Mmmmm...adding a steaming hot cup of green tea to a crazy afternoon brings its own measure of peace and tranquility, but did you know that routine consumption also brings an easy, comforting boost of beneficial phytochemicals and powerful antioxidants? The amount of antioxidants in tea varies depending on the growing conditions, the age of the tea, and how the tea is stored. On average, one 8-ounce cup of green tea contains about 170 mg of polyphenols (a kind of antioxidant found in tea and also in other plants).Tea is more than just a beverage; it's an antioxidant brew with plenty of benefits:
Helps to increase metabolism.
Contains antioxidants called "catechins" which help protect cells from oxidative damage. Human studies have shown antioxidant levels in the body to increase after consumption of tea.
Helps protect the cardiovascular system - this is one of the most highly studied areas regarding tea.
Promotes healthy cholesterol and blood lipid levels.
May help increase mental performance and alertness (which may be due to caffeine).
May help the body to de-stress easier and feel more tranquil.
May positively affect blood sugar levels.
When used as a mouthwash, green tea may help decrease plaque build-up.
Topically in body care products, green tea may offer protection from UV radiation.
Remember, green tea does have caffeine, so if you are sensitive, you may want to try decaf.Here are some tips for drinking green tea:
Try it on an empty stomach to maximize antioxidant potential.
Drink three 8-ounce cups daily - this will match the amounts consumed in Asian countries.
Drink it at different times throughout the day; antioxidants are water soluble so the effects are short-lived in the body.
Chill green tea if you don't want it hot - but don't add ice cubes since that decreases the antioxidant levels.
Here are some of the many delicious ways to enjoy green tea:
Piping hot or chilled - lemon and lime are optional
Mixed with a splash of pomegranate juice or other favorite juice
As a cooking broth in Jasmine Tea Rice.
"Try it with veggies and tofu like this Green Tea and Tamarind-Marinated Tofu with Vegetables.
For dessert in Ginger and Jasmine Tea Poached Pears.
Never thought of green tea as a marinade? Think again! Here's one for Green Tea-Marinated Sirloin Tips.
Check out our comprehensive guide to tea to learn more.My nephew Sam spends a lot of time in Japan. He reads, writes and speaks Japanese and attended Keio University in Tokyo. Knowing my love affair with the daily ritual of green tea, Sam brought me some Shincha which is also known as "new tea" - it comes from the very first harvest of the growing season. Amazing! Traditionally, green tea, with its slightly bitter taste, was thought to correlate with the spirit or the soul of the human being, conveying longevity and a healthier life. That works for me!Are you a green tea lover, too? Got a favorite variety or ritual that you enjoy? I would love to hear!