As the most sipped beverage worldwide after water, tea is far from a new trend. However, with several varieties available and research showing the health benefits of tea, including a lower risk of cognitive decline, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, you may be wondering which type should be your, well, cup of tea.

We’ll make it easy: All of them. Whether it’s black tea, green tea, oolong tea, or white tea, this beverage offers a no-calorie way to up your intake of disease-fighting plant compounds. “In the U.S., tea drinkers have the highest flavonoid intake,” says Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at Tufts University, referring to the anti­oxidants responsible for many of the health benefits of tea. “We’re talking about a flavorful, aromatic, healthful beverage,” Blumberg adds. “Why not choose a different one to go with a different meal or time of day—just like wine?”

True teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant; differences in flavor and color depend on how the leaves are rolled, crushed, and exposed to air before drying. (Herbal teas such as chamomile or ginger are technically tisanes, or infusions of herbs and spices.) How much should you drink? There’s no standard recommendation—as with other plant foods, more is generally a good thing, within reason. Some experts recommend having 2 to 3 cups per day to get the health benefits of tea. Just be sure to balance your intake with your tolerance for caffeine (or favor decaffeinated varieties).

White Tea

How it’s made. Young tea buds are rapidly steamed and dried after picking to inactivate the enzymes that cause browning.

Beverage benefits. White teas contain the most catechins, a type of flavonoid that may help keep blood vessels open and help the body break down fat.

Green Tea

How it’s made. Fresh leaves are picked and immediately steamed so that they retain their green color. Oolong tea, which is between a green and a black tea, is briefly exposed to oxygen before it is steamed.

Beverage benefits. Green tea gets a lot of attention for being a good source of the plant compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), found in studies to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol. EGCG may also counter inflammation in the body. Squeezing a slice of lemon into green tea may help its beneficial compounds survive digestion, according to research from Purdue University.

Black Tea

How it’s made. Tea producers roll or crush leaves, releasing an enzyme that oxidizes the catechins. The fermentation creates the brew’s rich flavor and dark color.

Beverage benefits. It may help strengthen your skeleton. Post-menopausal women who regularly drank black tea had higher bone mineral density in the lumbar spine and hip, according to a Japanese study that tracked 498 women over five years. Just skip the splash of milk, at least some of the time—its proteins can bind with some of the beneficial compounds in black tea, reducing your body’s ability to absorb them, researchers say.

4 Tips for Tea Drinkers

The health benefits of tea are many, but keep these rules in mind:

• All teas naturally contain caffeine. Black supplies the most (72 mg in 12 ounces—about half that in the same serving of coffee). If you’re sensitive, sip fewer cups or stick with decaf.

• The World Health Organization has classified “very hot beverages” (158° F or higher) as possible carcinogens. Though we usually don’t serve drinks that hot, it can’t hurt to let your tea cool a bit before drinking it.

• Decaf and home-brewed iced tea have fewer beneficial compounds, because of the decaffeination process or dilution with ice, respectively. Double up on tea bags to make up some of the difference, Blumberg suggests.

• Watch out for sugary tea drinks—a 16-ounce Starbucks chai latte with 2 percent milk has 240 calories and a whopping 42 grams of sugar.