Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Now before you tell me that you don't like the taste (or aftertaste) of green tea, I'll tell you that I know a few tips and tricks that'll have you guzzling it in no time! But before we get into the recipes, lets talk about the amazing health benefits!
Antioxidants, Cancer & Heart Disease
Green tea contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. These antioxidants fight free-radicals (bad guys that we eat, breathe and absorb into our skin every day) that cause damage to cells and DNA, causing heart disease, cancer and strokes. Green tea has been proven in studies to help prevent cancer developing, inhibit cancer growth and reduce the severity of coronary heart disease.
Other Health Benefits
Long-term, habitual green tea drinking has been shown to increase bone mineral density (resulting in lower occurrence of hip fractures), lower blood pressure and reduce clogging in the hearts arteries. Long-term green tea consumption has been shown to flush out bad bacteria and improve digestion function.
Weight Loss Benefits
Studies have shown that people who drink green tea each day (especially the caffeinated kind - caffeine seems to help with fat oxidation) lose more fat than non green tea drinkers, and have lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.
Stress & Anxiety
5 Cups of green tea a day (yes the caffeinated kind!) have shown in studies to have a considerable effect on the reduction of psychological distress, compared to those who drank less than 1 cup per day. It has also shown to reduce liver damage caused by on-going stress and fatigue.
Now, the above examples are only scratching the surface of all the possible benefits of drinking green tea! Convinced yet, that you should add green tea to your daily routine?
How much green tea do I need to drink or maximum benefit?
Answers vary on that question, but it seems that up to 5 cups a day would be the ideal for maximum health benefits, but 2 cups a day would give some benefits also, and is a good place to start if 5 cups seems way too much! If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, limit to 2 cups per day.
If you have any health conditions, such as a blood disorder, a heart condition, glaucoma, liver disease or any other health conditions, please read this caution to ensure it is safe for you.
Other types of tea to consider
Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder is said to contain up to 100 x more antioxidants and nutrients than regular green tea. This is the bright green tea that is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. I have found wildly varying prices on this, so do some research. A good priced one I've found in NZ is $22.50/100g here. For brewing instructions read here. You can also add matcha powder to smoothies, frappes, desserts and more!
Read more about the benefits of Matcha here
White tea is also said to contain more antioxidants than green, but it is often a lot more expensive. My local Countdown supermarket sells a small box for nearly $15!! I buy a box of 20 white tea bags for $2.50 from the Tai Ping Asian supermarket in New Lynn, Auckland. White tea is harvested from the immature, unopened buds of the same plant (Camellia sinensis) as green and black tea, in the early spring. Green tea is harvested from the mature leaves. Both green and white are very minimally processed, which means most of their antioxidants remain intact. Green tea is partially fermented, but white tea is not fermented at all, which means it contains 3 x the antioxidants that green tea has.
How to drink green tea if you're not a fan
If green tea is not something you have enjoyed in the past, please don't give up! I have had many blah green tea experiences myself, but you need to know that NOT ALL GREEN TEAS ARE CREATED EQUAL! Some green teas I've tried had a bitter aftertaste and left a funny feel in my mouth, so if that's the only kind of green tea experience you've had, read on!
Some green teas (even 'good' organic kinds!) have a less than desirable flavour, but it's often our brewing methods that are to blame for bitter green tea. Green tea is best seeped for between 1 - 3 minutes (no longer!), so starting with 1 minute will give the least bitter results, but it does depend on the individual tea, so keep trying until you find one you love!
Flavoured tea's are a great option...one of my favourites is Bell Zesty Berry Green Tea, but there are lots of other flavour combinations out there to try.
Others ways to enjoy green tea...
I add green tea to my Good Girl Moonshine when I seep the fresh ginger, but I take it out after 3 minutes and let the ginger seep longer. I usually use Japanese Sencha Green tea (pictured above) This makes a fantastically refreshing drink with loads of digestive health benefits.
Raspberry Green Tea Frappe
A current favourite of mine is to make a raspberry green tea protein shake/frappe. I brew the berry flavoured green tea, allow to cool and use as the liquid portion of my frappe.
1/2 Cup cooled, double-strength brewed green tea (such as berry flavour) or plain water and 1/2 - 1 tsp matcha green tea powder - this will give a stronger tea flavour than brewed tea.
1/2 tsp guar gum or glucomannan
1/2 Almond milk, water or more green tea.
Stevia to taste
1/2 Cup frozen raspberries
1 cup ice cubes
3 TBS protein powder (I am dairy free now, due to intolerance, so I use egg white powder, but whey protein isolate will also work great).
Firstly blend together the cooled tea, guar gum and extra liquid (water, almond milk or more green tea) and stevia (liquid or powder), until it thickens. Then add ice-cubes & frozen raspberries and pulse until they are crushed. While the blender is running on high, add the protein powder and blend until it fluffs up .
Well, there you go, lots of brilliant reasons to start drinking more green tea!