6 Tea-rrific Ways to Use Tea in Diabetes-Friendly Cooking by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

Are you a tea sipper? That’s a wise choice. Tea is like a cupful of wellbeing, brimming with naturally occurring antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds.

6 Tea-rrific Ways to Use Tea in Diabetes-Friendly Cooking All tea varieties can offer noteworthy benefits when consumed regularly. Other than herbal varieties, tea is traditionally made by steeping the dry leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. There are four main categories of tea: green, black, white, and herbal.

About the Types of Teas

Each tea type boasts different flavors and potential benefits. Explore the differences between them to see which tea you might want to incorporate into your routine:
  • Green tea is an antioxidant powerhouse thanks to catechins that fight oxidative stress and may promote a healthy heart. When brewed, it’s often earthy green with a pleasant, savory taste (called umami), and grassy aroma.
  • Black tea is rich in theaflavins, an antioxidant which may protect heart and brain health and play a role in cancer prevention. When brewed, it’s reddish to dark brown with a robust flavor that’s nutty, malty, and slightly bittersweet.
  • White tea steals the spotlight with its minimal processing, preserving its overall micronutrient polyphenol content. This makes it an inflammation fighter and immune system booster. It’s a delicate diva of teas, with fruity flavors and floral aromas that likes to be brewed at a lower temperature.
  • Herbal teas are like nature’s elixirs for various conditions. For instance, chamomile may help improve sleep quality and peppermint tea offers potential antibacterial and anti-cancer properties. Colors and flavors are as diverse as its benefits.

6 Ways to Use Tea in Diabetes-Friendly Cuisine

Let tea be the secret ingredient to elevate your food, making it healthier, tastier, and more appealing. Try your favorite tea varieties (the ever-popular Earl Grey, for example) or experiment with new-to-you options (like roasty Genmaicha) to uncover surprising new flavor profiles and enticing aromas in diabetes-friendly dishes. Because of the bonus taste, you may be able to reduce added sugar or salt in recipes without losing overall taste.
  1. Tea-puréed hummus: Water is typically used when puréeing homemade hummus. Instead, use brewed tea to punch up nutritional benefits and prevent the dip from tasting watered down. Pick peppermint or Darjeeling tea.
  1. Tea-infused poaching liquid: When poaching chicken, like for a creamy chicken salad recipe, add a couple tea bags to the seasoned cooking liquid to infuse it with intriguing flavor and aroma. Jasmine green tea is a fragrant winner.
  1. Tea-spiked treats: When milk or plant-based milk is part of a sweet snack or dessert, such as muffins, give it a sophisticated upgrade by slowly simmering the milk of choice with herbal tea first. Lavender or peppermint tea are tasty choices.
  1. Tea-blended smoothies: Give your fruit- or veggie-based smoothie a green-over by sprinkling in matcha green tea powder when blending it. It’ll offer energizing oomph, too.
  1. Tea-spiced rubs: Grind loose tea leaves in a coffee or spice grinder and combine with spices, like coriander and cumin, to craft a spice mixture for rubbing onto hearty veggies or roasts. Go with lapsang souchong or other smoky tea.
  1. Tea-infused grains: Prepare whole grains, like brown rice, farro, or freekeh, with tea instead of just water to impart extra fragrance. Lemon, ginger, or chamomile tea are all delightful pairings.
Remember, if you’re using teabags with paper tabs on them, remove those tabs before adding into cooking liquids. Choose caffeine-free (herbal) teas when advised by your health care provider.  

Try These Tea-rrific Recipes

Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie
The star of the smoothie is flavorful blueberries that are delicious as they are nutritious and packed with antioxidants and fiber. The smoothie gets an extra antioxidant boost from fresh brewed green tea, making this smoothie a powerhouse!
Chipotle Chili and Tea Rubbed Salmon
Spice rubs are a great way to infuse flavor into seafood, meat, poultry, or vegetables. This recipe features omega-3 rich salmon, but you could use this rub on other proteins and veggies as well!

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