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 How To Drink Green Tea for Beginners 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Fabulous Functional Foods by . View all columns in series
The following recipe addresses the special diet considerations for: dairy-free; gluten-free; low fat; low glycemic index; vegan; vegetarian; anti-cancer; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; inflammatory bowel diseases

What Japanese and Chinese people have known for centuries - that green tea is not only a delicacy, when brewed correctly, but also an easy way to augment one's health and well-being - is now being verified and accepted by the medical profession in the Western world. Green tea contains extremely powerful antioxidants, a range of catechins in particular, which protect against health problems such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also contains varying amounts of caffeine bound to tannins; the caffeine content depends on where the tea is grown. For some types of tea, the caffeine content is comparable to that of coffee. However, even the green teas with the highest caffeine content are much gentler on the body and the adrenals than coffee, the reason being that the caffeine is bound to the tannins in the tea, which ensures a somewhat slower rush of caffeine into the blood. The result is a much gentler and more sustained energy boost, compared to coffee and black tea. Also, you won't experience the energy downs you get from coffee, when the rush of caffeine suddenly stops as abruptly as it started. So for those having trouble getting through the day without coffee, which stresses the body's biochemistry, green tea is not merely an alternative, but an improvement. It can do what you want from coffee, but it has none of the negative effects.

Green tea also seems to increase fat oxidation to a level greater than what can be explained by its caffeine content alone. So green tea might also be good for weight loss when combined with a proper diet. The tannins in green tea have a beneficial effect on the GI flora; they inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the GI tract. One Japanese study showed antibacterial and even bactericidal effect against some types of pathogenic bacteria, which might attack the GI tract1.

Green tea might also be a possible agent for maintaining remission in patients with an inflammatory bowel disease2, because of its powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Quite a few people have a horrible experience the first time they drink green tea and thus shun it from then on. For them, it is yet another affirmation that healthy and tasty are incompatible opposites when it comes to food and drink.

The secret is to blanch the tea for about one minute and discard the water to steep out some of the bittertasting compounds in the leaves. Once the water is discarded, you can start brewing real green tea. A general guideline is to use 1 tsp of green tea for each cup brewed. If you're making a whole pot, then add an extra tsp of green tea "for the pot", as they say in China. Do not use a tea filter or anything like that. The tealeaves should simply lie in the cup or pot, so that they can unfold completely when water is added. That way, the largest possible surface area of the leaves is exposed to the hot water, which ensures optimum extraction of all the healthy and great tasting compounds inside the tealeaves.

In Japan, the time the tea is left to steep depends on what time of the day the tea is consumed. From morning until early afternoon, the tea should be left to steep for only 3 minutes. Such a short time ensures a higher ratio of caffeine and other energizing compounds to calming compounds, which purportedly makes ones thinking more focused and intense. Just what you need while working. From late afternoon and until bedtime, green tea should be left to steep for 5 minutes. This purportedly ensures a lower ratio of caffeine and other energizing compounds to calming compounds, which is perfect for reflecting upon the day that has passed.

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 About The Author
Oscar Umahro Cadogan started working with food after suffering from serious GI dysbiosis and delayed allergic reactions to numerous foods for several years. At the brink of getting full-blown inflammatory bowel......moreOscar Cadogan
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