Besides its soothing warmth and unique flavor profile, green tea is well known for offering some pretty big nutrition benefits. Did you know green tea is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can add to your diet, ranking high on the list with many other superfood superstars?
The benefits of green tea
Green tea leaves, which come from the Camellia sinensis plant, are not only packed with potential when it comes to supporting good health, they may provide protection from future body woes, thanks to the action of their beneficial compounds.*
The antioxidants in green tea fight free radicals, destructive molecules that damage healthy cells throughout the body. Green tea is also rich in L-theanine, an amino acid known for promoting calm and focus, and chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants that offers alkaline benefits to fight acidity and promote a healthy inflammatory response.*
In addition to drinking it, what are some other popular green tea uses? Think beyond the tag bag! Found in several different forms (loose leaf, powders or even capsules) and varieties (such as matcha), green tea can be added to your diet in some pretty amazing ways that you might not have considered. Here are 7 ideas to try today:
1. Perfect your porridge
Do you treasure your morning bowl of delicious warm oatmeal or breakfast quinoa? Instead of using plain water or milk to cook it, try using brewed green tea. Just boil some water, steep the tea for several minutes and then discard the bags. Cook the grains of your choice in the tea just as you would normally use water.
Tip: To balance the flavor of your porridge without adding sugar, sweeten it with raisins, goji berries or some stevia. Add almonds or walnuts for healthy fat, or dress up your porridge however else you'd like. Either way, you’ll love the amazing, depth of flavor green tea adds, and it’s a great way to get the benefits of so many healthy foods all in one meal!
2. Sneak it into a smoothie
Open a green tea bag and add half of the leaves into your next superfood smoothie for a new way to do breakfast. Green tea adds a great pop of flavor and has a fantastic grounding effect, helping ease any stress or tension you might have in the morning.
Tip: Choose matcha green tea for your smoothies if you want something a little fancier or for a sweeter, nuttier flavor. Matcha hasn’t been roasted like other types of green tea, so it offers a great flavor for smoothies and shakes. Organic Kukicha tea or Bancha tea are two other potent varieties of tea made with green tea leaves if you want a deeper, more traditional green tea flavor.
3. Enjoy it in energy bars
Making your own energy bars is one of the most budget-friendly (and fun!) ways to customize a healthy snack that doesn't contain the added sugar or artificial ingredients found in most bars sold in stores.
All you need to make your energy bars are some dates, nuts, maybe some seeds (like pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds) and add-ins of choice, such as cacao nibs, coconut flakes or maca powder. Green tea also is a great addition for a fun flavor accent and a bit of kick (thanks to its natural caffeine content).
Tip: To make your bars with complete ease, be sure to soak the dates and nuts/seeds overnight in some water to help them blend easier. The next day, drain them, dry them off and whirl them in the food processor with your other ingredients. Roll and press the mixture into bar shapes (about 3" inches square a piece), arrange them on a cookie sheet, cover with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then you can enjoy them for weeks or even put them in little baggies for travel-friendly eats!
4. Bake with it
Baking is a great opportunity to use green tea because there are so many ways you can use it. From loaf cakes to muffins, cupcakes, cookies and even cakes, there’s a way to use green tea no matter what you’re in the mood to make.
Consider using some green tea or a bit of matcha powder in your next batch of healthy vanilla cupcakes, or sneak it into a banana zucchini loaf bread. It adds such a fun flavor and all you need is about a tablespoon of green tea leaves to add a wonderful flavor to your recipes. You could also use steeped green tea liquid in place of water in a baked recipe for a milder flavor if you choose.
Tip: Green tea pairs well with orange peel, cocoa, and herbs such as lavender in recipes where you want to make a big impression for guests without a major hit to your wallet.
5. Simmer a savory sauce
Green tea can be blended with raw tahini, some garlic, a bit of mustard, apple cider vinegar and a touch of black pepper to create a fantastic savory sauce that you can use on zucchini noodles, whole wheat pasta, salads, veggie burgers and so much more. It adds a nutty, earthy flavor, but doesn’t taste like you’re eating green tea for dinner!
Tip: Remember, a little bit of green tea goes a long way, so don’t add too many green tea leaves to your sauce(s); all you need is a half a teaspoon per ½ cup of sauce.
6. Enhance waffles
There’s nothing like a delicious waffle in the morning to just make the day seem a little bit brighter. Waffles can also be made healthy if you’re looking for a way to enjoy a comfort food meal in a more nutritious way.
For instance, use a whole grain waffle mix, add some ground flax for extra fiber, and use non-dairy vanilla milk in your recipe as a plant-based, heart-healthy option. Then consider adding some delicious and nutritious ingredients, such as chia seeds, dried blueberries and even some green tea, for variety and flavor.
Tip: Matcha green tea is great to use in waffles because it’s mild in flavor and it adds a beautiful pop of bright green color. It also pairs well with vanilla and blueberries, and it adds an amazing depth of flavor to balance out the sweetness of waffles. Top your creations with a homemade chia jam as a great lower-sugar option that also delivers extra health benefits including fiber and more antioxidants.
7. Deck out dessert
Chocolate is always a good idea, right? Well, that’s true in this case too! You can easily add green tea to any homemade chocolate recipe since it’s a wonderful chance to add the incredible benefits of chocolate and green to your diet in one recipe. Just one teaspoon of green tea powder will add a nice gourmet flavor to chocolate recipes, whether you’re making chocolate bars, truffles, or bark.
Tip: To make healthy chocolate bars at home, be sure to choose only the best ingredients--because you deserve it! Raw cacao nibs can be melted down to make homemade chocolate--just add matcha tea (one of the best varieties of green tea to use in homemade chocolate recipes!) and use natural sweeteners such as liquid stevia (or raw agave nectar if you want a raw option). Goji berries, mulberries, coconut flakes and hazelnuts or other nuts/seeds are also healthy additions if you want an even more nutritious dessert.
Now that you know some of the best, must-try ways to add green tea to your diet, all you need to do is find your favorite variety. Experiment with different varieties until you find your favorite out of the bunch!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.