Should I Eat Tea?
Author: Millennia TEA’s Official Science Steeper - Allison Tannis, MSc RHN
How healthiest way to drink green tea may be to eat it
You should eat tea, according to research. It may sound odd until you consider that green tea, one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, is created by steeping tea leaves. What makes the tea healthy are the health-promoting nutrients steeped out of the tea leaves. Tea leaves are packed with healthy nutrients! Imagine if green tea is considered a superfood, how ‘super’ it would be to eat tea leaves. (Before you dash to the kitchen to rip open a tea bag filled with dried tea, keep reading.) Dried tea leaves contain fewer nutrients and tastes less appealing than fresh leaves (similar to how you’d prefer a fresh bowl of spinach leaves to a spoonful of dried greens powder). Here’s everything you need to know about why you should eat tea leaves.
Which Tea is a Superfood?
Green tea is a superfood because of its high ORAC value (antioxidant ability). Your cup of green tea contains lots of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG is 100x more powerful than vitamin C as an antioxidant, says University of Kansas scientists.
TEArrific FACT: Green tea is considered a superfood because it has a high ORAC value.
The Difference Between Black Tea, Green Tea, and Matcha
All teas are made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but not all are considered superfoods. To create different types of tea, the tea leaves are processed differently. Like with all fresh produce, the more you process it, the more nutrients can be lost. Drying tea leaves creates green tea. Drying and grounding young leaves into powder creates matcha. Drying and oxidizing tea leaves creates black tea.
Why You Should Eat Tea
But, why process tea leaves at all? Fresh is best, as the saying goes. Fresh tea leaves offer the maximum amount of nutritional value. According to Harvard Medical University, “fresh is best because it offers the greatest quantity and variety of nutrients.” This isn’t breaking news. Nutritional experts have recommended adults eat leafy greens to promote health, such as mixed greens, collard greens, leaf lettuce, kale, or spinach. When it comes to such leafy greens, we know fresh is best. Tea leaves are no different. When hand-picked, fresh from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, a tea leaf contains the maximum nutrients.
TEArrific FACT: Eat tea, as organic tea leaves contain 15x more antioxidants than a cup of tea brewed with dried green tea leaves.
Let’s go eat tea leaves – anyone got fresh tea leaves? Most of us don’t have a tea plant in the backyard garden or nearby so we head to the freezer. Researchers at the University of California-Davis found the nutrient content between fresh and frozen is very similar. Frozen organic tea leaves contain 15x more antioxidants than dried green tea! By freshly hand-picking, washing, and then quickly flash freezing the organic tea leaves it maximizes their nutrient content. Research shows the ORAC value of Millennia organic fresh tea leaves is about 68,000 – that’s 17x more than blueberries. A typical cup of steeped dried green tea has an ORAC value of about 1,250. Still, craving a cup of freshly steeped tea? Sip in the satisfaction that your cup of brewed Millennia Tea has an ORAC value of about 8000 – that’s 5x the typical cup of dried green tea.
A Superfood of Superfoods
*ORAC is a measurement of the antioxidant power of a food per 100g, conducted in laboratory tests.
Based on USDA values, for 100g of blueberries os 2400, kale 1770, Spinach 1260.
Benefits of Eating Tea Leaves
Tea leaves, like most green leaves, are packed with nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and flavonoids. Green tea leaves are a potent source of antioxidants that nullify free radical damage that occurs in the body, according to researchers in the journal Nutrients. Free radicals cause damage that leads to inflammation, and damage around the body, and is linked to many diseases, as well as wrinkle formation. That’s right – eat tea leaves for their antioxidant ability that helps protect your skin from damage, and increases collagen and elastin content in the skin (that’s the scaffolding and springs that keep your skin taut and resilient.
TEArrific FACT: Green tea may protect your skin from aging, and brain from cognitive decline.
If getting old is adding stress to your life, you’ll want to know that research shows green tea is linked to improvements in mood, including reducing anxiety. Green tea does a lot for your brain: researchers report adding green tea to your diet may benefit memory and attention. In addition, many studies show EGCG in green tea leaves has neuroprotective effects, with some studies suggesting EGCG could help reduce the risk of dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s in green tea leaves that’s so healthy for you?
- Flavanols, called catechins (epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, EGCG).
- Calcium, magnesium, selenium
- Vitamins B, C, E
- Flavanols, flavandiols, flavonoids
- Phenolic acids
How to Cook with Tea Leaves
A delicious addition to a salad dressing, Organic Chopped Tea Leaves mixed with lemon juice and olive oil creates a vibrant, fresh vinaigrette to top your favourite garden salad. Try tossing a few tablespoons of Chopped Tea Leaves into your next stir fry, just before serving. Adding chopped tea leaves to our no-bake energy balls can really boost the antioxidant level. Or, get the healthy nutrients of fresh tea leaves into your meals by include it in your favourite smoothie recipe.
How to Make the Most Nutritious Green Smoothie
Into your morning smoothie probably goes a handful of fresh spinach or kale, over a greens powder as you know fresh offers you more nutrients. Take it up another notch, and put a handful of tea leaves in your smoothie. Offering an outstanding 68000 ORAC units per 100g, it’s a TEArrific idea to eat tea leaves. Check out out these delicious Millennia Tea Smoothie Recipes, using our fresh, organic superfood tea leaves.
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Vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage. J Agric Food Chem 2015 Jan 28;63(3): 957-62.
What are ORAC values? Scientific American 2013 Apr.
The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. Nutr J 2010; 9:3.
A review of the role of green tea (Camellia sinensis) in antiphotoaging, stress resistance, neuroprotection, and autophagy. Nutrients 2019 Feb; 11(2): 474.
Green tea intake and risks for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and cognitive impairment: a systematic review. Nutrients 2019 May 24:11(5):1165.
Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: a systematic review. Phytomedicine 2017 Oct 15;34:26-37.