5 Steps to Super-Charge Your Tea
If you knew there was a drink that studies have shown to protect against cancer, strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and periodontal disease, would you make it a priority to drink it daily? It's almost too simple to believe, but green and white teas have been proven, in study after study, to do all those things and even more! Studies have found that people who drink it live longer, plain and simple! The news is also good for those trying to monitor their weight, it contains a compound called ECGC, which has been shown to improve glucose tolerance, boost metabolism, and can help with weight loss.
Drinking tea is a smart part of anyone's daily routine. Here are five things you can do to make your tea even more super-charged and get the most out of every cup.
Stick to Green and White Tea
Black, oolong, green, and white tea all come form the same plant, the difference is the way they are processed. Obviously the more a tea is processed, the more nutrients and antioxidants are lost. Black tea is the most processed type of tea, so it has the least amount of nutrients, followed by oolong, green and lastly white is the least processed. Neither green or white tea go through the oxidation process, which strips the tea of its natural health benefits, especially the weight loss compound ECGC. Look for high quality green or white teas that produce a pale green to yellow-green cup of tea.
Use the Correct Brew Temperatures
This probably isn't news to you, but not many people actually follow this important step. If green and white tea are brewed at too high of a temperature, they loose their antioxidant power, and they definitely taste bitter. This is not an easy task unless you have a tea kettle that brews to an exact temp. After drinking tea at boiling for years, I tried brewing it at the correct temp and I was honestly amazed at how much better it tasted! It is a day and night difference.
Green tea and white tea should never be brewed at more than 175 degrees. I would highly recommend getting an electric teapot that allows you to change the brew temperatures and keeps the water from overheating. I have a Cuisinart PerfecTemp Tea Kettle that I love, but there are tons of tea kettles on the market that brew to correct temps, find the one you like best.
Longer Brew Times
The common protocol for both green and white tea has been to keep brew times to a minimum to avoid the bitter after taste, but if you listen to the advice above and use the correct brew temp, the tea can steep longer without ever becoming bitter. Studies have shown that by brewing the tea leaves longer than the standard 1-2 minutes, and instead steeping it approximately 5 minutes, you can significantly increase the DNA protection from the tea. One study showed that by brewing the tea leaves 5 minutes, you could completely block certain carcinogens from cooked meats 100%. So the take away point here, is that leaving the tea bag in longer will produce more antioxidant fighting power, but its critical to use the correct temp or the tea will taste terrible!
Add Lemon to Your Tea
Adding lemon to your tea will boost the antioxidant benefits greatly, especially in white tea. There are actually more phytochemicals (cancer fighting properties) in white tea than green tea, but they appear to need the right PH level to be released. Adding lemon to your white tea provides the PH the tea needs, and boosts the antioxidant properties by a whooping 4 times. If you are drinking the tea for it's antioxidant power, white tea with lemon blows away the other brewed teas, even green tea. This simple step is an easy way to super-charge your daily dose of tea!
Drink the Tea Leaves Whole
It stands to reason that if soaking tea leaves can help your body fight cancer and lose weight, drinking the leaves whole would be even better. It's true! The antioxidant power of one cup of high quality matcha is equal to 10 cups of brewed tea. That is why matcha's popularity has burst onto the scene. People are drinking it everywhere and adding it to everything from ice cream to doughnuts. I'm not sure if people have any idea what it actually is, but they know it's healthy, and they can't get enough of it. Matcha is nothing new, it's been around over 1,000 years, and it's actually high quality green tea leaves that have been finely milled into a bright green powder. You are actually eating the tea leaves. Like all things that become popular though, lots of knock-offs have cropped up hoping to cash in on the consumer demand for matcha.
Here are some things to consider about matcha. Matcha has a distinct mossy flavor that most people don't love, so it's often added to high sugar concoctions as a way of disguising the flavor. This completely negates any health benefits. Starbuck's Venti Green Tea Latte has a whooping 43 grams of sugar, that's an entire days worth of sugar! If you think that's bad, you better sit down for this one...a venti Green Tea Creme Frappuccino has 88 grams of sugar and 550 calories! 88 grams sugar is equal to 21 teaspoons of granulated sugar! Yes, 21 teaspoons of table sugar in one drink...for a little bit of green tea. Just because something says it has matcha in it, does not mean it is healthy.
Some other things to keep in mind when adding matcha to your health arsenal. Stick to high quality matcha from Japan and pay attention to color. Matcha producing plants are grown in the shade, which makes them overproduce chlorophyll, so look for matcha with an almost florescent green color. Just as with other green teas, water temps should be low, between 150-175. Too high of a water temperature will destroy the phytochemical properties and make the matcha taste very mossy. You can also add matcha to cold water if you prefer, which usually results in a more mild taste. The last thing is to always remember to sift and blend the matcha with a whisk.
Drinking green tea is a powerhouse source of nutrients and phytochemicals! Go get a cup of tea and enjoy your beautiful day!
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