Loving the BITE: Ginger Berry Green Tea
Day in and day out, are you hydrated? Do you get enough fluid? Or, are you one of the many adults, and even adult athletes, who operate in a chronic mode of dehydration? It doesn’t take much to get behind the ball. We’ve all been there on a ride – out of fluid and parched. But, do you realize that daily hydration is just as, or even more important than the bottle you tuck into your cage or your jersey?
This week, let’s take a look at a good hydration option. Beyond the benefits of consuming enough fluid, you’re in for a treat: a fluid that promotes health, fat loss, optimal metabolism, and adequate hydration. No chemicals, colorings or toxins. Look forward to warm Spring days with a nice glass of:
Recipe of the week: Ginger Berry Green Tea
- 4 cups hot, but not boiling, water
- 2 lemons
- Optional add-ins:
- 1 – 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
- 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
- Zest from 1 lemon (optional)
- 8 green tea bags or 12 tsp loose leaf green tea
- 4 cups cold water
- ½ cup frozen berries
- ½ teaspoon honey or liquid Stevia (optional)
Brew tea by placing ginger, cinnamon, and/or lemon zest in hot water. Add tea bags. Allow to steep for 3 minutes. Squeeze in lemon juice from 2 lemons. Strain into pitcher and add cold water. Refrigerate.
When ready to serve, pour tea over ½ cup frozen berries. Optionally, sweeten with small amount of honey or Stevia.
I’ll admit, it’s taking me a few years to incorporate green tea into my everyday life. I’ve long believed in the benefits of green tea, but just could not get over the inconvenience of brewing individual cups or the “grassy” taste. Now, I keep an entire pitcher brewed and ready in the fridge and it serves as my main drink throughout the day.
Have you given it a try? If so, let us know how you brew and enjoy it. Here are some reasons we should all be enjoying green tea:
There are few drinks with as many studies to support its benefits. And, while many results have been mixed or inconclusive, it’s very difficult to dispute green tea’s place in the diets of healthy populations who live in Eastern countries. It is wonderfully nutritious and packed with special antioxidants, called catechins. Because of green tea’s minimal processing, as its leaves are withered and steamed, not fermented like black and oolong teas, its unique antioxidants are more concentrated. The main catechin, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), is responsible for most of the health benefits, and there are many…
- It has been shown in animal studies to reduce cholesterol plagues, free LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Cyclists need strong hearts and unplugged arteries!
- In vitro (petri dish studies), green tea has inhibited the growth of cancer cells. And, high consumption of the drink has been associated with a 90% reduced risk of breast cancer in women – let’s add a pink ribbon to green tea.
- Antioxidants repair and protect cells, and EGCG goes for the brain. In fact, in mice induced with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, it helped to protect brain cells from dying, as well as ‘rescuing’ already damaged neurons in the brain, a phenomenon called neurorescue or neurorestoration. Studies are now underway in China on human Parkinson’s Disease patients. Sounds smart to me.
- EGCG has antibacterial properties that promote oral health in tea drinkers.
- The “eyes” have it, too. EGCG is absorbed by cells in the eye, and provide protective effects for up to 20 hours after consumption. This has led many experts to believe it may have a role in reducing diseases of the eye and glaucoma.
And the most recent buzz about going green? Metabolism and fat loss. Our friend, EGCG, helps our bodies oxidize and burn fat. Multiple studies have shown an increase in metabolic rates, weight loss, decreased waistline and fat loss with consistent green tea ingestion. Initially, it was attributed to the caffeine. But recent studies have shown these effects in caffeinated and decaffeinated green tea (there’s actually little caffeine in green tea to begin with). The studies have used both green tea “extract” as a concentrated form of antioxidants and regular, brewed green tea. Let’s drink to that!
I’ll be the first to tell you that many, many factors go into overall health and fat loss. But, you need hydration anyway – most athletes need 48-80 ounces per day + 20-32 ounces per hour training to stay out of a chronic dehydration mode. Dehydration has a DIRECT effect on your performance, more than lack of electrolytes or lack of carbs. If you go for a ride and feel like you’re draggin’, look to your hydration status first. Of course, water’s a great choice for daily hydration. But, if you want a little more benefit per gulp, brew green tea leaves in your water. And, don’t worry about any negative effect the 5-30mg of caffeine per cup of green tea might have on your hydration status – studies have shown that caffeinated drinks hydrate us well.
Buying and Brewing Basics:
You can find decent green teas in both the loose and bagged form. To start, try Soose Green Tea Leaves, Stash Darjeeling Organic Green Tea, or Celestial Seasonings Authentic Green Tea. Then, make sure to brew it for no more than 3-5 minutes in warmish hot, but not boiling, water. Add a secondary antioxidant source such as vitamin C from lemon juice to further protect the nutrients. From there, let your imagination, creativity and kitchen skills take over.
You’re just a few minutes away from being a fit, brainy, cardiovascularly strong cyclist with improved eye health and good oral hygiene. Let’s see Red Bull do that.
Go Green or Go Home.
Fuel the Ride. Nourish the Body.