Friday, August 22, 2014

G for Green Tea

reading time: ca. 4 min

Hey there fruitbat!
This is part of a little trivia series on the ABC of raw food lifestyle essentials where i share my knowledge of food and nutrition*. click here for the previous episode.

Episode 7: G for Green Tea.





Green tea is more than a yucky green liquid. About two years ago i have made a habit of starting my day with a big cup of green tea. Not only does this boost my system, it is also just a nice routine that helps me to get up on the right side of the bed. Before that, i was a major black tea, fruit juice and milk addict. And a little coffee addict. To be honest, when i started switching to green tea i initially did it to lose weight. 
That was before i learned about the goodness of green tea...

Fortunately for us, green tea is one of those gifts of nature that is packed with countless health benefits and large amounts of essential nutrients:

The benefits of Green tea 

Antioxidants
Containing one of the highest amount of antioxidants of any tea, green tea is a great way to strengthen and detoxify the body. Tea is a very rich source of a specific kind of antioxidant called flavonoids. The detoxifying effect of these antioxidants protects cells from free radicals, the damage that can lead to blood clot formation, atherosclerosis, and cancer.
And apparently green and black teas have about 8-10 times the amount of antioxidants found in fruits and veggies! Who knew.

Stimulant
Green tea doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a stimulating response without causing the "jittery" effects associated with too much caffeine. Therefore it's the perfect healthy alternative to coffee! Give it a try :)

Astringent & Diuretic
For someone like me, who is already anaemic, this is great news because green tea helps to control bleeding and heal wounds. Since it is also diuretic, it aids the elimination of sodium (salt) and any excess fluid from the body. Basically, it will make you pee.

Improved brain function
L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain. Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. The combination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function. 
Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of "buzz" than coffee. Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.

Reduced risk for heart disease 
The antioxidants in green teas as well as black and oolong teas can help block the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol and improve artery function.

Weight loss
As mentioned above, this zero calorie beverage can help achieve a healthy weight due to its properties to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate. Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy.

Anti-depressant
Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquillizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers. The presence of theanine in green tea is thought to be responsible for the observation that caffeine intake in coffee drinkers (who aren't getting theanine) is more apt to result in tension as opposed to the "relaxed alertness" more common to tea drinkers.

Anti-viral & Anti-bacterial
Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. Some studies show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections. Another awesome benefit of green tea is it's property to reduce bad breath :)

Skincare
Apparently green tea can also help with wrinkles and the signs of ageing, due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.

Furthermore, studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder. Pretty neat, don't you think?


Uses & Tips

- Did you know green tea was originally used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to control bleeding and heal wounds, aid digestion, improve heart and mental health and regulate body temperature?

- Also, did you know that green tea, black tea, oolong tea all come from the same tea plant? (the Camellia sinensis) The leaves are simply processed differently: whereas black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo a crushing and fermenting process, green tea leaves are not fermented, but withered and steamed

- Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride. (That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.) 

- Do keep in mind that it is a BAD idea to put milk in your tea on a regular basis, because it will reduce the antioxidant value!

- If you don't like the bitter taste of plain green tea, i recommend:
   - > vanilla flavoured green tea
   - > a squeeze of lemon or lime
   - > a dash of grapefruit juice
   - > a dash of pineapple juice
   - > mint leaves 


- For those who don't fancy hot drinks (i used to be one of those :), no worries. A great way to enjoy COLD green tea is by making either: 
Iced Green Tea (2/3 cup boiling water + 1-2 regular green tea bags, remove from hot water after 3-5 minutes + 1/3 cup cold water or even milk, i recommend almond milk + sweetener of choice)

source: food.com

- or: Green Tea Smoothies! i have found it quite handy to simply throw bananas  + other fruit or lettuce + the content of 1 green tea bag OR 1/2 tsp matcha powder + some water or plant-based milk + sweetener into my blender. Blend, maybe add some chia seeds or oats or whatever floats your boat, and enjoy :)

Usually i will let this sit in the fridge for 1 hour or so before drinking!


- or: Green Tea Bubble tea! (16 oz cup filled with soy milk, or almond milk (rice milk is too thin) + 1 1/2 tbsp matcha powder + 1 oz syrup or other sweetener + 1/4 cup boba (large pearl tapioca), cooked per package instructions)

source: use real butter

- or: Green Tea Cocktails even! with or without alcohol 
(e.g. a Mojito cocktail: 1 tbsp fresh lime juice + 4 large spearmint leaves, plus more for garnish + 4 baby arugula leaves + 2 tsp sugar or your favourite sweetener + 1/2 cup brewed green tea, chilled + 1 oz white rum or some sort of juice maybe)

source: skinny taste
source: cooking stoned

- If you happen to have Matcha tea at hand (which is a specific type of green tea that comes in finely pulverized form), add a spoonful or so to your ice cream to make Green Tea Ice Cream!

Dairy-free Matcha (Green Tea) Ice Cream
No-bake Matcha (Green Tea) Cream Cake
- Cake: you can also make Green Tea Cake by adding a spoonful of matcha powder to the cream! (i'll sneak in a recipe for my vegan no-bake Matcha Cream Cake here :)

- Tiramisu: again, mix some matcha into the cream!

source: eat plants pray love

- Bread or Scones or Muffins or Cookies or even Pancakes: simply add a small spoonful of matcha powder to your dough!

source: culinary adventures in the kitchen
source: sweetest kitchen
source: food ideas recipes
source: wordpress
source: the healthy foodie
http://be-alice.blogspot.com/2014/11/matcha-pancakes-vegan-gluten-free.html
Matcha Pancakes (vegan & gluten-free)
source: choosing raw

- make Green Tea Porridge by stirring matcha powder into it, or by letting your water boil with a green tea bag hanging into the pot before adding your oatmeal! Add a bit of additional sweetener as well to balance the slight bitterness.

- last but not least you can actually make Green Tea Chocolate using matcha powder - even though it looks a bit like soap bars if you ask me, but if it tastes good i'm all for it.
(e.g. 50ml very thick, homemade almond milk + 1 tbsp light almond butter + 2 huge tbsp cashew butter + 2 tbsp xylitol sweetener + pinch Himalaya salt + 50g raw cocoa butter, ground fine + 1 tbsp matcha powder + additional matcha for sprinkling)

source: wagashi

As you can see there is a crazy amount of things you can do with simple green tee! It boosts your metabolism, hydrates, clears up your skin, contains antioxidants - and all with zero calories! Researching for this article, i definitely felt inspired to get a little more creative with green tea, so i hope it did the same for you perhaps :)

See you next time
xx


* note: i am not a nutritionist nor dietician. however i did spend three years reading up on nutrients, dietary needs, various forms of nutrition and eating disorders, and do consider myself quite an educated food friend. if there's anything i misrepresented or missed out, feel free to correct me.  

Next up we got H for…? Health-for-happiness?



Maisy



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