What do you know about green tea? Have you ever tried it? Most people have heard of green tea being very good for you and full of antioxidants. You never hear much about its flavour though right? In my own experience, the flavour is an acquired taste but well worth the benefits! Green tea should have a warm light taste. It should not be overpowering or bitter. There's some rookie mistakes that can be made when preparing this tea so read on and all will be revealed.
Quick list reasons for trying green tea:
- In the office, drink instead of water
- Much lower caffeine content than coffee
- It's cheap
- Very low or no calories
- Gives you a break from your work
- High in antioxidants
- Different flavours to try like ginger, lemon and berry
- You look awesome when drinking it
Green tea has long been associated with health. It originated in China but is now well known and recognised world-wide. There are numerous varieties of the tea depending on the tea plant it was grown from and the way the tea is prepared.
I've learned from my own mistakes, which due to the awful result you tend to only make once. For the perfect green tea:
- DO NOT use boiling water! This will destroy the flavour and some of the beneficial ingredients. Instead add some cold water to your teacup. I normally do about one fifth of the cup. Then add your freshly boiled water for the rest
- DO NOT leave the teabag (or tea leaves) steeping indefinitely! This will taste fine for the first few minutes and then eventually start to turn overpoweringly bitter and metallic. You'll never be able to finish it! Make sure to keep to the directed brewing time which is normally three to five minutes
Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant. Many of us depend on it just to wake up properly in the mornings and get through the day. It is present in many of our drinks and food such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, cola. Too much can promote anxiety if you have a predisposition and also affect your sleep.
At one stage in my earlier 'office' working career I was drinking up to 5 long blacks before lunchtime and thought it was normal but didn't understand why I had suddenly developed anxiety issues! The answer (or part of it) was right in front of my eyes.
Green tea has a very low amount of caffeine compared to regular coffee or cola. Drink green tea to cut down on your intake and help your body get back to natural alertness! Here is a rough guide of caffeine found in your average servings of drinks:
- 80 mg - Red Bull
- 75 mg - Regular coffee
- 40 mg - Green Tea
- 35 mg - Coca Cola
I'm not a veteran green tea drinker and couldn't even tell you which variety of green tea I drink (Wikipedia has a huge list of different varieties of green teas!). Right now I'm enjoying a cup of 'Bell - Zesty Green Tea Pure' which has become my favourite of the supermarket brands. Like I mentioned, green tea's flavour may not 'grab you' right away and fortunately there's added flavours that could help you transition to this healthier drink. Check out your local store's shelves for flavours like berry, ginger, lemon, lime and mint green teas.
The revered antioxidant. Isn't it amazing? It's advertised as a benefit of many healthy foods and products but what does it actually do? Oxidative stress can affect our bodies in many ways. It can produce free radicals which are damaging to our cells and have been linked to autoimmune diseases as well as cancers. Green tea having antioxidants can reduce this oxidative stress and thus reduce the amount of free radicals affecting our cells. On the flipside though, antioxidants are not without controversy and some studies have shown that they have no beneficial effect at all.
What's the difference to other tea?
There's actually all sorts of other teas and tea plants including white tea and black tea. There's herbal teas too which often don't contain any actual tea plant but due to the way they are brewed, they're still called tea. White, green and black tea can actually come from the same plant. The differences come down to the way the leaves are processed. Generally, black tea is processed for longer and green tea is only withered and steamed which retains the green colouring.
Wrapping it up
For myself green tea fits in to a healthy 'paleo' lifestyle really well. It has helped me reduce my caffeine intake and is also a great substitution for alcoholic drinks or coffee. I have a shelf full of different teas but green tea is my staple especially during the work day. I have a double glass walled cup which I love and it helps to keep the heat of the drink from escaping for longer.
So in the words of that Dilmah guy from the TV ads, 'Do try it!'. You've got nothing to lose.