As the resident tea aficionado at Eat This, Not That!, it’s rare to see me without a mug of tea in my hands. I’ve seen so many people benefit from tea—including personal success among my family and friends—that I literally wrote the book on tea: The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. And while test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week, the benefits of tea can be soaked up in a variety of creative ways. We’re constantly seeing cool things pop up in the news as other tastemakers and innovative culinary artists find ways to integrate tea into their foods and drinks.
1. Cook with tea
There are so many foods that require hot water that it’s a super easy way to swap in hot green tea. Use it for oatmeal or to give an earthy flavor to quinoa. You can experiment with different types of tea—white tea, red tea, pu-erh tea, etc.—and be mindful of caffeine levels if you’re doing this at dinner.
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2. Make tea soup
Instead of using chicken or beef stock, using tea as the base of your soup stock is an easy and nutritious soup substitute. I recommend using green tea for noodle soups and having it at lunch, since there may be more caffeine in there than you’d want at dinner.
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3. Bond it with berries
Specifically, strawberries. “Ochame,” which translates to tea strawberries, is a delicious dessert in Japan that’s made up of strawberries dipped into white chocolate that’s been mixed with green matcha powder. The result is both sweet and bitter—and chock full of antioxidants.
4. Make an ultra-steeped cold brew
You get a potent dose of antioxidants from hot green tea, but did you know that for the maximum benefits, you’ll want to steep green tea in cold water for two hours? This is because green tea’s antioxidant capacity relies on time and temperature of preparation. Being exposed to cold water for a prolonged time optimizes the free-radical-scavenging activity. Check out the best time and temperature for the three most popular teas (black, green, white) with our short guide on how to make tea.
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5. Drink away your ailments
From settling an upset stomach to helping you sleep, there’s a brew for many of the things your body needs. With looseleaf stores popping up on every other corner and mall, it’s never been more trendy to sip a healthy tea instead of toxin-filled sodas or sugar drinks. The buzz (no pun intended!) is well-deserved because the right types can change your life!