its own list of benefits and we encourage you to try it the next time you are considering coffee!
Antioxidants are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and tea that fight free radicals. Free radicals can cause damaging effects in our bodies leading to cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Antioxidants found in tea- such as flavonoids and polyphenols- help eliminate free radicals to allow our bodies to function healthily. For example, hibiscus tea is rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid that can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. 
Herbal teas come in a variety flavors that are naturally sweet like peppermint, cinnamon, ginger. This makes tea a great option for satisfying late night cravings. Other herbal teas such as chamomile can also act as a sleep aid, as they contain natural ingredients that are known to calm and relax, allowing you to indulge in a restful night’s sleep. 
We all know we are supposed to stay properly hydrated. Thankfully, tea can offer the same hydrating properties as water.  While a cup of tea is normally brewed with a packet of dried tea leaves, the majority of what you consume is water. So when you drink tea, you are enjoying a delicious hot beverage while also staying hydrated.
Choosing a cup of tea instead of coffee with cream and sugar may make a big difference in your daily added sugar intake. This is because freshly brewed tea is naturally sugar free. It may take some trial and error to find your favorite flavor, but with so many options you are bound to find one that you like.
Even the simple act of brewing tea can be beneficial for our health. Small routines repeated from day to day can be calming as they allow us to take a mental break from the world. Taking the time to boil water, steep tea, and sit down to enjoy drinking it may mean that rest and relaxation becomes a part of your everyday life. We could all use some of that!
Written by Darci Bell, RDN, LD, Ph.D. Student | Edited by Laurel Sanville, MS, RDN, LD