Best Tea for Gut Health
Very rarely do I not have tea with me. I drink tea all the time. 90% of the time you'll probably find me with some sort of green tea, I'm actually drinking some Sencha green tea right now as I write this blog. Green tea is full of antioxidant health benefits, but let's be honest: my true love of green tea comes from the mild, gentle on the digestive tract caffeine boost.
I'm also a huge fan of herbal teas, especially for health benefits. Some herbal teas, that I will go into detail about later, have actually changed my life. 2017 was a rough health adventure for me, I gave up all chemical hygiene products, birth control, cleaning products and pharmaceutical medicines and ended up curing my own eczema. All of that would not have been possible without certain herbal teas.
I think it's important to go over types of tea first, then steps to making an informed decision about what tea brands to buy, then move into tea for gut health. In this post I'm going to focus on two types of tea: green tea and herbal tea.
Types of Tea and Choosing a Brand
comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea, white tea and oolong teas also originate as the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant; they are just harvested at different times and the leaves are rolled and dried in different ways. All teas from the Camellia sinensis plant contain caffeine.
is different. Herbal teas either consist of a single herb or a mix of single herbs that can be steeped as tea. There is no caffeine in herbal tea, but there are a hell of a lot of health benefits contained within them.
By the way, I'm focusing only on green tea and herbal tea because I have the most experience and have done the most research with these types of tea. Also, herbal tea is such a huge category of tea, and it is the category that we should focus our energy on for gut health benefits.
Choosing a brand of tea:
There are so many tea companies and types of tea in the world, it can get a little overwhelming. It's best to find a brand of tea that lives up to healthy standards, then you can safely shop for teas from that brand. So here's the breakdown of our top four considerations when choosing a brand of tea:
When exploring tea for health it's SO important to look for a tea brand that is organic. Tea can be quite a dirty crop, covered in pesticide. Cheap, non-organic teas in the grocery store are some of the most pesticide ridden things on the shelf. Make sure the tea inside the bag is organic to avoid consuming pesticides, and be sure that the bag you steep the tea in is unbleached. Some tea may be classified as "wild crafted" and not organic. This is also a great option and indicates that the ingredients were foraged and not farmed.
Loose Leaf or Tea Bag?
If buying organic tea already in a tea bag, just be sure it's an unbleached organic tea bag. Bleached tea bags contain dioxin, a bleach byproduct that is absorbed by fat tissues and can be carcinogenic over time. Loose leaf teas are great if you have a tea strainer/steeper, but be sure the loose leaf tea is certified organic too. Sometimes the lure of loose leaf tea is that it is more natural and organic, and that no tea bag makes it cleaner. Often times that is far from the case due to the next point in #3. Tea bags are also easier to incorporate into a busy life. I love being able to just slip a small packet of green tea into the sleeve of my planner incase I need it.
If a tea is named something unnatural or named something that is not the name of a herb, flower or leaf... then don't drink it. Imaginatively flavored teas (think blueberry muffin, pina colada, chocolate, etc.) most likely have "natural flavors" which is an alluring way to say chemically processed ingredients. Look for teas that are only flavored with whole herbs, and only have the names of the whole herb in the ingredients list. Natural flavoring = "the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable." Also, teas that smell abnormally strong, or like a scented candle, absolutely have fake, processed additives and flavorings.
In order to keep having healthy microbiomes and living our healthiest lives, we have to take care of the planet. As tea gains in popularity every year, it is important to choose a tea brand that promotes and protects the health of the environment. Most tea companies that attempt to give back to the environment to offset their impact will state something on their packaging. For instance, the tea brand we drink has a Tea for Trees campaign. They plant 5,000 trees each year in partnership with the National Forest Foundation. Their packaging is also 100% recycled and recyclable, so they really try to close the gap on their environmental impact. A note on loose leaf tea and the environment: often times if you are buying loose leaf tea it come is a big plastic bag that is not eco friendly, biodegradable or recyclable. It may seem like loose leaf tea in a bulk plastic bag is more eco friendly because there's less individual packed pieces, but think again. As far as the environment goes, tea in unbleached, biodegradable bags that come packaged in a recyclable 100% recycled cardboard box is way better for the environment.
This all brings me to the big question you're probably asking... What brand of tea do we drink?
Just so you all know, this is not a sponsored blog. I found Buddha Teas when I was searching for the best tea I could drink to help with my health rollercoaster in February of 2017. I found their company on Amazon and its been true tea love ever since. I started drinking their Chaga Mushroom and Milk Thistle teas religiously and they changed my life (mainly they helped to regulate my hormones and my skin problems). I connected with their company on Instagram and told them about this blog I was writing, so they helped out and sent me some new teas to try and write about. They're the best.
Anyways, let me reference the four "choosing a brand" requirements I talked about above and tell you why Buddha Teas meets all these requirements and then some. First, their whole packaging system is recyclable or biodegradable. They only use unbleached tea bags that are heat-sealed without the use of harmful glues or binding agents. All of their teas are 100% unaltered, organic and wildcrafted. They never use "natural flavoring" and their teas are only crafted from whole ingredients. The fact that they plant 5,000 trees each year in partnership with the National Forest Foundation is beautiful. They created a tea brand that is a safe place to shop for teas, and that is so wonderful.
Teas for Gut Health
As we go on this adventure into the world of tea and the gut healthy benefits of tea, I'll break it into sections so that it's easier to digest (haha get it? I just made a gut health joke).
This list covers vital categories of gut health and which of my favorite gut healthy Buddha Teas help with each.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety greatly impact gut health. Stress and anxiety can cause shifts in the microbiome, leading to an unbalanced population of microbes in the gut. This can cause a myriad of problems like poor digestion, diarrhea and inflammatory gut issues. Certain herbs and teas can be a fantastic way to destress and protect the health of your gut microbiome. The best teas we've used to combat stress and anxiety are Turmeric and Ginger, Turmeric and Ginger CBD Tea, Chamomile tea, Calm Buddha Tea, Kava Kava Root, and Chamomile CBD tea. These teas help with relaxation, focus, and promote relaxation of the central nervous system.
It's great to give your body some support in the detoxification process. I'm not talking about not eating, and doing "cleanses" but instead I'm talking about aiding the body in its natural processes that remove toxins from the body. The main way to help with detoxification is to promote liver and kidney health. The absolute best tea for this is the Zen Cleanse Buddha Tea. Other herbal teas to try are Burdock Root, Dandelion, Milk Thistle, Red Clover, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Alfalfa, Oregano, Green Tea, and Sage.
Gut inflammation can be caused by pathogens, drinking alcohol, eating inflammatory foods, and even just day to day life. Inflammation is terrible for the gut microbiome, and thankfully there are a lot of teas that contain anti-inflammatory compounds can help to ease inflammation of the gut, skin, and muscles. Some teas that definitely help relieve inflammation are Black Cohosh, Chaga, Turmeric and Ginger, Turmeric Ginger CBD Tea, Mint CBD Tea, Reishi Mushroom, and Zen Cleanse tea.
Having a strong immune system helps to keep your gut balanced. If your immune system is strong, you're less likely to suffer from detrimental symptoms that can take a toll on gut health. Some great teas to boost immune function: Elderberry, Cranberry, Feverfew and lemongrass, Rose Hips, Astragalus, Chaga, Green Tea, and Alfalfa.
Easing your stress and anxiety, decreasing inflammation, boosting natural detoxification processes of the body, restoring a healthy gut lining, and strengthening your immune system all help to keep the gut microbiome in a balanced state. Eating fermented vegetables with prebiotic rich foods, and drinking beneficial herbal teas is a great way to keep your gut health in tip-top shape.