A spot of tea

A cup does a body good

Americans drink 50 billion cups of tea every year, and aside from being a soothing beverage, it also reduces the risk of heart disease and some cancers—and it can help you boost your metabolism.

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, people who drank five, 10-ounce servings of oolong tea for three days increased their metabolism 3 percent more than a control group who drank water. That amounts to 67 calories per day, amounting to a 6 1/2-pound weight loss over the course of a year.

And tea leaves are packed with antioxidants such as flavonoids that may repair or prevent cellular damage from free radicals. And while this antioxidant effect previously had been attributed solely to green tea, Jeffrey Blumberg, associate director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, says you can receive the same healthful benefits from black teas, too.

So whether you prefer your tea green or black, you get the same dose of flavonoids per cup—16 percent in green tea and 15.6 percent from black tea.