Warm or cold, sweet or bitter, I love a good cup of tea, and green tea is ahh-mazing! While it took me some time to appreciate its complex taste profile, I’m now hooked on this anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant-rich superfood.
While coffee is the usual go-to hot drink in North America, tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and green tea (second only to water) is the most consumed beverage on earth. So what is it about this vibrant green super-food that makes it such a hit all over the globe?
Green Tea for Health
The health benefits of green tea are staggering. This vitamin C and catechin packed tea is a powerful antioxidant, helping to fight against heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, to name a few. It also contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids that give it its trademark green colour, helping with inflammatory health conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis and joint pain, gum disease, auto-immune disease and high cholesterol. Its anti-bacterial properties make it even more amazing by preventing bacteria build-up in our bodies and helping to banish bad breath (a sign of bacteria build-up in our mouths).
Green Tea for Beauty
With anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, it’s no wonder green tea is known as a beauty food. Drinking green tea helps detoxify our bodies by flushing out toxins from our skin, which reduces inflammation that leads to breakouts and improves our skin’s elasticity and youthful glow. You can also use green tea topically as an extract in lotions and other beauty products, or in a tea bag to reduce puffy eyes and dark circles, brewed up as a skin toner, and even as a hair rinse to promote growth and fight against dandruff.
Making Green Tea
If you’re new to green tea I suggest taking it slow, jumping right into a hot mug of straight-up matcha might not be the best idea (wowzer, taste bud overload, lol). Instead, give a refreshing fruit infused iced green tea (or green tea lemonade) a try, or indulge in a creamy naturally sweetened latte – coconut and vanilla complement green tea well. This will give your palette a chance to become accustomed to green tea’s unique flavour.
Use fresh, whole leaf tea and steep it for three to five minutes to create the best antioxidant-rich brew. When preparing your green tea, be sure to use hot but not boiling hot water, as extreme heat can burn your leaves creating an unpleasant bitter taste. I also like to make sure my tea is fair-trade and organic whenever possible.
Green tea does contain caffeine, so if you plan to enjoy it in the PM it’s best to stick to decaf; same goes if you suffer from IBS as caffeine can agitate the stomach further. On the bright side, the caffeine in green tea lends itself to more of a calm and steady stimulation which can help with concentration (unlike coffee which provides an instant spike followed by a noticeable crash). The amount of caffeine can vary depending on the type of green tea you’re brewing. Some bagged and loose leaf varieties can have a lower concentration, while powdered tea like matcha can be much higher.
Regardless of the variety of your green tea you choose, it’s best to store it in an airtight container, preferably in the fridge so it doesn’t loose any of its health healing benefits to oxidization.
Some other tasty ways I like to incorporate green tea into my diet include; using it as a broth in ramen soups or to poach fish, making deserts with matcha powder (cheesecake, whipped cream, icing…), iced tea with added fruit or lemonade, tea popsicles, and of course a matcha frappe for those hot summer days. With so many ways to use green tea, there’s no excuse not to give it a try!
|Sprouted Tip: Love your matcha latte as much as I do? Be sure to use non-dairy milk, as the calcium from animal milk can inhibit the absorption of nutrients found in green tea, making this superfood slightly less super.|