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Going green: the health benefits of green tea

McKay Savage
via Flickr

You may enjoy having a cup of coffee every morning, but have you ever considered switching to green tea?

This week on “Take Care,” Ashley Koff discusses the health benefits of green tea and how to properly incorporate the beverage into your diet.  Koff is a registered dietician and creator of the website Ashley Koff Approved, which provides viewers with a comprehensive and thorough guide to quality eating.

“Green tea really is a super powerhouse of nutrition,” Koff says.

It is rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cancer and other diseases.  Studies have also shown that green tea helps reduce appetite and increases longevity.  Lower levels of acidity in green tea make it an appealing alternative for coffee drinkers.

Although green tea has many salubrious effects, it is important to take care in choosing your tea.

“Not all green tea is created equal,” Koff says.

The best form of green tea is organic and minimally processed, says Koff, who warns against purchasing whole leaves unless you are sure that they are organic, as they can contain harmful pesticides. 

In addition to finding the best product, it is also important to consider how green tea interacts with your body’s physiology. 

Since green tea contains caffeine, Koff says to drink one to two cups a day depending on your caffeine sensitivity.  For those who are more sensitive to caffeine, reusing a tea bag can be helpful.

“After you use your tea bag once, the rest of the uses of that tea bag will be decaffeinated.”

It is also important to steep the tea the right way in order to get the maximum amount of health benefits. Koff says not to steep the tea in boiling water and to “count at least to five” before placing the tea in the water.

Different kinds of green tea may require different methods for optimal steeping.  Koff recommends the websites In Pursuit of Tea and Choice Organics for steeping information regarding specific tea types.

Following Koff’s guidelines for green tea consumption can provide you with an alternative to less healthy caffeinated drinks.