Matcha Green Tea Powder (& a cancer-thriver smoothie recipe!)

Last week, I wrote briefly on the benefits of green tea. When it comes to increasing your intake of cancer-fighting catechins, doctors Richard Béliveau and Denis Gingras (authors of the book Foods that Fight Cancer) recommend that you choose Japanese green tea over Chinese. This is because the evidence indicates that Japanese green tea has higher amounts of beneficial cancer-fighting catechins.

Making the small change to Japanese green tea can have a big impact on your journey towards becoming a cancer thriver.

BUT…

What if you haven’t yet acquired a taste for green tea yet?

Well, I suggest you start with this recipe from Toronto’s much-loved vegetarian restaurant, Fresh (www.freshrestaruants.ca). They have kindly given me permission to share their recipe with you!

Shamrock Smoothie

Ingredients:banana, agave, peppermint oil, Matcha green tea powder, vanilla soy milk

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp agave
  • ½ tsp peppermint oil (or less if you use full strength oil)
  • 1 T Matcha green tea powder
  • 12 oz vanilla soy milk

Method:

  • Put the ingredients into a blender, blend and enjoy.

(Want to transform your diet to one that supports your goal to be cancer free? Get monthly trainings on the key elements of a thriving after cancer diet and lifestyle, complete with tips to get you started right away. Join here.)

thriving after cancer coaching and support program with jean lamantiaWhy Should Cancer Thrivers Try This Recipe?

Let’s take a look at the cancer-fighting potential of the ingredients in this delicious smoothie!

Banana—Banana is a source of prebiotic fibre. This is a type of fibre that provides fuel to the healthy bacteria that live in your intestines and helps to keep your immune system strong. A strong immune system is absolutely critical to a thriving after cancer lifestyle. Remember all prebiotics are fibre but not all fibres are prebiotic.organic blue agave syrup

Agave—While there is a lot of fear of sugar in the cancer community, the 1 tsp of agave in this recipe is a very small amount. And, it comes with a lot of other beneficial nutrition contained in this recipe. Agave is a sweetener made from the agave plant. Is there an advantage to using agave over other sugars? Check out “Added Sugar” below. If you want to avoid all added sugars, then you can leave this out of the recipe all together.

matcha green tea powder and peppermint oilPeppermint Oil—Like many spices, peppermint has a long history of medicinal uses, which continue to be studied and documented. In the case of peppermint oil, it is known for helping indigestion, reducing stress and anxiety, and even has been shown in test tube and animal studies to combat a variety of cancers. The ½ tsp in this recipe is a small amount but it is nice to know that most of the ingredients in the recipes have positive health properties. When you are learning to thrive after cancer, every small step helps! They can really add up and transform into a healthy lifestyle.

Matcha Green Tea Powder—Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves. The tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight several weeks before harvest. The dried leaves are de-veined and de-stemmed, and stone ground to the fine, bright green powder known as matcha. When you consume matcha, you are consuming the entire leaf—so you don’t use a tea bag or diffuser. Because of this, matcha is thought to be higher in beneficial cancer fighting compounds than steeped tea. To use the powder, just add it to the smoothie (or hot water if you are making a cup of tea). You can find it in tea shops and health food stores.

Vanilla Soy Milk – While I still come across cancer patients and survivors who have sworn off soy products (either on their own or recommended by a health professional), I am a promoter of soy. I’ve looked at the scientific evidence relating to soy and cancer and I feel very comfortable consuming organic whole soy foods. This is because the evidence has shown that consuming organic whole soy foods can help to reduce cancer risk due to soy’s many beneficial plant compounds. If you choose to avoid it, then substitute your favorite milk/milk-like beverage. I would love to hear how it turns out! Also, I should mention that this recipe calls for vanilla soy beverage, which will most likely contain added sugar. If you prefer no-sugar-added version, then get an unsweetened soy beverage. (See “How to Choose a Soy Beverage” below.)

How to Choose a Soy Beverage

It is recommended you choose whole soy foods and not processed soy foods. In order to choose whole soy foods, it’s important to read the ingredient list on the product. You want to choose those products that contain “organic soy beans” and not “soy protein isolate”. Organic soy beans will give you a higher level of isoflavones, which are a group of compounds shown to protect again cancer.

organic soy beans

organic soy beans

soy protein isolate

soy protein isolate

Is Agave Better than Table Sugar?

According to research scientists and dietitians at the University of Sydney (www.glycemicindex.com), the glycemic index of agave ranges from 10-19, whereas the glycemic index of sugar (sucrose) is 60-65. When it comes to glycemic index, the lower the number, the better. Agave has 20 kcal per tsp compared to sugar, which has less at 15 kcal. However, agave is also sweeter so you may find yourself using less. With these two advantages in mind, you may prefer to use agave over sugar. Keep in mind though that you should limit your added sugars to 25 g per day (See “Added Sugar” below.) Alos, stay tuned for my upcoming series on the relationship between sugar and cancer.

Added Sugar

Let’s add up the added sugar in this Shamrock Smoothie recipe:

  • ½ tsp agave = 2.6 g
  • 12 oz of vanilla soy beverage = 12 g
  • Total = 14.6 g

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends you limit added sugar to 25 g per day for women and 28 g per day for men. If you consume the Shamrock Smoothie, you will still be left with over 15 g for the remainder of the day. The natural sugar in the banana is not counted because only ‘added sugar’ is limited.

More Than Ingredients

Finally, this recipe provides more than the healthy ingredients and what they do for your body on a cellular level, it also provides you with positive energy and feelings from eating something you know is good for you. You feel you are part of your health care team. You feel you have the power to make a difference in your survivorship. To me, this is an important part of being a cancer-thriver—knowing you are making a contribution to reducing your cancer risk. I believe food, diet and lifestyle choices can make a difference in boosting your immune system, reducing chronic inflammation, and directly fighting cancer cells. Your everyday choices matter!

(Want to transform your diet to one that supports your goal to be cancer free? Get monthly trainings on the key elements of a thriving after cancer diet and lifestyle, complete with tips to get you started right away. Join here.)

thriving after cancer coaching and support program with jean lamantia

Let me know if you make the Shamrock Smoothie recipe and how you like it in the comments below!

Additional Reading

Matcha Madness What’s Old is New and Here to Stay

Other Green Tea Recipes

Matcha Tea Waffles

Matcha-Ginger Oatmeal Cups

 

 

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