New year, new start; kick off 2015 with some clean, green tea energy. You’d be surprised how many health benefits you’ll receive just by swapping out your usual cup of coffee or pumpkin spice latte for a hot cup of green tea.
We’re not knocking coffee by any means (hey, sometimes, you’ll find a cup at our desks early in the morning) but here’s a few things that might convince you to make room for a greener alternative.
Catechins (a type of antioxidants that promote cellular repair), are the major source of all of those amazing green tea health benefits oft cited in articles, lists, or by that “healthy” friend or relative we all have. Said to be responsible for disease prevention, anti-aging, and more, there’s no reason to not load up on these powerful things.
Calming Energy Boost- Green tea contains an amino acid, L-theanine, which promotes a sense of calm. When paired with caffeine, green tea gives a subtle boost, without the dreaded caffeine crash and burn.
Detox- Post-holiday season, you’re probably feeling a little sluggish after . Green tea is loaded with chlorophyll which helps the body get rid of toxins, heavy metals, among other things that probably need to go away.
Oral Health- Try swishing with green tea to keep things fresh. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants that inhibit the growth of oral bacteria, as well as some fluoride to keep teeth and gums healthy.
The list goes on. If the typical green tea in a bag isn’t really your thing, shake it up with a frothy green tea latte, a roasty mug of genmai cha (green tea blended with toasted rice), or even sneak it into your favorite cookies and cakes.
Green tea ice cream, green tea lattes, green tea cakes, cookies, and kit kats. All use the same secret ingredient- matcha, the tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. And while green tea baked goods are always appreciated- matcha is pretty darn good on its own too.
Despite its increasing presence in various tasty treats, smoothies, and supplements- our friends, families, and many of those we talk tea with, still don’t seem to have a clear picture of what matcha is.
So.. then, what exactly is it? Well, matcha is the only tea in which the entire leaf is consumed; meaning this vegetal and vibrant powdered tea packs in way more nutrients than its traditionally infused counterparts.
Matcha begins with leaves lovingly grown in the shade, beneath screens and straw shades, which reduces the rate of photosynthesis. Due to lack of access to the sun, the tea leaves are forced to work extra hard, catching whatever glimmer of the sun they can- resulting in a bright green, nutrient rich tea, known as tencha.
The tencha leaves are picked late in the harvest, after spending about 2-4 weeks in the shade, and are subsequently air-dried, de-stemmed, and ground into a fine powder using a stone mill. Tencha is now matcha; tea transformed.
Just a few of the countless benefits you'll enjoy by embracing the “shadier side” of green tea:
Calming, Crash-Free Energy Boost- Like coffee and brewed teas, matcha does contain some caffeine. It also contains L-theanine, an amino acid responsible for a savory, umami flavor, that has an anti-stress effect. The caffeine and L-theanine combine to create a calm, alertness. Japanese monks have used matcha for over a thousand years; helping them stay focused while meditating for hours on end.
Some Nutritional Basics- Potassium, Iron, Vitamins A, C, E, & K- who knew you could get so many vitamins and minerals just from sipping on tea?!
Antioxidants- Matcha is jam packed full of antioxidants that do everything from naturally freshening breath, potentially aiding in fighting some cancers and HIV, protecting skin against damage from the sun and potentially, from age induced wrinkles and sagging.
Detox- Another way to get our essential fill of greens; chlorophyll is the stored solar energy that gives matcha its green color. Its high chlorophyll content has a cleansing effect on the body, helping eliminate chemicals and heavy metals, restore pH balance, and support the immune system.
Metabolism Booster- Matcha can raise your metabolic rate, while increasing fat oxidation- especially if consumed right before hitting the gym. It also has thermogenic properties- which means it helps the body burn calories while digesting food.
It's Super Convenient- Not exactly a health benefit, but a killer benefit nonetheless, matcha’s powdery, “just add water” nature makes it essentially the perfect instant drink mix; effortless, but with no sugar or mystery ingredients that tend to be the price of convenience.
Around these parts, we use matcha anywhere we can; green tea mints and immune support, and our newest addition, green tea lattes! Next time, skip the juice cleanse- and whip yourself up a frothy batch of ceremonial grade deliciousness.
Sneezing, coughing, and exhausted? Fructose, glycine, and cysteine hydrochloride to the rescue! Wait...What..?! Your typical, run of the mill immune support drink is loaded with sugar, synthetic vitamins, and ingredients that can be a little tricky to pronounce; not exactly a recipe for daily wellness success. We think we can do better. Green Tea +C is a whole-food based immune support drink made from organic green tea, acerola cherry, and a blend of ginger, orange peel, and turmeric that work together to help you stay well. Naturally...
Here's a thing or two worth knowing about natural immune support.
Antioxidants, we’ve all been told, are seriously good for you. Their inherent super powers come from the ability to fight free radicals, which set off these chain reactions that actually damage the body’s cells. With its anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, green tea protects against illnesses that enter through the nose and mouth, with a type of antioxidants, known as polyphenols. Polyphenols help fend off viruses like the common cold, strep throat, and influenza- just skip the milk if you feel your defenses are low, dairy proteins bind to polyphenols, making them inactive.
Another immune boosting fact- green tea has also been shown to have a positive impact on brain and mood functions; a happy, healthy mind means a happy, healthy body.
Certain fizzy drinks might talk a big vitamin C game, boasting something like 2600% of your daily value, but in reality, your body can’t absorb anywhere near that amount. It’s simply too much of a so-called “good” thing. Ascorbic acid is listed as vitamin C in a sizable chunk of your favorite supermarket staples, its purpose being, to replace vitamin C lost in the pasteurization process(the heat destroys naturally occurring vitamin C). Ascorbic acid is essentially only the outer layer of a vitamin, it is extracted and isolated from a sugar molecule found in corn, and is therefore missing the co-factors and micronutrients that work together for maximum absorption.Green Tea +C gets its “C” from the Acerola cherry, a tiny fruit hailing from the Amazon that contains more vitamin C by weight than an orange.
It might taste sweet, but sugar is truly up to no good when it comes to your immune health. Excessive sugar curbs the immune system’s ability to fend off bacteria and viruses that invade the body. Normally, white blood cells engulf, then absorb incoming foreign organisms, basically cleaning out anything that doesn't belong in the body. Sugar vastly slows this process, leaving the immune system wide open for attack from incoming germs.
It’s time to adopt a “less is more” mentality when it comes to vitamins. If you find your nose getting progressively harder to use, throat scratchy, or maybe just the onset of flu season panic; take a timeout, drink some tea, and try eating real, wholesome foods.
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