When that 3 p.m. slump comes, we all know it’s time to choose which caffeinated beverage to sip on to help get us through the rest of the day. Coffee seems to always be a go-to afternoon drink, especially if it’s paired with a piece of dark chocolate. And while black coffee does come with its own list of health benefits, tea really seems to be the superior beverage for your body’s overall health.

So what are these health benefits, and why should you be drinking tea right now? We asked a few registered dietitians about the health benefits of sipping on a cup of tea, and why you should make it a part of your daily routine. Here’s what they had to say, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

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“Tea is a natural, low-calorie drink that can be a great addition to your day,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, and author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. “Traditional tea, like black and green tea, is a natural way to fulfill your caffeine needs in the morning, while non-caffeinated herbal teas like chamomile or lavender can be calming and a part of your nighttime routine.”

Typically a cup of tea (8 oz.) can sum up to a mere 2 calories! For even more healthy tips on cutting calories, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

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“Drinking tea has multiple health benefits like being a source of antioxidants, promoting heart health, and supporting your body’s hydration needs,” says Goodson. “The antioxidants found in tea may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and maybe even cancer. Also, drinking tea is an easy way to meet your daily water needs since tea naturally has flavor to it.”

Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, points out that unsweetened tea is the one to go for if you’re looking for a boost in those antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of those diseases—including certain cancers.

Here’s Why You Need Antioxidants In Your Diet—And How To Eat More Of Them.

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“Black tea may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and helps control your blood sugar,” says Young. “Green tea contains antibacterial properties and may reduce bacteria in your mouth which can cause cavities. Camomile tea contains antioxidants and calming properties that may help you get a better night’s sleep. I drink it every night.”

Not sure what tea to buy? Here are The 12 Healthiest Teas on Grocery Store Shelves.

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“Drinking tea every day helps to reduce inflammation in your body, because of the antioxidants found in most teas (especially green tea),” says Megan Byrd, RD from The Oregon Dietitian.

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“Drinking tea daily also helps to stimulate bone formation and growth, and it has been shown that some components of tea can help stimulate the cells that lay down new bone,” says Byrd.

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“Tea is packed with antioxidants and plant compounds that work in the body to reduce and reverse oxidative stress,” says Trista Best, RD, a dietitian at Balance One Supplements. “Antioxidants are plant compounds that stimulate the immune system and are also responsible for reducing inflammation by preventing clumping of blood platelets. Chronic, low-level inflammation causes oxidative stress in the body that leads to many of the chronic conditions common to Western nations. The most common of these conditions caused and/or exacerbated by inflammation include heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Therefore, drinking tea on a regular basis can improve your overall health.”

Here are the 4 Best Calming Teas for Anxiety, According to Science.

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Shannon Henry, RD for EZCare Clinic, points out how tea can help boost your immune system while also reducing inflammation and helping your body fight against chronic diseases. According to Henry, drinking tea “can have a lasting impact on your well-being.”

Here are Surprising Side Effects Tea Has On Your Immune System, Says Science.

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