Q+A Tuesday: Matcha Green Tea.

Happy Q+A Tuesday! Let’s matcha you up with some good stuff today.

Q: “Tell me how you feel about matcha.” –T.B. in London, ON

A: I think it’s great! And let me tell you why.

First, matcha is the powder of green tea leaves. And many of us know the benefits of drinking steeped green tea leaves. So imagine the additional benefits you get from consuming the whole leaf. Awesome, right? Wait, there’s more.

Just in looking at the antioxidant value of matcha, it has more than 10 times the antioxidant content over blueberries and pomegranate. And this is based on a measurement system food scientists use called an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value. So if you’re foraging/shopping around for different types of high antioxidant foods, especially berries or greens (fresh or in powders), this is a good unit of measurement to be familiar with. To give you a general idea of what this means, matcha has an ORAC value of approximately 1,300 units per gram and blueberries have an antioxidant value of approximately 90 units per gram.

Because of the potent antioxidant content of matcha, it’s great for anyone in this day and age since everyone has some degree of exposure to free radicals. The body produces small amounts of free radicals as well as part of its metabolism, especially in athletes and those who exercise regularly, therefore making even higher nutrient-dense high antioxidant food choices especially important for this group of people. And for those who are dealing with lowered immunity or elevated toxicity (e.g. cancer), antioxidants, like the EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate), vitamin C, and vitamin A found in matcha green tea, help to support a healthy immune system.

If you’re looking for a memory, mood, and focus booster, another super awesome surprise bonus benefit to matcha powder is its L-Theanine content. L-Theanine is an amino acid that promotes concentration and a feeling of wellbeing. And if you’re wondering how a substance which also contains caffeine can be calming, I was stumped at first, too. It would seem that the interplay between the caffeine and the focus-inducing L-Theanine keep the nerves in check, however those sensitive to stimulants may want to use matcha with caution and in smaller amounts.

One of the most notable benefits some of you may have heard about recently are the fat burning and metabolism boosting benefits of green tea. And with detoxifying chlorophyll, matcha could certainly help to support a weight loss regimen.

The best places to buy matcha powder are from local health food stores or tea shops as they can speak to the quality of the matcha. If you’re dealing with me specifically at Ezentials, I’ll steer you toward an organic variety to even further the benefits of the powder by reducing your exposure to chemicals potentially used in producing the green tea leaves. There are varying levels of quality in green tea so be sure to ask for a high quality Japanese variety.

The best way to brew a cup of matcha is using hot (not boiling) water and a bamboo whisk to stir and dissolve the powder properly. It’s also a great addition to smoothies, greek yogurt, or hot whole grain cereals. The ways to incorporate it into meals are really limitless. Just make sure not to overcook or overheat it to preserve maximum nutrients.

Enjoy the versatile benefits of matcha green tea! The Japanese have for thousands of years.

Thanks for participating in another week of Q+A Tuesday! xo

Q+A Tuesday: Protein Sources for Toddler Smoothies

Happy Q+A Tuesday! With so many of my friends making darling rosy-cheeked babies these days, a question about what to feed them was bound to arrive.

Q: “Lee-Ann, my little guy loves smoothies right now and not much else… Is there like a protein powder that I could add to it that you know is safe for an 18 month old?” —Elyse R. in Sudbury

A: Infant and toddler nutrition should be very simple and basic. To satisfy protein requirements via smoothies for an 18-month-old, I’d recommend adding a tablespoon of very finely ground chia or flax powder (ground instead of whole to prevent choking hazard), a whole egg, or goat’s milk yogurt. If the toddler eats an adequate amount of whole grains (oats and rice), they’ll be consuming plant-based protein from those food sources as well. At 18 months, they should be consuming 1.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. And when trying to balance the child’s diet, aim for balance through a variety of whole foods over days rather than at each meal. Those little guys will eat what they need.

Thank you for participating in Q+A Tuesday! Remember to keep sending in your questions! See you next week!

Much love and wellness,

Lee-Ann

xo

Q+A Tuesday: Super Foods.

Hey everyone! Happy Q+A Tuesday. I am fresh off the yoga mat and ready to share this week’s super duper question.

Q: “So, these ‘super foods’ I keep reading about… Depending on where I look, they all vary. Are there certain super foods you recommend incorporating into ones diet daily/weekly???” ­­—Kevyn S. in Southampton

A: Hey Kevyn! This is an area that can get a little overwhelming, especially with a lot of different health professionals (whose name may rhyme with Dr. Shmoz) advocating this or that exotic super food or the supplemental version of a super food. Depending on a given person’s current diet, I would first recommend making some changes to incorporate more real whole foods into the diet rather than going out and spending a lot of money on super foods or supplements right away. To me, this is the approach that makes the most sense because it creates a long-term beneficial lifestyle habit rather than just patching up gaps in a person’s diet.

Super foods can be very simple and sustainable. Spinach, most leafy greens, herbs, and berries are a few that can be found locally depending on the season.

Others, like chlorella, have such a wide variety and great density of nutrients that taken in significant amounts daily can be used as a food-based multivitamin and mineral supplement.

Nutrient density doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or come from the other side of the globe. As long as people are choosing fresh, chemical-free foods, that’s a great place to start. The merits and benefits of super foods are very real but unless they have been recommended by a health professional for a specific therapeutic purpose, a normally healthy person would do just fine with a balanced diet that includes a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits. And keep in mind that with the nature of food sensitivities and unique individual metabolic needs, what could be a super food to one person could be toxic to another. Everyone is different! So if anyone is considering adding a new super food to their diet, pay close attention to your body for any reactions, whether beneficial or otherwise and always talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re currently taking any medications as some nutrients do interact with certain medications.

Thank you for participating in Q+A Tuesday! Remember to keep sending in your questions! See you next week!

Much love and wellness,

Lee-Ann

xo