I promised myself I would try green tea with the new year. It’s a powerhouse drink with benefits that I can no longer ignore.
The options are many, and the variety is dizzying. There are more than just plain and decaf green tea options – from “passion fruit coconut” to “white mangosteen peach” to “gogi raspberry.” One brand offered 16 varieties of green tea.
If you’re interested in green tea for the health benefits, you can’t go wrong. Researchers are marveling at the data (see references below), touting green tea as one of the healthiest drinks available (all the while sipping their own green tea voraciously)! Green tea is loaded with a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin. This compound is a natural antioxidant found in tea, red wine, chocolate and apples. It fights, and may even prevent, cell damage.
What the research shows
- Heart health: Green tea may improve blood flow, lower cholesterol and may even help lower blood pressure
- Weight loss: Evidence is mixed, but some studies show two to three cups a day can help you lose belly fat
- Mental alertness and memory: Some studies show exciting benefits on increasing working memory, keeping drinkers mentally alert and helping to block the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s
- Cancer prevention: Data is mixed, but green tea may help destroy cancer cells. A cancer researcher I heard speak recently claims green tea is also an anti-inflammatory and should be consumed daily.
So, what kind did I choose? I bought a brand of plain organic green tea and squeezed lemon into it. Lemon multiplies the level of catechins we absorb by four!
The flavor is growing on me, and I may soon be ready for the adventure into the ginger-pomegranate flavored green tea. At this rate, I might be ready to check out green tea vinaigrettes and green tea reduction sauces.
Tips for preparing and consuming green tea:
- Don’t steep green tea in boiling water. Rather, use water at 160 – 170 degrees and steep for 2 – 4 minutes.
- One cup of green tea contains about 25 mg of caffeine, which is about one-quarter of the amount of coffee.
- Tread lightly with all the green tea extracts and supplements that promote weight loss.
- Discuss with your doctor and research before using.
- Don’t forget bottled green teas may come with a big dose of sugar.
- Green tea – and maybe a little black, white, or oolong tea thrown in – is my daily go-to beverage.
Here’s to enhanced health! Let me know how you like your green tea!
(Please check with your healthcare provider as to whether you can drink green tea. It may be contraindicated if you take certain medications).
For additional reading:
- MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S> National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
- Green Tea, from the University of Maryland Medical Center
- Tea: Drink to your health? – from Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School
- How to Boost Green Tea Benefits, from Andrew Weil, MD, drweil.com