Everyone needs a little pick-me-up during the day. Maybe it’s right before your 8 a.m. commute to work or class, around the midday slump, or even 9 p.m. and you need to power through three assignments for the next day. No matter when you feel a little tired, chances are you’ll reach for something that will give you a boost of energy. It might be coffee, chocolate, or — God forbid — a chemical-laden energy drink to give you that much-needed boost. But there’s another option that will give you the same caffeine kick in a much healthier way: green tea.
Green tea comes in many different varieties: hot, iced and even powder (like Matcha tea). Even though most of us don’t consider tea to be a “food,” it is hailed as a superfood by many nutritionists. It contains a ton of antioxidants, specifically catechins, which work against free radicals that form in your body and expedite the aging process. Green tea also improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. The other awesome outcome of improved blood flow? Improved brain functionality. Your brain needs healthy blood vessels in order to reach its full potential. The better your blood flow; the more brainpower you can harness. So, when you’re studying or sitting in class, this really is a beneficial outcome.
Regarding cancer prevention, studies have been a mixed bag. Green tea has been shown to aid in healthy cell formation, but research on green tea as a cancer-preventing agent is still in its early stages. Although scientists cannot definitively say that drinking green tea will decrease your chance of developing cancer, it’s still probably one of the healthiest beverages out there.
When preparing your green tea, keep a few things in mind.
The optimal temperature to steep your tea which is 160 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, never fear, instead just make sure you are not adding your tea to boiling water, as boiling water will actually break down the catechins that make green tea so healthy. Also keep in mind that vitamin C helps you absorb the catechins better, while dairy makes it inhibits that absorption. Adding a bit of lemon to your tea or purchasing a tea that already includes Vitamin C is your best bet to optimizing the health benefits of your tea. Steer clear of the milk, though, especially with the new “green tea latte” craze. These earthy lattes are delicious, but ask for soy or almond milk rather than cow’s milk when they are preparing your latte. That way, you can ensure that your body is absorbing all the green tea goodness you deserve.