Have you been looking for a way to boost your health and immune system?
I’m not talking about swallowing a pile of pills. I’m talking about taking a few minutes out of your day, relaxing, and sipping on a cup of green tea! The health benefits of drinking green tea daily include losing some weight, greater activity in the working-memory area of your brain, and it aids in cellular health by helping to lower oxidative stress.
When I started writing this post about green tea, I knew it had antioxidants, EGCG and other good stuff for your body, but in my research, I have discovered that this is truly a super food! Green tea won’t supply everything your body needs, but by adding it to a healthy diet, you are definitely making a good dietary choice.
I am thoroughly amazed at how much goodness Mother Nature can pack into these little leaves! Compared to other super foods, in my opinion, the health benefits of drinking green tea daily are at the top of the list.
You can feel good about choosing green tea as your beverage of choice. Sip on a soothing hot cup of green tea and reap these benefits:
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, green tea contains the full complement of catechins, including EGCG, which is the most active polyphenol in the beverage. Preliminary studies indicate that catechin-rich green tea may have a role in treating a wide range of ills, including high cholesterol, certain cancers, liver disease, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. Catechin absorbed into the blood stream reaches cells in the liver and works to promote fat metabolism.
Tips on getting the most out of your catechins:
Don’t brew your green tea with boiling water. You want it to be just under the boiling point, 180F. You will lose your nutrients.
Add citrus. Besides making it taste good, Vitamin C makes the catechins easier to absorb. Don’t use dairy milk in your green tea, it blocks absorption. I think it tastes better without milk, except if you making a latte, use almond, coconut or soy milk.Matcha Green Tea latte
Nutrient levels depend on the quality of tea and processing. Pricier teas usually have more catechins, and canned or bottled green-tea drinks are probably nothing but sugar water.
Okay, enough of the science y stuff behind EGCG, this might be easier to understand!
Along with the catechin, you have caffeine. Together, these two compounds may help you lose weight. It’s not a magic elixir by any means, but if you drink green tea regularly, you may find your clothes fitting a bit looser! The reason for this is that EGCG and caffeine work synergistically together to speed up your metabolism and break down excess fat. In doing this process, they increase the amount of energy that the body uses as well, thus giving your mind an energy boost also! So you can get through that tough afternoon meeting a little easier!
EGCG helps your heart and your brain. These catechins help to calm blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure. When your blood vessels relax, you think more clearly.
Catechin has an effect of dulling allergies symptoms.
One really cool compound found in green tea is the amino acid, L-Theanine.
Theanine is not one of the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those found in proteins which are “essential” for your body to perform all its functions. There are many other amino acids which help with bodily functions.
Tea is the only dietary source of this amino acid. This amino acid does not occur in any other plants.
Tea has the ability to both relax you and stimulate you at the same time. this is due to the Theanine. How awesome is that?
There is approximately 15-30mg of caffeine per cup of tea. but the Theanine acts as a buffer to lower caffeine’s harsh effects such as the jitters.
Theanine content varies depending on how and where the tea trees are grown.
The theanine content in the new sprouts is high and in the mature leaves.
If tea is grown in the shade, the catechins level is not as high.
These good for you compounds are all found naturally in the tea leaves, thereby, no extra processing is involved. When you buy tea, especially whole, loose-leaf tea, you can be assured of a complete, whole, pure product.
By combining tea with eating wholesome, unprocessed foods, your body will thank you by shedding excess pounds. Just make sure to read the label. The package should say 100 percent green tea or, the best choice is to buy whole leaf green tea leaves.
Antioxidants are crucial to our body’s functionality, two commonly known antioxidants found in green tea are Vitamins C and E.
We all know that vitamin C is good for you. It keeps your immune system fortified to fight colds and other nasty things. It’s also good for healthy skin and collagen formation.
Sencha tea contains the most Vitamin C of any tea, Oolong tea contains and black tea don’t have any. This is due to the extra processing and oxidizing of the tea leaves.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and a deficiency can cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs naturally in our cells as we age, and you need alot of antioxidants to fight the free radicals that occur from the waste of that stress.
Sencha tea is very high in Vitamin E. The best way to get Vitamin E from tea is to drink Matcha.
It’s remarkable how much work is involved in the growth and processing of this miraculous food!
Green tea costs more than black tea, and after reading how the tea is grown and harvested, you will understand why it costs more to drink this wonderful, earthy brew. Kyoto, Japan is known for its hand-picked and hand processed tea.
Starting in spring through summer, picking the leaves at different time produces different types of teas. Kyoto, Japan is where the premium teas are grown.
Shincha harvest (this is the “first flush” harvest of the year) usually begins in May and continues for several weeks in Kyoto.
Bancha is harvested from the second flush of tea between summer and autumn. This is from the second round of sprouts.
The trees are shaded to produce a milder flavor, because the tea will have less tannins. Tannins are what give black tea its distinct, flavor and dark color. Shading also increases the Theanine.
Common green tea is not shaded.
The most expensive green tea is still hand picked today.
The highest grades of tea are grown in small, manageable amounts because the tea has to be picked within a couple days before the leaves mature. Hand-picked tea is precious, and usually saved for tea ceremonies.
Most teas are just steamed, rolled and dried. Houjika is a roasted tea popular in Macrobiotic diets.
The ancient tea ceremonies are still used in Japan today.
Japanese tea culture developed in Kyoto. The tea ceremony is a slow and graceful process of brewing a perfect cup of tea.
The next time you are sipping a wonderful cup of green tea, remember the work that was involved to bring this experience to you!
Use your imagination to enjoy your tea in many different ways!
Add in some healthy spices to keep it interesting. Ginger, cinnamon, mint, cardamom, cloves all lend a different flavor while making sure you get all the good stuff from your green tea.
Mix it up with iced tea, keep a jug of brewed green tea in your fridge. Make your own matcha green tea latte! It’s easy!
Drinking your tea is not the only way to get the benefits from green tea. Below are some recipe suggestions to help you add more green tea to your daily diet.
Green Tea Smoothie
Make an antioxidant rich green tea smoothie. Instead of adding juice or milk to your morning smoothie, add brewed green tea.Use some of your iced tea and to add to your smoothies.
My favorite smoothie, which I make with my NutriBullet is:
1 cup frozen mixed berries
small handful of baby greens, spinach, kale, baby lettuce
enough green tea to cover
I like to add a scoop of Matcha Powder. You can use any fruit you like or have on hand. If you’re watching your weight, berries are the lowest calorie fruit. The key is just to substitute green tea for the liquid.
Blend until smooth. enjoy!
Make a spicy infused iced green tea!
Add a 2 inch piece of sliced ginger, 1 sliced turmeric root, about 1 1/5 inches, to 5 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, simmer 1-2 minutes depending on how strong you want your ginger-turmeric flavor to be. Add 4 teaspoons of loose-leaf green tea, or 4 tea bags. turn off water, cover and let steep 3-4 minutes. I usually let my tea get a little stronger, as it gets diluted with the ice. When its steeped to your liking, strain into a pitcher, and refrigerate until cold . serve over ice with a slice of lemon or lime. You can also add a cinnamon stick at the beginning. Go for it! You can also drink it hot if you like. I also makes an easy broth for soup. Try it for your next noodle bowl!
Green Tea Baked Goods and Entrees
Add tea to baked goods. Matcha powder works best for most recipes. Use the powder in cookies, muffins, bread, pancakes, ice cream to name a few. You can also use black tea powder, make your own.
Add it to soup, green tea with rice soup is popular in Japan. Make tea eggs to garnish your soup.
Other uses for green tea that will blow your mind:
You can burn tea to make home made incense. Rub cutting boards with wet tea leaves, removed odors and stains.
Clean and Deoderize
Boil a pot of water and add 5-6 tea bags to the water. Turn off the heat and allow the tea to sit and steep for about 10 minutes. Pour the tea into your mop bucket. Use this to wash your floors.
Clean wood furniture and floors:
Use freshly brewed tea to clean wood furniture and floors. Just steep a few tea bags in a quart of water and let it cool. Use a soft cloth dipped in the tea, and use it to wipe away dirt and grime. Buff dry with another clean, soft cloth.
Reduce Eye Puffiness
The tannins and caffeine in green tea helps reduce both puffiness and dark circles under your eyes. Brew two bags of green tea. Take the bags out of the water and, with your fingers, squeeze out as much liquid as you can and let them cool to room temperature. Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, place the tea bags on your eyes, relax. Stay there are long as you can.
Gargle with green tea if you feel a sore throat coming on, or use it as a facial toner before you put on makeup.
As you can see, green tea is awesome!
Drink it, eat it, clean with it. How many other food products can do all that and still be good for you? I don’t think Coca Cola will even come close!
Try some green tea and let me know what you think. I’d like to hear about new and exciting things my readers think up!