Super Food of the Month – Green Tea

August 1, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ LIfestyle

The healing powers of green tea have been valued in Asia for thousands of years. These days, green tea is incorporated into everything from ice cream to skin cream—but the best way to take advantage of its health benefits is still just to drink it! Black tea is also under review for health benefits, though tea’s primary healing agents, called catechins, may be altered in black tea during processing. Catechins, which have powerful antioxidant properties, are also responsible for tea’s soothing flavour and aroma.

Is there anything more comforting than a warm cup of tea? Here’s another reason to feel relaxed: Preliminary research suggests that drinking green tea may help to prevent cancer and  heart disease.

What’s In It

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG ): One of a class of flavonoids called catechins, EGCG is believed to be the most potent compound in green tea. With the purported capacity to fight cancer at all stages, EGCG may have the antioxidant power to seek out and destroy harmful free radicals; the ability to inhibit an enzyme needed for the growth of cancer cells; and the capacity to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. Researchers are also currently examining EGCG’s potential role in reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

Pass the Milk

Rest assured that adding milk to tea will not diminish the benefits associated with its healthy compounds. A study found that the addition of milk to black or green tea did not adversely affect antioxidant content or activity in 21 healthy study participants. It also might be worth buying a teapot and some loose tea; research conducted at the United States Department of Agriculture showed that the levels of catechins in instant teas and bottled teas were lower than in freshly brewed teas.

A rainbow of green teas

In the same way that “black tea” can mean anything from Earl Grey to orange pekoe, there isn’t just one type of generic green tea—although the selection at most Canadian grocery stores might make it seem that way. Why not switch it up? Visit a specialty Asian supermarket to find such delicious varieties as  Japanese genmaicha (savoury green tea with roasted rice) and sencha (a variety that many people in Japan drink every day).

How to relax and still lose weight

Evidence suggests that drinking green tea may promote weight loss. Though the amount of green tea required to achieve weight loss has not been specified, researchers suggest that long-term consumption of green tea may decrease the incidence of obesity. Studies have also found that people who drink five cups of green tea daily are likely to improve their cholesterol levels—although that might be too much caffeine for some.

The Caffeine Question

Tea leaves contain twice as much caffeine, weight for weight, as coffee beans do. But when measured by volume, tea has only half as much caffeine as coffee, because tea is drunk weaker and coffee is more completely extracted from the grounds. A cup of green tea generally contains around 35 mg of caffeine.