I am not a fan of bitter. I don’t really like quinine, arugula, bitter chocolate or Starbucks coffee. Until recently I would have included green tea on that list. In my mind it is associated with that bitter stuff you get in Chinese restaurants.
Green tea, however, has always been one of those things that I have thought that I “should” like because it is so good for you. Or so I have read.
Experts agree that green tea is full of plant-based antioxidants called flavonoids. Specifically it is the best bio-available source of a particular type of flavonoid called catechins. The most important catechin is call EGCG. Studies by the Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon show that EGCG is better than either vitamin C or vitamin E in fighting free radicals and halting oxidation damage to cells. Over the last couple of years I accumulated a list of other reasons to drink green tea which included:
- Fighting Obesity – According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania green tea helps regulate glucose levels and reduces insulin spikes so that body does not overproduce blood sugar which gets stored as fat.
- Protecting the heart – An Australian study shows that the antioxidants in green tea keep the endothelial cells that line the circulatory systems working properly and prevents clogged arteries.
- Boosting the immune system – Oregon State University reports EGCG boosts the number of regulatory T cells in the body. These regulatory T cells shut down immune responses after they have successfully eliminated invading organisms is essential in maintaining a health immune system.
- Lowering cholesterol – The University of Maryland has shown that the polyphenols in green tea block cholesterol absorption and lowers LDL (the bad) cholesterol
- Improving Memory – A study in Japan shows that EGCG boosts the production of neural cells in the hippocampus. The over all result on mice showed that learning and memory were improved because of improvements in object recognition and spatial memory.
These five are only a handful of the many reasons that experts recommend drinking green tea. But all the “shoulds” in the world couldn’t get me to choke down even one cup a day, never mind the 3-5 recommended cups.
All of that changed, however, when I stumbled upon an incredible green tea called Botanic Choice. It actually tastes wonderful. After trying it once, I bought a big batch and brew a gallon jar full every day. No problem drinking the 3-5 cups! The tea is infused with apple, apricot, cherry, orange, mango, peach, raspberry, and strawberry juices. Somehow the juices blend nicely with the slight underlying bitterness of the tea. Over ice it is tasty and refreshing. Of course, I am now hooked.
The 3-5 cups do not make me even a little jumpy. Yes it does have caffeine, but it is very gentle, due to the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine is a nervous system calming agent and specifically helps with depression. Just one more benefit.
I can even say it is a whole food plant-based beverage. It doesn’t get better than that!
And, NO, I am not even considering giving up caffeine!