Think, Read, Cook

Because no single way of eating works for everybody.

The Perfect, Health-Giving SuperThing!


See, this is a prime example of what I mean.

Green tea. Suddenly, when we least expect it, green tea becomes the magic cure-all for everything from cancer to obesity, from heart disease to dementia. Green tea, the real, single reason why East Asian people are healthier than Westerners. Green tea, the ultimate answer – the Perfect, Health-Giving SuperThing!

But so many other foods have been the Perfect, Health-Giving SuperThing, according to media in the past, that the green tea claims have a credibility problem for me. It’s not the tea I’m fed up with – I love tea. I’m annoyed because whenever a study indicates that a food may be good for us, we’re bombarded with hysterical reports about how that food is the Perfect, Health-Giving SuperThing.

It drives me nuts. Remember oat bran? Remember wheatgrass juice? Remember pomegranates and acai berries and prebiotics and blue-green algae? Oh, and yogurt – there was a time when yogurt would cure all ills. And yes, all of these foods are beneficial in some way. But none of them is going to cure all your medical problems and make you slim and happy. None of them is the Perfect, Health-Giving SuperThing.

This WebMD article is much more balanced about green tea. It states that, though most of green tea’s apparent health benefits have been seen in a lab, rather than in extensive human trials, it does appear that green tea is probably good for you, in several ways.

The green tea quote that sticks in my mind is this one, from Diane McKay, PhD, who studies antioxidants at Tufts University: “I don’t think it can hurt to drink it. I’d focus on dietary sources rather than supplements because there are several compounds in green tea that might need to be consumed together. We just don’t know yet.”

So, have some green tea, and maybe a pomegranate, and enjoy their flavour and nutrition. And keep on experimenting, and finding the foods that work best for you.Β  πŸ™‚

(Oh, and the tea snob in me insists that I mention this: to make the best green tea that isn’t bitter, use water that’s come off the boil – not fully-boiling water as you would for black tea.Β  Enjoy!)




15 comments on “The Perfect, Health-Giving SuperThing!

  1. theflashcook
    May 9, 2013

    off the boil means pre-boil or post-boil? I find green tea has an acrid taste when I make it – maybe it’s bitter actually. Either way it doesn’t taste the way it does in a restaurant or tea shop. maybe i’m just buying cheap tea.

    • thinkreadcook
      May 9, 2013

      Sorry, I should have been clearer. “Off the boil” means that once the water’s boiled, the kettle gets taken off the burner for a minute or two before the water’s poured over the tea. But it’s got to boil first – using nearly-boiled water will give you unpleasant results.

      If your green tea is bitter, it’s possible the water was too hot when you made it. Other possibilities are the quality of the tea, or the teabag itself. Sometimes the flavour of the bag can interfere with the taste of the tea. Anyway, do give the off-the-boil thing a try and see if it helps! πŸ™‚

  2. snati001
    May 9, 2013

    Green tea is my favorite among the teas. I normally drink matcha or sencha and I use a thermometer to check the temp before I put the tea in. I love green tea! Thanks for sharing your insights.

    • thinkreadcook
      May 9, 2013

      Hey, thanks for sharing yours! πŸ™‚ Matcha is delicious; it’s one of my favourite ways to drink green tea. So’s genmai cha – sencha with toasted rice in it. Definitely worth trying if your into that kind of thing – Mmmmm.

  3. judy
    May 9, 2013

    I’m a brit who doesn’t drink tea. Anymore. The smell and taste made me feel sick when I was pregnant with my son and over 40 years later still does

  4. judy
    May 9, 2013

    Oh and my 7 year old grandson loves green tea. I think my daughter said with honey.

    • thinkreadcook
      May 10, 2013

      I am similarly not as fond of seafood as I used to be, because I couldn’t stand it when I was pregnant. Scarred for life! πŸ™‚

  5. judy
    May 10, 2013

    Shrimps etc are so not kosher and I’d never eaten them till I came here. Ridiculous isn’t it. Bacon too. I love it. I like ham but I feel strange eating pork although crackling sounds interesting. My grandparents would be rolling in their graves. When my dax was in the army 2nd world war he had to eat non-kosher but he had his limits. He’d finished eating when the chap sitting next to him said ah nice bit of rabbit. My dad went and brought the whole lot up. He’d thought it was chicken. Do you know what spam is.

    • thinkreadcook
      May 10, 2013

      I certainly do know what Spam is. My mother used to like the cheaper knock-off versions of it, fried. Not my favourite thing! πŸ™‚

  6. judy
    May 10, 2013

    Ok then. At high school one year, I must have been about 12, there was a party at school and we all had to take a teacher! ! ! Anycase all the good ones went quickly so I took our history teacher who to us then was about 80. In the evening my dad asked what we ate. I said there were sandwiches and stuff. He asked what I ate and I said I didn’t eat the ham ones. I ate the spam ones. He didn’t say anything but I do remember he looked at my mum. Probably didn’t want to upset me telling me what I had eaten. How was I supposed to know. The kashrut laws never said anything about spam.

    • thinkreadcook
      May 10, 2013

      Hee-hee! That’s because Spam isn’t really food… Okay, yeah, I’m being a snob. πŸ˜€

      • judy
        May 11, 2013

        Anf and I was an ignoramus.

      • thinkreadcook
        May 11, 2013

        Nah – not knowing about Spam just shows your good character! πŸ™‚

  7. Kate O
    May 10, 2013

    Tea, coffee, wine and dark chocolate have all been declared to be superfoods. My life is pretty much complete.

  8. judy
    May 11, 2013


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