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Food of the Month

Green Tea

Green tea is the least processed of the types of tea (green, black, and oolong) and thus provides the most antioxidant polyphenols, notably a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits linked to green tea.

Heart Health

Green tea has been shown to lower total cholesterol and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol, as well as protects the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol particles from oxidation. Green tea also improves both blood flow and the ability of arteries to relax, which may help prevent heart disease.

Improves Dental Health

The catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental cavities, and other dental conditions. Multiple studies also show that green tea can reduce bad breath.

Benefits Brain Health

Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age. The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders.

May Promote Weight Loss

There is some evidence that long-term consumption of green tea catechins is beneficial for increasing metabolism and burning fat, especially in the abdominal area.

Balances Blood Sugar Levels

Green tea has been used traditionally to control blood sugar levels. The EGCG found in green tea may improve insulin use in the body to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes that can result in fatigue, irritability, and cravings for unhealthy foods.

Tips for Selecting and Storing Green Tea

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  • The best way to ensure your tea is fresh is to purchase it in small amounts.
  • To retain freshness and flavor in both loose and bagged tea, store it in a tightly constructed opaque container to protect it from light, moisture, and food odors.
  • Dark glass or ceramic containers are best; tins often leak, as their seams are soldered.
  • Use a small container just large enough to accommodate the amount of tea; tea exposed to the air in a half-empty large container will continue to oxidize.
  • It’s best to store tea in a dark, cool, dry cupboard. Tea stored in the refrigerator is vulnerable to moisture and odors from other food, and the water condensation that occurs when frozen tea is defrosted can ruin it.
  • Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower-quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride.
  • Green tea, when properly packaged (vacuum packed or nitrogen packaged), has a shelf life of about 6 months. Once opened you have about 2-3 months to use it. If your green tea wasn’t packaged properly and is exposed to any amount ofair, it probably was never good to begin with.

Brewing and Serving Tips

Brewing Tips…

  • Don’t add green tea to boiling water. It’s bad for catechins, those healthy chemicals, in the tea. Let the water barely reach the boiling point, and then allow it to cool slightly before pouring over the tea.
  • Add lemon, not milk. Vitamin C makes the catechins easier to absorb. Dairy, on the other hand, makes it harder to absorb them.
  • You’ll get most benefit out of freshly brewed hot tea that has steeped for one to three minutes, a process that helps to bring out the catechins.

Serving Suggestions…

  • Add a sprinkling of green tea leaves to a chicken stir-fry.
  • Substitute brewed tea for water when cooking rice.
  • Add broken tea leaves to flour when dredging fish or poultry.
  • A few tablespoons of brewed green tea perk up salad dressings.
  • Tea ice cubes are great to keep iced tea from becoming watered down and for flavoring other drinks.