After water, tea is the most popular beverage worldwide. It’s estimated that 80% of American households have tea in their kitchens. Tea is preferred over coffee by people wanting to limit their caffeine intake. Tea also has potential health benefits and can be soothing and relaxing to drink.
Tea is considered Paleo if it’s low in caffeine. The Paleo diet encourages limiting caffeine. Black tea is naturally rich in caffeine, so it isn’t considered Paleo-friendly. Lower caffeine teas include green tea, white tea, Oolong tea, Pu-erh tea, matcha, and herbal teas. Some Paleo-friendly teas include The Republic of Tea 100% White Tea and Bigelow Decaffeinated Organic Green Tea.
Did you know all teas are made from the same plant regardless of their color? To learn more about this popular beverage, read on!
- Refresher course – what’s a Paleo diet?
- Potential Benefits of the Paleo Diet
- What is tea?
- What are the different types of tea?
- What are the benefits of tea?
- Is black tea Paleo?
- Is green tea Paleo?
- Are other types of tea Paleo?
- Tea Nutritional Information
- Paleo-friendly teas
- What about prepared tea in bottles?
- Related Questions
Refresher course – what’s a Paleo diet?
The Paleolithic diet is otherwise known as “Paleo” or “the caveman diet. The primary goal of the Paleo diet is to eat foods that our caveman ancestors ate thousands of years ago through hunting and gathering. The Paleo diet includes foods like meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It avoids foods that became popular once farming began, such as dairy, legumes, grains, and refined sugars.
Potential Benefits of the Paleo Diet
Low in refined sugars
The Paleo diet is low in refined sugars compared to the typical Western diet. The majority of sugar-sweetened foods are sweetened with refined sugars like cane sugar and corn syrup. This means that your added sugar intake would likely decrease if you adopted a Paleo diet.
Avoids refined carbohydrates
Many of the grains consumed in a Western diet are refined grains such as white bread, white pasta, and others. Refined grains are lower in fiber and other nutrients. Because the Paleo diet is free of these grains, there is more room for more nutrient-dense foods like sweet potatoes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
Might help symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders
Some people find some relief from symptoms of their autoimmune disorders while following a paleo diet, such as those suffering from Crohn’s disease. The “Autoimmune Protocol”, an extension of the Paleo diet, has been scientifically proven to reduce symptoms in inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
What is tea?
Tea is a drink made from combining water with leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant. All of the popular types of teas such as black and green tea come from the same plant.
Tea is usually prepared by pouring hot water over the tea leaves to help extract the flavor and nutrients. The process of combining water and tea leaves is called steeping. Tea can also be cold-brewed, but it takes longer to steep that way.
Tea leaves are often put in filter bags for convenience. You can also buy loose-leaf tea and prepare it using tea filters or infusers.
What are the different types of tea?
Authentic tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant which originated in China. Any other type of “tea” not made from this plant isn’t technically tea. Teas that aren’t true teas have an asterisk* after their name to help you keep them all straight.
1. Black tea
Black tea is one of the most popular types of tea. It’s naturally rich in caffeine, with about half the caffeine content of coffee. English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast teas are types of black tea.
Black tea leaves are fully oxidized, turning the leaves from green to dark brown/black. Black tea is stronger in flavor compared to other types of tea.
2. Green tea
Green tea is the second most popular type of tea after black tea. It contains small amounts of caffeine – about half the amount of black tea and 1/4 as much as coffee. When brewed, green tea produces a light yellow or green color.
Green tea gets its color and milder taste because the leaves aren’t allowed to be oxidized like black tea. Instead, they’re steamed or heated immediately after harvesting to stop the process of oxidation.
3. White tea
White tea is minimally processed and usually contains very little caffeine. Some types of white tea are made from the early tips or buds of the plant before they form full leaves – those kinds of white tea are referred to as silver tip or silver needle teas. White tea is mild in flavor due to its minimal processing.
4. Oolong tea
Oolong tea falls between green and black tea in terms of its oxidation. When brewed, oolong tea is light yellow to rich amber in color. The caffeine content of oolong tea depends on how long it was oxidized – the longer the oxidation, the higher the caffeine content.
5. Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea is aged and partially fermented. They’re made similar to green tea in the beginning and aren’t fully oxidized. After oxidation is stopped, the leaves undergo a fermentation process and are aged several years. Aging improves the taste, which is described as “earthy” and rich.
6. Purple tea
Purple tea is a newer kind of tea from a plant native to India. It’s low in caffeine, has a mild flavor, and is rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give plant foods their blue and purple color and are associated with numerous health benefits.
7. Matcha tea
Matcha tea is a type of powdered green tea. It’s popular in Japan but has also gained popularity in Western regions. You can whisk it into water or add it to smoothies, coffee drinks, and baked goods.
8. Flavored teas
Flavors can be added to all kinds of tea. Flavors can be natural in the form of herbs, but some teas might use artificial flavors.
9. Herbal tea*
Herbal teas aren’t teas because they’re not made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Herbal teas are composed of different herbs and spices and are generally caffeine-free. Just a few examples of herbal teas include chamomile tea, peppermint tea, and “Sleepytime” teas.
10. Rooibos tea*
Rooibos tea is made from a plant native to South Africa. It’s naturally caffeine-free but has a similar taste to black tea. Rooibos tea is a good option for people who like the taste of regular black tea but want to avoid caffeine.
What are the benefits of tea?
Tea is associated with numerous potential health benefits backed by scientific research. A few of these benefits include:
Certain plants are rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that help fight against inflammation and cell damage. Tea is especially rich in a type of antioxidant called flavonoids.
Lower in caffeine
Tea is a good option if you want to limit your caffeine intake. Green tea is even lower in caffeine than black tea. Black tea contains about half the amount of caffeine per cup compared to coffee.
May help lower cancer risk
While there are some inconsistencies in the research, some studies suggest that green tea might play a role in cancer prevention.
Can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides
Drinking green tea is shown to help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol as well as triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood. According to a meta-analysis of 14 related studies, green tea didn’t have an impact on HDL “good” cholesterol.
Strengthens immune system
Green tea helps activate the release of T cells. T cells are part of your immune system and help your body fight against infections and cancer.
Is black tea Paleo?
It’s typically recommended to avoid caffeine on a Paleo diet. Black tea contains caffeine, so it isn’t Paleo-friendly.
Is green tea Paleo?
Green tea contains very little caffeine – about 1/4 of the amount of coffee. Some Paleo followers might still choose to avoid green tea that contains any more than negligible amounts of caffeine, but it’s generally considered Paleo-friendly. Green tea with added refined sugar or other non-Paleo ingredients isn’t Paleo.
Are other types of tea Paleo?
Any tea or herbal tea that is very low in caffeine is considered Paleo-friendly. Additives like sugar and milk products that are sometimes added to tea are not Paleo.
Tea Nutritional Information
Organic Darjeeling Green Loose Leaf Tea
This green tea contains some caffeine so it might not be suitable for all Paleo dieters. It contains less caffeine than coffee, though.
- Organic Darjeeling Green Tea Leaves
Nutrition Facts: not available
Full Leaf Tea Co. Organic Assam Black Tea
Assam black tea contains around 80 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce cup, similar to the low end of the range found in coffee.
- Organic Black Tea
- Calories: 0
Prince of Peace 100% Organic White Tea
This white tea has around 10-20 milligrams of caffeine per cup compared to 100-180 milligrams per cup of coffee.
- Organic White Tea Leaves
- Calories: 0
- Total Fat: 0 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 0 g
- Total Sugars: o g
- Protein: 0 g
The Republic of Tea is one of the leading tea purveyors. This, like all white tea, is very low in caffeine making it Paleo-friendly.
- 100% White Tea
- Calories: 0
- Organic Green Tea
Nutrition Facts: not available
- Pu’erh Tea
Nutrition Facts: not available
What about prepared tea in bottles?
Many bottled teas contain black tea and/or added sugar. Refined sugar of all kinds (cane sugar, corn syrup, etc.) aren’t Paleo-friendly.
Is tea caffeine-free?
Green tea, white tea, and herbal teas are very low in caffeine. Black tea isn’t caffeine-free.
Is tea expensive?
The cost of tea depends on the type you buy. Black tea like Lipton is very inexpensive, but more specialty teas are more expensive and vary in cost. In general, it’s estimated that tea costs around 25-30 cents per cup. On the other hand, brewing a cup of coffee is estimated to cost around 16-18 cents per cup.
Is tea a diuretic?
Tea is only a diuretic (increases urine output) if it contains caffeine. Most tea is lower in caffeine than coffee, so tea isn’t considered to be a significant diuretic.