Super(man)foods Pt. 3

3. Green Tea (Ice cream)

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When I went to Hong Kong during Christmas, I had the chance to try green tea soft serve ice cream that tasted phenomenal. The most surprising part was that it came from McDonald’s! In comparison to Canada, there are a lot more green tea flavoured foods in Hong Kong. Oreos, Kit Kats…you name it! Green tea is thought to have originated from China and when outsiders started realizing it’s beneficial properties, they began demanding it. With supply following demand, companies had to follow suit and most restaurants today offer green tea on their drinks menu. For example, Starbucks’ “Green Tea Frappuccino” used to be a hidden jewel but over the years it has made its way onto the regular menu. But seriously, why are people so hyped up about green tea?

Well, similar to our chocolate discussion, green tea is full of an antioxidant called catechin. High levels of catechin are maintained due to minimal processing of green tea. Not only that, research has shown that green tea lowers blood cholesterol. Wait, what is cholesterol? It is a substance similar to fat that is produced by the liver and found in (yummy) foods like hamburgers and fries. Having small amounts of cholesterol is important because it is involved in bodily processes like forming cell walls and synthesizing vitamin D. Problems arise when we have too much of. It hardens the walls of our arteries, reducing the flow of blood. In the case of a heart attack, there is so much cholesterol built into the walls that it completely blocks off the blood supply to the heart. This is why green tea is said to prevent heart attacks and improve blood flow.

Your body is interconnected, so it’s no surprise a healthy heart also means a healthy brain. The brain has its own blood vessels to supply it with sufficient levels of oxygen/nutrients. Good blood flow from drinking green tea ensures the brain is properly fed. In addition, when scientists did an MRI scan to study the brain activity of individuals who drank green tea, they noticed more activity in the areas responsible for memory. In other instances, green tea has also been found to prevent Alzheimer’s by preventing plaque from forming in the brain.

The next time you head to a tea shop looking for green tea, go for the matcha. Even less processed, matcha has been found to have 7x the amount of antioxidants compared to dark chocolate and 137x more catechin than what is found in regular green tea. It is said that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea is equivalent to drinking 10 cups of regular green tea. How is this possible? Matcha green tea is ground up tea leaves so essentially you are consuming the whole leaf as opposed to drinking the water flavoured by tea leaves. The problem is that good matcha powder can get pricey and you have to be careful especially when buying it online. Trustable sources are David’s Tea and Teavana.

Now that you know about 3 different types of superfoods, it’s time for you to make a chocolate, matcha incorporated salmon soup. Just kidding! I hope you enjoyed learning about superfoods and have gained a new appreciation towards them – I certainly have! But just keep in mind moderation is key regardless of how “healthy” or “unhealthy” something is considered to be. 

matcha

Sources:

http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/nutrition/cholesterol.html

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/heart-cholesterol-hbc-what-html

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/matcha-green-tea-a-superfood-to-supercharge-you/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/health-benefits-of-green-tea?page=2

Photo Credits:

http://ohjoy.blogs.com/my_weblog/japan/

http://splash.suntimes.com/2014/03/21/trending-now-on-the-mark/matcha

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