Healing Foods Pyramid™

is included in the Healing Foods Pyramid™ as part of a balanced, whole foods, plant-based diet. This Food Pyramid emphasizes foods that nourish the body, sustain energy over time, contain healing qualities and essential nutrients, and support a sustainable environment.

What are the recommended servings per day?

Why should you drink tea?

Teas are rich in antioxidants called polyphenols which are plant chemicals that may help prevent cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, stroke, obesity, arthritis, and other diseases by:

Selected Sources with Serving Sizes

White and green teas are less processed and contain higher levels of antioxidants than black or oolong teas. Caffeine content varies in teas - more processing generally leads to increased caffeine levels.

Teas - Comparison per 8 oz serving


Antioxidant Level

Caffeine Level













Special Considerations


Dietary antioxidants help the human body to stop cell damage and increase cellular repair. Like other antioxidants, catechins found in green tea and theaflavins found in black tea selectively prevent enzyme activities that lead to cancer or heart disease.

What are the different types of tea?


Decaffeination Process

The process of decaffeinating tea may involve the use of chemicals and traces of solvents may remain in the tea. To avoid chemical residues from this process, purchase tea that is decaffeinated by more natural means such as water or carbon dioxide.

How do you brew a pot of tea?

For best results, start with a ceramic teapot with a lid. Warm the teapot with hot water and pour it out. Also begin with good-tasting water, such as filtered or spring water. Tap water contains chemicals which will affect the taste of the tea. Brew times and temperatures vary depending on type of tea used and personal preference. We offer recommendations below for brewing black, oolong, green and white teas.

To make black or oolong tea: add one teaspoon of tea or one tea bag for each 8 oz. cup of water to the warmed teapot. In a separate tea kettle, bring water to a full boil. Water at a bubbling boil agitates tea leaves and causes them to open for the full extraction of flavor. Pour boiling water over the tea bags or tea leaves in the warmed teapot, and steep for a full three to five minutes. After steeping, remove tea bags or strain tea through a fine mesh tea strainer.

To make green tea: remove water from heat just prior to boiling or allow water to stand for a few minutes after boiling and steep one teaspoon of tea or one tea bag per 8 oz water for only 1-3 minutes in a covered teapot.

To make white tea: is prepared similarly to green tea, though a longer steep time is necessary to allow the leaves enclosing the bud to open up and release their flavor to the cup. Steep 3-10 minutes for the first steep, adding a minute or two to each subsequent steep. White tea will stand up to 3 or more steeps. White tea is extremely light weight so to be sure to add enough leaf to the cup or pot. The more tea you add the stronger the flavor will be, so the amount of tea necessary varies by personal preference.

Tea Selection

The more space tea leaves have available during brewing, the better they are able to release all of their flavor. For this reason, loose tea is preferred over a small tea ball, infuser or teabag.

To maintain freshness, tea must be stored in a dark, odor-free and moisture-free environment. An airtight container stored at room temperature is fine for most types of tea. Green tea can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator as long as no moisture is in the storage container.

Ideas for Increasing Consumption of Tea


About Tea: Brewing Guide
In Pursuit of Tea
Accessed June 22, 2009

About Tea: Fact Sheet
The Tea Council
Accessed June 23, 2009

About Tea: Tea Storage and Packaging
In Pursuit of Tea
Accessed June 22, 2009

Caffeine: How Does it Affect Blood Pressure?
Mayo Clinic
Accessed June 22, 2009

Consumers: Tea Types
The Tea Association of Canada
Accessed  June 23, 2009

How Much Caffeine is in Your Daily Habit?
Mayo Clinic
Accessed June 22, 2009

White Tea 101: Proper Brewing of White Tea
White Tea
Accessed June 23, 2009

NCI Fact Sheet: Tea and Cancer Prevention
National Cancer Institute
Accessed June 22, 2009

Original Research and Review Articles

Boekema PJ, et al. Coffee and gastrointestinal function: facts and fiction. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 1999;34suppl(230):35-39.

Cooper R, et al. Medicinal benefits of green tea: part I. Review of noncancer health benefits. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2005;11(3):521-528.

Cooper R, et al. Medicinal benefits of green tea: part II. Review of anticancer properties. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2005;11(4):639-652.

Davies MJ, et al. Black tea consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol in mildly hypercholestrolemic adults. Journal of Nutrition. 2003;133:3298s-3302s.

Fraser M, et al. Green tea and stroke prevention: Emerging evidence. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2007; 15: 46-53.

Geleijnse JM, et al. Inverse association of tea and flavonoid intakes with incident myocardial infarction: the Rotterdam study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002;75:880-886.

Hirata K, et al. Black tea increases coronary flow velocity reserve in healthy male subjects. The American Journal of Cardiology. 2004;93:1384-1388.

Horner NK et al. Potential mechanisms of diet therapy for fibrocystic breast conditions show inadequate evidence of effectiveness. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2000;100(11):1368-1380.

Ikeda, I. Multifunctional effects of green tea catechins on prevention of the metabolic syndrome. Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008; 17 (SI): 273-274.

Khan N, et al. Tea polyphenols for health promotion. Life Sciences. 2007; 81: 519-533.

Liang W, et al. Tea Consumption and Ischemic Stroke Risk. A Case Control Study in Southern China. Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. 2009; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.109.548586.

Manach C, et al. Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;79:727-747.

Mukhtar H, et al. Tea polyphenols: prevention of cancer and optimizing health. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000;71(suppl):1698s-1702s.

Richardson T, et al. Influence of caffeine on frequency of hypoglycemia detected by continuous interstitial glucose monitoring system in patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2005;28(6):1316-1320.

Stensvold I, et al. Tea consumption. Relationship to cholesterol, blood pressure and coronary and total mortality. Preventative Medicine. 1992;21:546-553.

Zuo Y, et al. Simultaneous determination of catechins, caffeine and gallic acids in green, Oolong, black, and pu-erh teas using HPLC with a photodiode array detector. Talanta. 2002; 57: 307-316.

The Healing Foods Pyramid™ was created by the Nutrition Education Team at the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine in 2005 and updated in 2009.