Tea has been a staple for many cafe meetups, hosting of guests at home and even business meetings, but how are we exactly choosing our teas? Often, we pick a flavour that satisfies our pallet but rarely ever try to distinguish the archetypes of tea we consumed. Black tea is often known for its potent flavour and aroma, while green and yellow teas have been widely known for their detox properties and lightness. When partaking in the beverage more often than we realise, it's good to know about which is the healthiest option among milk tea, black tea and green tea.

Health benefits of Black Tea

Starting with the strongest of the lot, black tea prides itself on its strong flavours and caffeine content - a possible replacement for coffee for those who are not fans of the latter. The tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant which is responsible for creating some of your favourite flavours like Earl Grey, Chai and English Breakfast!

Black tea primarily prides itself on being a caffeine-based substitute, which means that a boost of energy and alertness will come naturally when consuming a cup of this, along with a few other health benefits like improved metabolism, high antioxidant levels, improved heart health and a boosted metabolism.

The commonality of these benefits is that they increase the activity of bodily functions due to the high amounts of energy the body goes through when consuming the strongest of the teas. This results in a spike in blood flow which also can present certain risks when consumed in excess.

Issues like insomnia, irregular heartbeat, restlessness and headaches are common causes of a surplus of caffeine in the body, but it is not exclusive to black tea. When consumed correctly, black tea has a decent amount of health benefits that boost the performance of regular bodily functions but does not hold its identity as a detox agent - unlike some of the other teas on this list.

What Green Tea Does to Your Body

Green tea is the king of detoxification and has been loved by the fitness community for many years. The perks of being filled with antioxidants, containment of EGCG (a potent compound that can minimise risks of certain diseases) and the ability to boost brain activity has put this tea at the forefront of many cleansing diets. The tea also boosts metabolism and is a go-to for many who are trying to lose weight. Despite all of these perks, the tea doesn't face as many downsides as some other types of tea.

Of course, like everything else, when taken in excess, green tea can display a series of negative side effects. Symptoms like vomiting, heartburn, diarrhoea, dizziness and ringing in the ears are common but usually will take about eight cups a day to see these side effects. As long as the tea is consumed in moderation, there is little to fear.

Benefits of Consuming Milk Tea

Since milk tea is such a common beverage, it's important to distinguish the health perks that come with adding milk with tea. Granted, many of the nutritional perks and minerals will vary based on the tea used, but milk in its own right can be a healthy staple if the right type is used.

On the base level, it's a given that milk contains heaps of calcium which is effective for strengthening bone density and overall health. Milk also does wonders for the skin and can be used for anti-inflammatory purposes, but to a significantly lesser extent when compared to teas.

It's extremely common for milk tea to be littered with unhealthy chemicals when sold commercially under the "Bubble Tea" umbrella, as well as other flavoured variations that don't shy away from flavoured syrup, tapioca pearls, Aloe Vera bits and much more.

In order to get the bang for your buck in terms of health, skim milk or even half and a half for those partaking in the "Keto Diet" will find that milk can be a valuable ingredient that can complement tea effectively.

Black Tea V Green Tea V Milk Tea: Which One is the Best?

To consider the "best" or the "most healthy" option, it's important to lay the ground rules for these terms. The healthiest often leans towards the product that offers the most nutritional benefits with the least severe side effects.

Although black tea is packed with beneficial nutrients and enhancing qualities, it primarily benefits the body with its caffeine-heavy qualities which do well to jump-start the body but poses the most risk when taken in excess. Consumers have varying levels of tolerance for caffeine, which can be fatal for those with existing heart conditions if too much black tea is consumed.

Milk tea is a strange one as there are many variables to consider before deeming the blend as "healthy". Often, milk is either complemented with sugar, artificial flavouring and tons more, but this doesn't have to be the case. Consuming milk in moderation is good for the body as previously mentioned and can be an enhancement when taking it sparingly.

All in all, milk is a decent pick to go along with tea, but it is best to see them as two separate sources of nutrients that complement each other, rather than hoping that milk will do the nutritional heavy lifting for low-grade tea and its shortcomings.

Lastly, green tea has gotten a lot of attention from the fitness community for years and it's not hard to see why. The light beverage is packed with tons of nutrients and stems directly from plant bases. Matcha, in particular, is one of the most potent among the lot as it is unfiltered and has one of the most refined collections of nutritional benefits.

In conclusion, green tea has the most amount of versatility when it comes to health benefits, but black tea, yellow tea and milk tea don't necessarily fall that far behind. Black tea serves the purpose of a replacement for coffee very well but does not see as many benefits in other areas when compared to green tea. If you're looking for weight loss and general detox, green tea is the way to go.

Ezra Gideon, UNB and Dhaka Courier Correspondent in Singapore.

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