Green drinks are a popular addition to a healthy diet without much consideration about the components in the green powder or foods. To have a healthy green smoothie or dessert, consider matcha green tea as the source of chlorophyll instead of spinach, Swiss chard or kale.
Matcha green tea is grown in Japan by local farmers in the Yahagi river area. The tea leaves are mostly hand picked, steamed and dried before being ground into powder. Matcha tea is more expensive, but it offers a better quality of antioxidants than vegetable sources.
Zen Buddhist monks proclaim green tea as a great relaxation and calming agent. Western nutrition researchers laud green tea for its L-theanine, which has been shown to improve memory and concentration, enhance mood and promote energy.
Matcha green tea is a delightful hot beverage made by mixing the powder into water just below the boiling point, using 1 teaspoon of powder for every 6 ounces of water. A bamboo whisk and ceramic tea bowl add a traditional touch to the tea preparation. Store the green tea powder in the refrigerator for best flavor and nutrient value.
Green tea has been used in Japan since the 12th century, and the EGCG components have been the subject of hundreds of research papers that point to improved metabolism, appetite suppression and tumor reduction. Green catechin (EGCG) offers exciting clinical hope for people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and prostate cancer, according to Mayo Clinic research presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Other green beverages can contain toxic oxalates that may lead to crystals in the kidney or joints. Urine oxalates in spinach, Swiss chard and kale are not just a problem for people with a history of kidney stones. Consuming these high-oxalate vegetables in concentrated amounts daily can cause metabolic issues for those with fungal infections, anemia and immune disorders.
So when choosing a healthy breakfast green smoothie or dessert, select green tea. My favorite breakfast smoothie recipe combines 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder, 1/3 cup hemp hearts and mixed berries pureed until smooth. Another favorite is Green Tea Tapioca Pudding.
Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.