If you’re looking for a simple way to get healthier, slow the aging process and prevent chronic disease, drinking green tea might be the answer. Known for antioxidant properties, green tea is a boon to young and old health enthusiasts, dieters, and naturalists. Today’s health conscious consumer is opting to forego the morning cup of Joe for a morning, noon and night time cup full of chlorophyll!
What is Green Tea?
Unlike your grandmother’s syrupy sweet black tea, green tea is brewed from fresh tea leaves or powders and is full of antioxidants, heart-healthy stimulants, soothing caffeine, flavorful theanine and flourides. Used by Orientals for hundreds of years as a stimulant and energy booster, green tea has become part of the health and wellness revolution that has taken the world by storm. From silver haired seniors, social media moguls, and soccer moms to Reiki enthusiasts, marathon runners and restaurateurs, millions of health-conscious consumers have embraced the green tea experience!
Does Decaffeinated Green Tea Make a Difference?
While studies have documented the health benefits of drinking green tea, such as disease prevention, anti-aging qualities, prevention of certain types of cancers, and greater mental acuity; the verdict is out on whether drinking decaffeinated green tea—that is, tea sans the caffeine—is good or bad for one’s health.
Green teas contain about 30mg to 90mg per cup of the energy boosting, calming amino acid theanine, and 46 mg catechin antioxidant. Studies indicate that dry green tea has more caffeine than dry coffee; however most tea drinkers use far less green tea powder or leaves than ground coffee. Therefore, a cup of brewed green tea still has less caffeine than the same sized cup of coffee. But removing the caffeine from commercially processed green tea also removes some theanine and other nutrients and antioxidants.
It is suggested that drinkers who prefer drinking decaffeinated green tea can preserve the most nutrients and antioxidant properties by first steeping fresh tea leaves for 45 seconds, pouring off and discarding the first infusion. Brewing and discarding the first infusion eliminates 80% of the caffeine. Add more hot water and steep for another 45 seconds for a flavorful, calming tea without caffeine. It would seem that the benefits of drinking decaffeinated green tea far outweigh the loss of theanine and have no significant bearing on the health of those who prefer to nix the caffeine.
Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
According to a U.S. National Cancer Institue study using laboratory animals, green tea contains potent antioxidants like catechin, that are more powerful than Vitamin C and beta-carotene in knocking out carcinogens and reducing the number and size of cancer tumors. Green tea . . .
- Eliminates free radicals and slows the aging process
- Decreases bad cholesterol
- Prevents arterial sclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks and strokes
- Regulates blood pressure
- Helps prevent diabetes
- Helps fight bacteria, viruses, influenza, dysentery, and cholera
- Fights mouth bacteria that causes tooth decay, gum disease and periodontal disease
- Eliminates piccolo, a cause of gastric ulcers
- Prevents bad breath
- Soothes and calms the nervous system
- Detoxifies the body from heavy metals and harmful toxins
Green Tea: The Next Best Thing since Kool-Aid
Drinking green tea has grown in such popularity that coffee giant Starbucks features nearly 20 different variations of green tea themed recipes on its menu. Health conscious Starbucks customers can imbibe a virtual cornucopia of lattes, iced, loose-leaf, powdered and brewed green teas. Order anything from a simple brewed Tazo Matcha blend or spearmint green full-leaf blend to specialty drinks like Red Bean and Green Tea Smoothies or Green Dream Frappuccino. Want to make it yourself, fear not, we got you covered with smoothies, energy drinks, shots, meals, lattes, snacks, frapuccinos and more!
Types of Specialty Teas
[easyazon_link identifier=”B00E408XIS” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”matcsecr0e-20″]Sencha Jade Reserve Tea[/easyazon_link]
For an energy boost, try Sencha Jade Reserve Tea. It has a vegetal tea flavor that can be bitter if not brewed at the proper time and temperature: 1 minute at less than 165 degrees
[easyazon_link identifier=”B007G92ML8″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”matcsecr0e-20″]Matcha Imperial Green Tea[/easyazon_link]
A ceremonial grade full leaf or powdered tea, Matcha is a full bodied, vegetal tea favored by high end tea enthusiasts. At $44.95 for 80 grams, Matcha is pricier than most blends, but smooth and soothing in either form. To avoid bitterness, steep for less than 1 minute at less than 165 degrees.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B001JK62OI” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”matcsecr0e-20″]Gyokuro Imperial Green Tea[/easyazon_link]
Gyokura is shaded two weeks before harvesting to produce a darker green color. While some say it can be too strong, others love its vegetal flavor that can also taste fruity, earthy or citrusy depending on how long it is brewed.
Tips for the Ultimate Green Tea Experience
- All green teas—decaffeinated or not—are not the same. For the best health benefits and taste, make sure to buy ceremonial teas and not inferior brands or grades used for cooking. Full leaf teas are more potent and can be diffused several times before weakening
- Avoid prepared green tea beverages with high sugar content. Some drinks have as much as 3 to 10 teaspoons of sugar, depending on the size ordered.
- Steep powdered teas at the right temperature to avoid clumping or gritty residue.
- Buy the highest quality for the most affordable price. Remember: you will use less tea than coffee; a two-ounce serving usually yields 25-30 teaspoons. Full leaf tea can be infused several times to get the most servings per dollar.
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