By Kristy Podruchny
Green tea has been an important part of Chinese and Japanese culture for a few thousand years and is highly coveted for its health benefits. Western medicine started investigating these benefits and is exploring green tea to see what it does to help human health.
Wondering what makes green tea a super food? Green tea is a super food because of its high levels of antioxidants. Catechins are polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) present in green tea that are responsible for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Caffeine also plays an important role in the health benefits found in green tea.
Get ready for it—this is a mouthful. Green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. A study conducted by the University of Shizuoka has shown that green tea and EGCG suppress inflammatory reactions in our bodies.
Let’s not forget the magic green tea provides for heart health. A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that EGCG’s also help break down the plaque that can form in arteries. As you can imagine, our blood needs to circulate efficiently and plaques can lead to coronary heart disease. Combined with green tea’s LDL cholesterol and triglyceride lowering benefits, this tea has proven itself to be an ally to your heart.
Though its caffeine content is minimal, be mindful about how much you consume—especially if you know you’re sensitive to caffeine. Conflicting studies have the scientific community rethinking its stance on caffeine. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Psychological Anthropology showed that caffeine and an amino acid called l-theanine, present in green tea, improve cognition and reduce anxiety.
Coffee shops have made matcha a household name. Matcha is made from ground up green tea leaves and is known for its beautiful bright green color. It’s often made into lattes because the taste is less bitter than other types of green tea. Matcha contains high levels of chlorophyll, which helps transport oxygen and has been studied for its potential anticancer effects.
There are many ways to enjoy this super food. Sip a cup of hot tea, enjoy it iced, try it in ice cream and lattes. When you buy powdered tea like matcha, you can sprinkle green tea and all of its benefits into any food including salad dressings and baked goods. Tea connoisseurs know there’s a difference in taste and texture depending on how the leaves were harvested, where they were grown and how it’s ground. Take care not to over cook your green tea—water temperature and steep time makes a difference in whether or not the polyphenols are available to do their job in your body!
Green tea and EGCG suppress inflammatory reactions in our bodies.