Green Tea Ice Cream
Green Tea Ice Cream: When a sweet tooth is a good thing
Quick, can you think of a child on your block who wouldn’t straighten up his act if it meant getting ice cream? Yeah, I couldn’t really either. Now, can you imagine a kid chowing down on green tea ice cream (GTIC)? That may be a harder sell compared to gooey Rocky Road for most tots.
GTIC has been a staple in Japanese desserts for decades, but it has only really become half-popular in the United States since the 1970′s. The flavor has actually enjoyed a lot of fanfare in East Asia, in general, and Japan, in particular. Companies like Baskin Robbins carry the flavor overseas because they know it tastes great and there’s a huge market for this palatable flavor and health promoting dessert (no I didn’t misspeak!).
GTIC is alternatively known as Matcha Ice overseas; Matcha is the specific type of green tea that is normally used in the process. GTIC is made in a similar way to normal ice cream, but the health benefits are perhaps greater the green tea variety. To make GTIC you need the following ingredients: milk, egg yolks, sugar, heavy whipped cream, matcha green tea powder, and hot water. The entire process of making the green tea ice cream actually only takes a few minutes – minus the freezing procedure. You can find out more specific instructions here – http://japanesefood.about.com/od/japanesedessertsweet/r/greenteaice.htm
So why should GTIC take the place of traditional ice cream? Well, let’s start with the green tea content on the former. Green tea is chock full of cancer fighting substances like antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols – all three of these substances are reported to neutralize free radicals, which damage the bodies cells and might lead to cancer. The American Association for Cancer Research showed that the polyphenols in green tea could effectively prevent certain types of cancer. Additionally, the Yale University School of Medicine demonstrated what they called the “Asian paradox” of health in the East. Their almost contradictory observations were that although some Asian sects are exposed to more cigarette smoke and harmful pathogens, their rates of heart disease and cancer were rather low, compared especially to their Western counterparts. The Yale team hypothesized that this was the case because of the high antioxidant and polyphenols (both substances found in green tea) found in the traditional Eastern diet.
Another powerful health-promoting agent found in green tea, and thus in GTIC, is l-theanine, which is an amino acid related to glutamic acid. L-theanine is actually a anxiety dampening substance because it seems to slow the release of cortisol; cortisol is a nasty substance found in the brain that is released when we are experiencing stress. So, with GTIC you are getting numerous benefits – you have the antioxidant protection that helps your cells by neutralizing a substance that hurts cells (i.e., free radicals), alongside the l-theanine content that helps to bring about a sense of well-being and peacefulness by slowing the release of a substance that stresses us out (i.e., cortisol).
The benefits of the GTIC don’t end there, however. Green tea has been used in China and Japan for centuries to help calm the mind – this is especially important in our overstressed, overworked society – while strengthening the immune system globally. Green tea is also said to limit cholesterol absorbstion by the intestingal tract, and generally interact with the body as a metabolic stimulant. This means that you will probably digest your food more fully, potentially equating to extra energy for the bodies’ cells. And – let’s face it – we all could benefit from a little extra energy.
So, comparing GTIC to normal ice cream, heavy on chocolate and saturated fats, is really a now brainer. Green tea ice cream is relatively less caloric and easier to digest that the typical Western ice cream, overloaded with Oreos, gummy bears, sprinkles, and perhaps even sugar substitutes like high frustose corn syrup.
GTIC can be a profound health enhancing substance, when used in moderation, because it contains substances like l-theanine, antioxidants, and polyphenols that work with the bodies cells to stave off disaster (especially at the hands of free radicals), enhances immune activity and metabolic function, and is far less caloric and leaden with saturated fats compared to sprinkle studded desserts typically found in American ice cream shops.
Green tea has been revered in China and Japan as a health promoting substance for centuries, and what better way to ensure your own continued health than by capitalizing on time tested wisdom, from the East, and current medical research, from the West? And considering green tea comes in ice cream…wait, is that my sweet tooth calling?