Refreshed, calm and energized. That’s how I feel after I drink a cup of green tea. Different types of tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant, and all are beneficial. However, because it’s processed less than most other teas, green tea has exceptional health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants called catechins, which help fight and prevent cell damage.
While more human research is necessary, there is general consensus that drinking green tea may have the following health benefits:
- Lower your risk of various types of cancer, such as breast or prostate cancer.
- Improve brain function and prevent cognitive impairment.
- Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
- Improve oral and dental hygiene and lower the risk of infections.
- Lower your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.
- Promote cardiovascular health.
- Aid in weight loss and lower the risk of becoming obese.
- Boost the immune system.
- Aid in treating skin conditions or improve arthritis by reducing inflammation.
- Help you to relax and resist mental fatigue.
Green tea contains a natural chemical called theanine, which can produce a calming effect. Green tea does contain caffeine (but not as much as coffee). As a result, the tea can increase energy levels and concentration, but this effect can vary among individuals. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may not be able to consume more than 1 or 2 cups per day. Too much caffeine can disrupt sleep.
When you make green tea, whether it’s hot or cold, don’t add the tea to boiling water. Boiling water reduces the catechins in the tea and you won’t reap the benefits. Instead, add very hot water (or take kettle off the heat just before the water boils) and let the tea steep for 3-4 minutes. If you like lemons, then add a wedge to your tea cup. Vitamin C makes the catechins easier to absorb.
Here’s an iced tea beverage that I like to make with green tea leaves, lemon juice, honey and fresh herbs. It tastes great on a hot summer day. You can make it with green tea that comes available in individual tea bags or with loose green tea leaves. I prefer the taste of fresh loose green tea leaves, as featured above. With loose leaves, all you need is an infuser or tea filters. Enjoy!
Herbal Iced Green Tea
- 4 cups (1 litre) of hot water
- 2 teaspoons of loose green tea in infuser/filter -or- 2 green tea bags (or more if you like it stronger)
- 3 tablespoons liquid honey (stevia or sugar cane if vegan)
- Juice from 2 lemons
- Some lemon wedges or slices
- Mix of fresh herbs: I use mint, thyme & lavender flowers with leaves
- Lots of ice cubes
Infuse the tea in the water for 3-4 minutes and add the lemon juice and honey. Let this cool for a while. Add remaining ingredients.