Green tea is the least processed and thus provides the most antioxidant polyphenols, notably a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits linked to green tea. Green tea is made by briefly steaming the just harvested leaves, rendering them soft and pliable and preventing them from fermenting or changing color. After steaming, the leaves are rolled, then spread out and “fired” (dried with hot air or pan-fried in a wok) until they are crisp. The resulting greenish-yellow tea has a green, slightly astringent flavor close to the taste of the fresh leaf.
In black tea production, the leaves are first spread on withering racks and air-blown, which removes about one-third of their moisture and renders them soft and pliable. Next, they are rolled to break their cell walls, releasing the juices essential to fermentation. Once again, they are spread out and kept under high humidity to promote fermentation, which turns the leaves a dark coppery color and develops black tea’s authoritative flavor. Finally, the leaves are “fired,” producing a brownish black tea whose immersion in hot water gives a reddish-brown brew with a stronger flavor than green or oolong teas.
Oolong tea, which is made from leaves that are partially fermented before being fired, falls midway between green and black teas. Oolong is a greenish-brown tea whose flavor, color and aroma are richer than that of green tea, but more delicate than that of black.
Green tea has always been, and remains today, the most popular type of tea from China where most historians and botanists believe the tea plant originated throughout all of Asia. Why is this so? Perhaps because green tea not only captures the taste, aroma and color of spring, but delivers this delightful bouquet along with the highest concentration of beneficial phytonutrients and the least caffeine of all the teas.
1. You’ll become more mindful.
Which one takes longer and really makes you slow down? Eating clean also means eating with purpose and savoring food. That means a better relationship with everything from radishes and radicchio to red velvet cupcakes (which you’ll no longer crave).
2. You’ll save money.
Kiss sick days and medical bills goodbye when you get nutrients from eating clean, real food. Plus, shopping locally and in season makes sense– and cents. Planning clean meals for the week is cost-effective if you make a list and stick to it, as there’s no chance of overspending at the store.
3. You’ll live longer.
Study after study has shown that consuming these foods can lengthen your life-span. And in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, European researchers have found that increasing your produce intake to more than 569 grams per day reduces your risk of mortality by 10 %.
4. You’ll have better relationships.
Preparing clean meals takes time, just the kind of time that allows for easy, relaxed conversations with your kids, spouse and other family members and friends. If they’re too busy with screen time to share stove-top time, point them to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2014 study, published in Public Health Nutrition, showing good health comes from home cooking.
5. You’ll be smarter.
Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts keep our minds sharper and our memories stronger by a whopping 24 %, proved a study published in spring 2015 in Neurology. Our brains also function better with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, as shown in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, while they slow and sputter down when we fill them with sugar (including alcohol), fast food and the wrong kinds of fats. If that’s all too much too think about, remember one point from the Nature Reviews Neuroscience report: A balanced diet means better brain health.
See also 9 Amazing Brain Boosters to Add to Your Diet.
6. You’ll have more energy.
Adam and Eve were onto something when they bit into that apple: Fruit is just one of many clean foods that provide an instant dose of energy. High-fiber fruits like apples take longer to digest and can instantly stave off that afternoon slump while providing critical vitamins for the evening ahead. Other pick-me-ups include quinoa, almonds, eggs, kale, citrus fruit and a good-old-fashioned glass of water.
7. You’ll be better in bed.
Mamma mia! Women with metabolic function in Italy and other regions of the Mediterranean enjoy a healthier sex life than those in the US, thanks to the components of their diet– yep, vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and olive oil. That’s what researchers found in a comprehensive study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research.
8. You’ll help the planet survive.
There’s an oft-quoted statistic that food travels approximately 1,500 miles from farmer to consumer in the United States. By eating seasonal and local foods, as recommended by Clean Eating, you can help reduce your carbon footprint. As the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in 2003, “The major threat to future survival and to US natural resources is rapid population growth”and “the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is more sustainable than the average American meat-based diet.
9. You’ll be stronger.
The lean protein that comprises part of the clean-eating philosophy builds lean muscle mass and boosts metabolism, found a study presented at The Obesity Society’s annual meeting in 2014. Some mighty choices for your muscles (in addition to animal-based products like chicken, fish and lean beef) include quinoa, chickpeas, nuts, spinach and seeds.
10. You’ll be happier.
Food and mood go hand in hand. And the better the food, the better your mood. If you need to brighten your day, go for berries, bananas, coffee, lean proteins, chocolate, omega-3 and turmeric fatty acids, all proven to boost your mental state.