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Research Shows It's Smart to Think Green, Green Tea

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Green Tea

Help Fight Cancer with Green Tea Recipes from AICR

Research presented this week at AICR's International Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer revealed that an active substance in green tea targets a specific stage in the cancer process more effectively than current cancer drugs do. Human studies conducted in Asia, where green tea consumption is pervasive, have found that regular consumption of green tea is associated with a lower risk of many diverse cancers, such as those of the breast, colon, stomach, esophagus, bladder and pancreas.

In a press briefing at which recent research on the effects of green tea was discussed, AICR nutritionist Karen Collins talked about types of green tea and how to brew them, and suggested how green tea could be incorporated into the diet. The press briefing concluded with an opportunity for journalists to sample three types of green tea, a spread containing green tea, which was served on toasted bagels, and a Jasmine Tea Poundcake with Ginger.

The Many Types of Green Tea Offer a Taste for Every Palate

Although at least one type of generic green tea, usually packaged in tea bags, is available in most supermarkets, there are dozens of green teas, primarily from China and Japan, to choose from. Supermarkets specializing in organic foods usually carry a larger variety and, in some cities, restaurants or tea shops that focus primarily on tea often sell types of tea not available elsewhere. A wide variety of green tea is also available through many websites.

Green tea experts advise using the best quality possible and, since overbrewing can easily happen, the tea should be first brewed for half the time suggested in the package directions, then tasted to see if further brewing is desired.

Four Japanese green tea varieties are considered the most easily available, although others can also be found in large cities or at websites that sell green tea.

A description of the most common green teas available in the United States is provided in a text box at the end of this press release.

Principles and Rules for Brewing Green Tea

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The length of brewing time as well as the temperature of the water can affect the flavor and sweetness of green tea. The higher the water temperature, the more bitter and astringent the taste can become. Higher temperatures should be used only for lower quality tea, to more easily extract the most flavor and substance.

Experts in green tea recommend only using filtered or bottled water, although some experts prefer filtered tap water, as many bottled waters contain less oxygen, an important factor in making green tea. Ideally, the teapot and tea cups should be warmed in hot water before using.

The most important rules in making green tea is to never boil the water in an aluminum pot, and never steep the tea in teapots or cups made of plastic or aluminum, which badly affect the taste.

Good choices for teapots are glass, which makes it easy to monitor the strength of the tea, or either china or porcelain. Although china or porcelain cups are most commonly used in China and Japan, clear glass mugs can enhance one's appreciation for the delicate color of most green teas.

Water should be below boiling temperature when added to most green teas. One way of adjusting the water to the right temperature is to bring the water to a boil, immediately remove from heat and allow the water to cool 1-3 minutes, depending on the amount of water used, until the steam drifts sideways rather than rising straight up.

Ideally, tea should be made in a teapot with loose tea, in order to allow enough room for the leaves to "blossom," or open, and move through the water. Although small teapots for 1-2 servings are becoming easily available, an infusion basket or tea ball can be used for a single serving, but such baskets and tea balls should be large enough for the leaves to unfurl and move.

However, tea experts warn, infusers shaped like two half-teaspoons wired so they open and close, intended for a single cup of tea, do not allow room for the tea leaves to open, and thus produce an inferior flavor.

Green Tea Can Be Incorporated into the Diet in Many Ways

In China, green tea is used in many types of cooking. In making stir-fries, the home cook will often toss some loose green tea leaves into a wok and toast them lightly before adding other ingredients.

In Japan, green tea is most commonly found in commercial products, although a popular type of soup made with green tea, ochazuke, is made at home. Often served at the end of a meal or as a late-night snack, many Japanese view it the way Americans think of homemade chicken soup