Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Tasty Benefits of Green Tea

The featured longevity food for this month is actually a beverage—and one that is consumed more than any other beverage in the world, other than water: green tea. Read on to learn all about green tea’s benefits for your long-term health and try the tasty Lemony Green Tea recipe below!
In my new book, Secrets of Longevity Cookbook, I list green tea as one of the top ten foods for health and longevity. During my twenty-five years of studying centenarians, I found that the same ten foods kept recurring again and again in the diets of long-living individuals, and green tea definitely tops the charts in the beverage category. This is the third article in my monthly series that highlights each of the ten longevity foods. If you’re just catching up, check out the sweet benefits of sweet potatoes or the power of peanuts!

The Tasty Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has been enjoyed in Asia for thousands of years, and with all the buzz about the healthy compounds in tea, it is becoming a very popular beverage in the US. Technically speaking, green tea is the steamed, rolled, and dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Many preliminary studies have associated drinking green tea with helping lower the risk of certain types of cancer, improving cholesterol levels, lowering heart disease risk, boosting alertness, and possibly aiding in weight loss. The healthy benefits of green tea are thought to come from antioxidants called flavonoids, which help protect the cells in your body. Depending on what type of green tea you are drinking, you are also most likely consuming much less caffeine than what is in coffee, cup for cup.
Because of these touted health benefits, it is now very easy to find bottled green tea at the market. Just know, while convenient, these bottled beverages tend to contain far fewer of the health-boosting flavonoids and much more sugar than the tea you brew at home. Brew it yourself with the easy recipe that follows!

Lemony Green Tea

Serves 4
This refreshing green tea blend will pick up your energy level and is the perfect warm beverage for these blustery days. Adding a twist of lemon not only enhances flavor, but is also thought to help your body more easily absorb the antioxidants into your bloodstream. In the warmer months, feel free to triple this recipe and keep in the refrigerator for a cooling drink.
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons green tea powder (or 1 green tea bag)
  • 1 piece lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
Bring water to a boil. Let water stand for 3 minutes, then pour heated water over lemon zest and tea in a mug. Allow to steep, covered, for 3 minutes. If using tea bag, remove. Add lemon juice and honey. Enjoy!
You can find plenty of healthy, tasty, and creative recipes for long and healthy living in Secrets of Longevity Cookbook, a great companion book to my Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle.
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May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
—Dr. Mao
This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.
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