Drink up! 3 skin-enhancing ways to enjoy your tea

It warms in winter, refreshes in summer, and is nourishing all year round. We’re talking about tea, of course. Chock full of ingredients that support skin function, tea fits nicely into a regimen of a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and a good skin care routine. Here are a few especially hard-working options—along with tasty good-for-your-glow twists.

Green or black tea: They’re made from the same leaf, but in the case of black tea, the leaves are oxidized (exposed to oxygen). While the color and taste are different, both are helpful for the same reasons. In particular, each contains special polyphenols (a type of antioxidants) called catechins. Catechins assist in DNA repair, soothe inflammation, and may even help protect against the ravages of UV over time. To make the most of them, opt for caffeinated as opposed to decaffeinated tea; and avoid adding milk (including non-dairy), which might bind to the antioxidants and blunt their powers.  Skin boost: Stir in a bit of honey, which also packs its own antioxidant punch, and is antibacterial, too.  Now add a splash of lemon juice, which makes the antioxidants more bioavailable—meaning, more nourishment for you and your skin.

Mint tea: Technically not a tea, but an herbal infusion, mint tea has antibacterial properties as well as plenty of antioxidants. So it fights free radicals, those pesky molecules that over time cause fine lines and wrinkles. Some acne sufferers believe that a cup of spearmint tea over several months have cleared their hormonal acne. It makes sense theoretically (studies have suggested that spearmint may reduce levels of androgen—the hormone that causes certain types of acne), though we need more studies to know for sure. Skin boost: A drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of salted pine nuts (which themselves are also chock full of anti-aging antioxidants) turn your tea into a satisfying sweet-and-savory brew. If you like it cold, substitute the pine nuts for cucumber slices.

Chamomile tea. This herbal infusion may not affect skin directly (unless you apply a damp tea bag topically as a compress), but its many other health benefits can indirectly enhance skin. Studies suggest that extracts of chamomile can relieve mild to moderate anxiety, and this may be the reason why a cup of chamomile is such a nice way to wind down before bed.  Less stress in general means less stress on your skin; more sleep means more time for your skin to repair and rejuvenate itself. Skin boost: Add a little almond or soy milk, and sweeten it with a dash of vanilla extract. Finish it off with a pop of cinnamon--an antioxidant it its own right.

Photo by from Pexels
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