The medicinal and healing properties of green tea are well known – however, you don't necessarily need to drink it to get the benefits.
I first 'got in' to drinking green tea quite a few years when I wanted to break my unhealthy addiction to coffee and replace it with something more beneficial to my health.
I used to drink about 8 cups of strong black coffee a day, wasn't sleeping and had constant headaches and wondered why.
Now don't get me wrong - I'm not totally against that little dark bean as there are some proven health benefits to be gained by drinking a good cup of coffee, but this article is about the rewards of green tea and I think these rewards far outweigh the few coffee positives.
Although green tea does contain caffeine it's in much lower quantities. Green teas grown in the shade contain a tad more, like Matcha and some other powdered teas, but by choosing loose-leaf green teas over bags, the caffeine content is lower.
Green tea has been used medicinally in China for thousands of years. It lowers bad cholesterol, regulates glucose levels, reduces high blood pressure, protects brain cells, and has powerful anti-oxidant and flavonoids properties to protect the body against cancers.
Feel Good Factor
Due to its theanine properties, some people with mild cases of depression say that drinking a cup of green tea helps induce relaxation and ease anxiety. Green tea also has a reputation for weight loss due to its polyphenol content that increases metabolism, although bear in mind no good drinking a cuppa along with a double-chocolate muffin as that muffin will still end up round your waist regardless.
Green tea is also fabulous for the skin, naturally tightening, lifting and firming it and its anti-bacterial qualities reduce acne and blemishes. Drinking green tea helps cleanse the liver, eases acid reflux and helps keeps bones, including teeth, strong and healthy.
Here are 10 easy ways to incorporate green tea into your life
- apart from drinking it!
#1 – Banish Bags
To liven up your eyes and reduce eye bags: Simply dip two green tea bags in warm water. Place them on a saucer and cover with a paper towel and refrigerate to cool. Before going out, spend 10 minutes relaxing with the cold tea bags over your eyes to reduce any puffiness and dark circles.
#2 – Skincare
To unclog pores and enhance silky skin: Add one tablespoon of green tea leaves or the contents of two green tea bags into a bowl. Add hot water and stir. Put a towel over your head and your head over the bowl (not in it!) and allow the steam to seep into the skin for at least 10 minutes to cleanse.
Then add some ice to the hot water and soak a cotton wool ball in the cooled water and wipe over the face. You skin will feel toned and lifted due to the tea's anti-inflammatory properties. Moisturise as usual.
#3 – Hair Care
To soften hair and stimulate growth: Green tea contains vitamins E and C so making a green tea rinse will help ensure your hair is bouncy, rich and full-bodied. Add 3 or 4 green tea bags to a 1 litre of warm water and after shampooing and conditioning as normal, remove the tea bags and pour over the warm water as your final rinse.
#4 – breakfast Boost
Make your morning porridge more exciting: Instead of using water when you make your porridge - use green tea instead. Add a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of hazelnuts too.
#5 – Chill Out
Make homemade green tea ice cream: Green tea ice cream is very popular in Japan and is slowly becoming more available here in Europe. If it's not at your local health food store yet, then make your own! Here's a recipe I found and the ice cream always turns out simply divine.
#6 – Flower Power
Liven up your house plants: Never throw away that half-drunk cup of tea! Add it to the watering can when you're watering your plants and for roses in particular, cut open the used tea bags and sprinkle the leaves into the soil. The roots will benefit tremendously from the nutrients of the leaves and you can then do away with commercial and toxic plant-boosters.
When repotting house plants, put a few tea bags at the bottom of the pot to help fertilise the soil.
#7 – Incense
Get rid of pesky insects and mosquitos: Burn some sun-dried green tea leaves in a clay dish.
#8 – Tea & Cake
#9 – Foot Soak
Ease tired (and smelly) feet: Soaking feet in a bowl of warm green tea will get rid of any awful cheesy smell and leave your feet feeling soft and smooth.
#10 – Freshen Carpets
Get rid of pet odour from rugs and carpets: Sprinkle dried tea leaves over the carpet and leave for 20 minutes before vacuuming. The leaves will suction up any unwanted smells and dust mites, leaving your carpets looking fresh and clean.
So here you have 10 different ways you can go green. And remember, apart from drinking a warming cup of green tea, you can always drink it iced, make green tea smoothies and natural energy drinks.
Just a little word of warning if you're pregnant though - don't over do it - green tea may deplete iron levels and is a diuretic.