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That warming, inviting feeling of that first sip of tea is something so many of us look forward to in our daily lives. Whether you enjoy it as a morning ritual, have it before bed to relax, or drink it when you’re under the weather, its benefits are endless.
Native to China, tea has spread all over the world becoming a staple in cultural traditions. Afternoon tea in England, Turkish tea after a meal, and refreshing, sweet Thai iced tea are examples of how its evolved through time. Yet the tea that started it all, continues to be sipped today with little manipulation from its original state.
That is—green tea. Green tea has been around for centuries and has been consumed longer than any other tea in the world. But why is there still so much hype about it?
Not only is it delicious and calming, but it’s also a powerful herbal remedy that can help extend life. To understand how something so simple can have such a big impact on health, we need to understand the basics.
The Roots of Tea
All tea comes from the same plant Camellia Sinensis. The difference in the variation of teas we drink comes from the oxidation process. Oxidation happens before processing tea leaves for drying. Different harvesting and processing techniques, and climates, influence the color, aroma, and taste of the final product.1 Slight changes in these elements allow us to have a bountiful selection of tea as we know it.
Green Tea: earthy, vegetal, bitter, toasty flavor, and is not oxidated at all.
Oolong Tea: partially oxidized, giving it a softer flavor. Floral, woody, and touches of honeysuckle are found in oolong tea.
Black Tea: fully oxidized with the richest taste. Like a dry red wine, black tea is pretty tannic, with spicy, metallic, smokey notes.
Our friends at Pique has some fantastic options and our Daily Dose community enjoys a 5% discount site wide.
What about other popular teas like ginger, rooibos, chai, and earl grey? The process to make them changes based on the varietal, but different flavors are added by infusing essential oils or extracts into the dried leaves.
Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is one of the world’s most powerful superfoods. Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of death globally. Modern medications used to treat these illnesses temporarily fix the problem and can have contraindications. Green tea is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can improve your health and reduce your mortality.
Research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes can significantly lower their risk of death with regular green tea consumption.2 It’s been linked to preventing oxidative stress, several types of cancer, degenerative diseases, obesity, and heart disease.3 This is only a small part of an even bigger list of this magical elixir’s incredible effects!
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, an internationally recognized expert in functional medicine, biological aging, and the nutrient-based regulation of our genome, notes that green tea is a potent epinutrient and DNA methylation adaptogen that helps ensure good genes are turned on and bad genes are turned off. In fact, it is featured as one of twelve longevity superfoods in her book, Younger You.
What is EGCG?
EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, is the main catechin in green tea. Catechins are what make it such a powerful antioxidant. The National Cancer Institute defines catechins as “a substance found in tea that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are made during normal cell metabolism.” Tea, stone fruit, berries, cacao, red wine, and fava beans have high concentrations of catechins.4 Black and oolong tea contain EGCG’s, but green tea is known to have the highest amount.
The Best Way to Drink Green Tea
Wondering how to drink green tea? It’s important to note that not all brands and brewing methods have the same EGCG content. Where the tea is from and how its processed varies greatly. Organic teas are generally a safe bet. Boiling water and letting the tea bag steep for at least 10 minutes will make its properties more potent. Dr. Fitzgerald says consuming green tea on its own between meals will provide the most benefit.
This is because EGCG binds to minerals and proteins which reduces its absorption. So while you’ll still benefit from having it with a meal, its effect is maximized when drinking it on its own.
Matcha and its Glory
We couldn’t write this post without talking about matcha. Matcha has taken the world by storm as an alternative to coffee. Its creamy mouthfeel and bright green color are loved far and wide for its powerful health benefits and delicious taste.
Contrary to popular belief, green tea and matcha do contain varying amounts of caffeine, which naturally occurs in the plant it’s derived from. This isn’t always a bad thing, but if you have a health condition where caffeine may cause adverse side effects, it’s important to consult your doctor before implementing green tea into your diet.
The difference between traditional green tea and matcha is how they’re produced. For green tea, the tea leaves are dried, then steeped in boiling water before drinking. The leaves are then discarded. With matcha, the dried leaves are ground into a very fine powder and mixed with hot water or milk. You ingest the whole leaf when you drink matcha, which unlike steeping, gives you the full force of benefits. 6
You can think of it like juicing. Juicing is a great way to incorporate fresh produce into your diet, but you do lose some fiber and magnesium. The same goes for green tea and matcha. Both are excellent options, you’ll just get that extra boost from matcha. Its versatility makes it great to cook and bake with. Antioxidant-rich and easy to use, it pairs well with many spices and has a number of flavor combinations making it a perfect addition for healthier meals.
Want some interesting ways to add matcha to your next meal? Our friends at Pique have created some incredible recipes to share with you using matcha. Check it out and let us know what you think!
Matcha Blue Pea Flower Smoothie Bowl
Simplicity at Its Best
Tea is easy to prepare, affordable, and widely accessible. Taking control of your health can simply start with a cup of tea. Your flavorful morning matcha can considerably improve your health making it a win-win. No wonder this ancient beverage is still so popular today!
Try Pique’s superior quality tea range with 5% off their entire assortment using this link.
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