Week 5 Nutritional Enhancement: REAL Green Tea
Start drinking REAL green tea. And drink a lot of it! The goal should be to drink at least 3 or 4 cups a day.
The health benefits associated with drinking antioxidant-rich green tea have been touted for centuries. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that tea is a healthier choice than almost any beverage, including pure water, because tea not only rehydrates as well as water but also provides a rich supply of polyphenols (antioxidants) that prevent disease and slow aging on many levels. Green tea is also a super anti-inflammatory.
What is more, a Japanese study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that drinking green tea lowers risk of death due to all causes, including cardiovascular disease.
Green tea can even improve your appearance! In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, green tea was show to boost skin elasticity and hydration and help protect against ultraviolet light–induced skin damage. If you start drinking real green tea regularly you will absolutely see an improvement in your overall skin quality.
People in China, India, Japan, and Thailand have consumed green tea and used it for medicinal purposes for centuries. Most of the research showing the health benefits of green tea is based on the amount of green tea typically consumed in Asian countries—about 3 cups per day.
Green tea is rich in catechins, a special type of antioxidant that really should be ranked right up there along with the other well-known antioxidants like vitamins E and C. Catechins are potent free-radical scavengers, anti-agers, and health promoters. Not only does green tea wash toxins out of the system through its liquid content but the catechins in green tea are known to improve liver function and augment weight loss by increasing the metabolism of fats by the liver (a thermogenic effect), inhibiting lipase (a fat absorption enzyme) in the digestive tract, and provide a feeling of satiety and fullness. Researchers have also found the catechins in green tea help reduce body fat, lower systolic blood pressure, and decrease LDL cholesterol, all of which in turn contribute to a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk.
But please don’t rush right out to your nearest supermarket or Wal-Mart and start stocking up on Lipton Green Tea. Not all green tea is created equal when it comes to health benefits or taste. In fact, so many of the standard green tea sold in the United States is loaded with pesticides, artificial flavorings and chemicals. For the most part, the green tea most people drink in the United States is not at all the same as the green tea they are drinking over in Japan.
Here are our favorite brands for REAL green tea:
- Costco’s Kirkland Signature Green Tea: We particularly like this one for taste and price. Costco’s Kirkland tea is made from sencha green tea from Japan. In keeping with the Japanese tradition, the tea is gently steamed, rolled, and then dried. The minimal processing stops the oxidation and preserves the freshness, aroma, and color of the tea leaf.
- Teavana: also offers a superior quality Matcha Japanese green tea powder that is certified organic. Matcha is super rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Did you know Matcha Japanese green tea is a good source of vitamins A and C? It also contains iron, antioxidant vitamin E and a bit of zinc too. It is even a good source of fiber! Ivy not only drinks the tea but also makes a facial mask with the powder by mixing it with raw honey or with pure argan oil (she prefers Josie Maran’s Organic Argan Oil). Note: not all Teavana tea is as high quality as their Matcha powder.
- Shaklee: For on the go we love to carry convenient individual packets of Shaklee’s Energizing Tea Green Matcha, which can be enjoyed hot or cold. This product is actually an antioxidant-rich blend of three different teas—Japanese matcha green tea, red tea (from south Africa, this is a very antioxidant-rich tea) and magnificently rare white tea, which is also extremely rich in antioxidants.
P.S. Did You Know You Can Boost the Benefits of Green Tea with a Squirt of Lemon?
It is worth noting that by adding just a little squirt of vitamin C–rich freshly squeezed lemon juice you can significantly boost the amount of catechins your body absorbs, thus boosting the health, antioxidant, and detoxifying benefits of green tea.