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Health & Nutrition, News

Aaah, sleep, glorious sleep.  How wonderful it is to drift off to the land of nod, and to arise, refreshed and ready to face the day seven to eight hours later.  But how many people do you know who actually get the optimum amount of sleep? When was the last time you woke up naturally from a deep and nourishing sleep, ready to tackle the day without needing a jolt of caffeine to get you going? 

 

We all have times in which sleep is elusive.  Sometimes it is thankfully only for a short period, but at other times it is painfully prolonged. The events of the past year have played havoc with the sleeping habits of many people. Studies have shown that not enough sleep, or poor quality of sleep, over a extended period can adversely affect our physical and mental health. Not enough sleep can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. 

 

In the UK there are many options for help available for those struggling to sleep, starting with advice from your GP and the NHS.  If you are reading this blog, you may be looking for complimentary ideas to use alongside these proven methods. In this blog we will attempt to answer the following questions and ascertain whether tea can help you to sleep better.

  • The definition of sleep
  • How much sleep do I need?
  • Why can’t I sleep?
  • Sleeping tips
  • Does Twist tea help with sleep?
  • Key UK sleep advice resources

The definition of sleep

Sleep is a tricky concept to pin down.  According to this explanation, ‘sleep is a reversible behavioural state of perceptual disengagement from and unresponsiveness to the environment’. Are you any clearer on what sleep is from that definition?  Nope, neither are we and if the experts are honest, they aren’t exactly sure what it is either.  What is certain, though, is that sleep is vital to our physical and mental wellbeing.

 

Humans used to follow the natural rhythm of daylight, sleeping when it became dark, waking when it became light.  The introduction of electricity and artificial light irrevocably altered our sleeping patterns.  No longer were people required to conduct their evening activities by firelight; instead, they could extend their activities into the night with brighter electric lighting.  Flexible working hours and digital devices have further changed the way in which we sleep, and not always for the better.



How much sleep do i need?

You may ask: how much sleep is enough? 

 

Too often, sleep is something that gets relegated to the bottom of the ‘To Do’ list.  We all have a lot that we try to fit into our day, and sometimes these tasks eat into our sleep time.  Are you one of those people guilty of sleep procrastination?  You know, when you realise it’s getting late, but you want to finish the movie/get to the exciting part of your book/wade through all of your social media sites/have another drink at the pub because it’s your only chance all day to do these important things?

 

According to the NHS, most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night.  By calculating back from the time that you need to get up in the morning, it is possible to work out the optimum time to get to sleep.

 

Sounds simple enough.  But what if you just can’t get to sleep at that time?

 

Why can’t I sleep?

There are many reasons for not being able to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep problems can be caused by one, or several factors.

 

Anxiety or depression and sleep

Anxiety and stress often rob us of our sleep and there has been plenty to worry about during the past year. Juggling concerns over work, childcare, schooling, and the health of our loved ones has had a detrimental effect on our sleep. According to Sleepstation, an online sleep help program endorsed by the NHS, ‘one of the most important factors needed for good sleep is a quiet mind. You cannot sleep if your mind is racing, or you are worried or stressed’.  Additionally, people can become anxious about sleep itself. Once you are aware that you might have a problem getting enough sleep, it can become something else to worry about and sleep can become more elusive than ever.

 

Depression can also leave many people unable to sleep, or unable to get out of bed.  Sleeping more than our recommended six to nine hours per night is also not advised.

 

Digital devices and sleep

We all know that we spend far too much time on our digital devices these days.  With many facets of our lives increasingly online, it is hard to escape and switch off.   But escape from it (briefly) we must each day if we are to get a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from our phones, tablets and computers affect the release of melatonin, a hormone that prepares our bodies for sleep.  Ideally, we should turn these devices off one hour before we need to be asleep, preferably leaving them outside our bedrooms, and instead pick up a book, have a relaxing bath or have a warm, non-alcoholic drink (more on this later).

 

Too much caffeine and sleep

Found in tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks and some medication, caffeine is great for giving us that energy boost we crave, usually when very tired.  But it can have a downside: caffeine is addictive, meaning the more we drink it the more we crave it, thus a vicious circle is formed.  Some people are affected more by caffeine than others and can experience headaches, heart palpitations, upset stomach, as well as insomnia.  Because of its stimulating effect, the NHS recommends that we don’t eat or drink anything containing caffeine in the four to five hours before bed.

 

Not enough exercise and sleep

Regular exercise is important on so many levels. We need it to keep our hearts, bones and muscles healthy and strong.  Regular exercise also benefits our mental health and can have an impact on the quality of our sleep.  The World Health Organisation recommends that adults have between 150-300 minutes per week of moderate exercise.  Moderate exercise includes cycling, swimming, walking, running and group activities such as tennis and football.

 

It makes sense that getting regular exercise will have an impact on our sleep quality as it expends our energy and makes us tired.  It’s important to remember that some exercise is better than no exercise, even if it’s a simple walk each day.  Evidence shows that the relationship between exercise and sleep is interlinked: poor sleep leads to lack of energy and a reduction of exercise, which can then lead to more poor sleep. However, while it is important to exercise in order to improve our sleep quality, we need to remember not to exercise too vigorously just before bed as it leads to a rise in hormones such as cortisol, which can interfere with sleep.

 

Sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe how we might create a space (ideally a bedroom) that will help us to achieve a good night’s sleep.  This includes the following:

  • Ensure that you have a comfortable mattress.
  • Ensure that your bedroom is the right temperature, not too hot or too cold, 18 degrees Celsius is recommended as a guide.  
  • Try not to have a TV in your room and try not to have any digital devices in there either.  If you use your phone for an alarm, consider changing to an old-fashioned alarm clock.  If you read books on a kindle app, try switching to night mode to reduce the back light.
  • If possible, limit the amount of light coming in from the windows, either with curtains or with an eye mask.  Equally, if your room is noisy consider using ear plugs for sleeping.



Sleeping tips

Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a single, magic pill we can take to ensure a good night’s sleep. It seems that we need to look at several lifestyle factors.  The NHS recommends that we do the following:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. (try to establish a bedtime routine that can help prompt or remind your body that it is time to sleep. You might also find it helps to keep a sleep diary, particularly when trying to establish a bedtime routine that works for you).
  • Try not to eat or drink anything containing caffeine in the four to five hours before bed.
  • Try not to nap during the day.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise two hours before bed. Light exercise such as yoga or stretching is ok.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark.

 

If, after trying these methods you still cannot sleep, it is important to seek professional help from your GP.



Does (Twist) tea help with sleep?

Tea is undoubtedly good for us.  First discovered in China almost 5000 years ago, tea is a drink brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea can be classified into black, green, white, oolong and Pu-erh teas. All tea types contain antioxidant properties which can help to protect us from heart disease and some types of cancer as well as boosting our energy and concentration levels.

 

Herbal teas are not tea in the technical sense as they do not come from the Camellia sinensis plant.  The correct term is tisane; however, we often refer to them as tea because we brew them in much the same way. Popular herbal teas include peppermint, chamomile, lavender, ginger, and rooibos. Like traditional teas, herbal teas offer many health benefits and are largely caffeine-free. 

 

So can tea help with sleep? While tea has much to offer us in terms of health benefits, we must be honest and admit that it is not the only solution to getting a good night’s sleep.  However, at Twist we believe tea can help with sleep, especially when used in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle habits.

 

Chamomile tea

Chamomile is a herb that produces daisy-like flowers. The tea brewed from the dried Chamomile flowers has been used for centuries as a natural treatment for insomnia. It is naturally caffeine-free, making it ideal for drinking at any time of day. Chamomile contains apigenin, a phytonutrient that has a sleep-inducing effect. Chamomile is also thought to help reduce stress and anxiety and some have described it as being a ‘mild tranquilizer’Discover the benefits of Chamomile tea.

Chamomile Tea can help you sleep
Twist Teas’
Sleep Tea blend is a soothing mix of whole chamomile flower heads, lemon balm, valerian, and lavender. Lemon balm, valerian and lavender have been used for centuries to treat ailments including insomnia and anxiety.  While further study is required to determine exactly how this works, the addition of these herbs undoubtedly enhances this aromatic brew.




A hot drink before bed

Creating an evening ritual for yourself, including enjoying a hot drink, is mentioned in many sleep help guides.  If chamomile is not your cup of tea, brew yourself a Chocolate Cake Tea and top it with frothy milk for a soothing rooibos hot chocolate.  Rooibos is a herb native to South Africa that is naturally caffeine-free and is known for its health benefits.  Our Chocolate Cake tea has the bonus of no added sugar, meaning you can enjoy a completely guilt-free pre-sleep treat.


Caffeine and sleep

At Twist Teas we have lots of delicious caffeinated blends but these are probably not the ones you should be reaching for when finding it difficult to sleep. 


Health experts believe it is ok to consume up to 400mg of caffeine, the equivalent of four to five cups of tea or coffee, per day. If you consume more caffeine than this every day, sleep specialists agree that it is a good idea to reduce your caffeine intake.  It can be difficult reducing your caffeine intake to zero and might be unnecessary too (unless you are experiencing extreme reactions to it). Before we look at obvious caffeine-free and reduced caffeine options, we are going to go out on a limb and suggest that changing the type of caffeinated drink you consume might have a bearing on your sleep quality…


Pure Matcha Green Tea

Matcha, a powdered green tea, contains an equivalent level of caffeine per cup than espresso coffee due to the way in which matcha tea is grown. Yet the caffeine in matcha affects us differently to the way that the caffeine in coffee does.  There is a synergy between caffeine and L-theanine (an amino acid present in matcha) which allows for a slow-release of energy. This contrasts with the quick boost of energy followed by a sharp drop in energy often experienced following a strong coffee. Furthermore L-theanine and caffeine work together to reduce stress and improve concentration.  A very good reason to replace your morning coffee with a cup of nutrient-dense matcha instead.



And now on to those reduced caffeine and caffeine-free tea options!


The NHS recommends abstaining from eating or drinking anything containing caffeine during the 4-5 hours before bedtime.  If you still feel the craving for a cup of black tea during the late afternoon or evening, Pure Rooibos can provide a delicious alternative.  A herb native to South Africa, Rooibos is has a nutty, full-bodied taste and it is naturally caffeine-free. If you like our Pure Rooibos, you might like to try our other Rooibos blends, all caffeine-free and with no added sugar.


Decaffeinated tea is another option that makes it possible to reduce our caffeine intake without abandoning black tea altogether. Twist’s All Day Decaf, another award-winning tea comprises premium, organic Sri Lankan Black Tea treated with liquid carbon dioxide to remove caffeine.  This harmless process does not diminish the flavour.  Other decaf teas are rinsed in Methylene Chloride, primarily used as an industrial solvent and paint stripper. Fancy a cup? No, us neither…

 

Hydration and sleep

A 2019 study has shown that there is a correlation between sleep length and dehydration

The study found that people are more likely to wake up dehydrated if they have had less than eight hours’ sleep.  For most of us, dehydration leads to headaches, difficulty in concentration, irritability, and dizziness.  There is no doubt that staying properly hydrated is necessary for maintaining our physical health.  The NHS recommends that we drink between six to eight glasses of fluid per day to stay hydrated.

Cold Bew Tea Bags UK


If we are trying to eliminate as many factors as possible in our quest to get a good nights’ sleep, it can’t hurt to try to drink the right amount of water during the day. However drinking enough water to stay fully hydrated can get, well, boring can’t it. Cold Brew Teas
can be a delicious alternative to plain water.  At Twist we have a wide selection of innovative blends of the finest whole leaf teas, fruits and herbs that have been carefully created to taste as great brewed cold as they do hot.  Perfect for enjoying during the warm summer months, our cold brew blends differ from traditional iced tea as they have no added sugar or artificial sweeteners and many of them are naturally caffeine-free. Cold Brew teas make it easy to reach your daily 2 litre quota, without worrying about consuming too much sugar or caffeine.



Conclusions

If you are having trouble getting to sleep, or with getting enough sleep each night, it is important that you seek help from your GP or healthcare professional.   At Twist we do not believe that tea is the only solution to sleeping better but the choices we make in terms of what we eat and drink during the day, including the tea you chose and when you drink it, seems likely to have some bearing on how well we sleep.  Whether you wish to trade the jitters of your morning coffee for the smooth energy boost of a matcha, or would like to reduce your caffeine intake altogether by considering Rooibos, decaffeinated tea or fruit and herbal teas, Twist has a blend for all options! 

 

Key UK sleep advice resources

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/ 

Sleepstation https://www.sleepstation.org.uk/ 

Mental Health https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-sleep-better 

Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/sleep-problems/tips-to-improve-your-sleep/ 

 

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Health & Nutrition, News

Matcha Green Tea has become hugely popular in recent times. Its prevalence might seem to have sprung from nowhere, but Matcha is a type of Green Tea that has its roots spanning back nearly 1000 years. You’ve probably seen Matcha lattes, Matcha smoothies and Matcha desserts of all kinds popping up in cafes everywhere as well as images of Matcha on your social media feed. So, what is the big deal about Matcha? What does Matcha do for you? Is it really the superfood it is reputed to be?


While we have enjoyed drinking matcha at Twist for some time now, we thought it was time that we explored some of your most pressing Matcha questions:



What is matcha?

Matcha, otherwise known as Matcha Green Tea, or Matcha powder, is the finely ground powder of the Japanese Tencha Green Tea leaf. Farmers grow matcha by covering their Tea plants for approximately twenty to thirty days before harvest to avoid direct sunlight. This increases chlorophyll production, boosts the amino acid content, and gives the plant a darker green hue. Once the Tea leaves are harvested, the stems and veins are removed, and the leaves are dried before being ground into a fine powder known as Matcha.


Matcha is historically tied to the Japanese tea ceremony and zen practices including meditation. It is thought that tea was first introduced from China to Japan in early in the 9th century. But it was not until a Buddhist monk named Esai brought Chinese methods of meditation and of preparing tea to Japan in 1187 that the tea ceremony took root. Having studied with Chinese Buddhists, Eisai had learned that tea was used to promote health and to stay alert during meditation.



How is Matcha different from Green Tea?

Matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, as does Green Tea. Therefore, Green Tea and Matcha share many nutritional qualities. However, this is where the similarities end. The distinctive way in which Matcha Green Tea is cultivated and then processed results in Matcha having a unique chemical composition. The period of shade-growth increases the plant’s levels of chlorophyll and antioxidant substances, resulting in nutrient-dense leaves. One serving of matcha provides approximately 10 times the nutrients that a serving of Green Tea does.

 

The difference in preparation of Green Tea versus Matcha also sets these brews apart. With Green Tea you remove the leaves after they have infused in hot water, before you drink it. With Matcha you ingest the entire leaf, meaning none of the health benefits of the Green Tea are lost. Matcha, therefore, packs in a more concentrated number of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds.

 

What does Matcha taste like?

You might have heard the word umami being bandied about when people describe the taste of Matcha. Umami simply means a ‘pleasant savoury taste’. A good quality Matcha, such as our Pure Matcha, has a slightly sweet, yet earthy/umami flavour. Because we use premium matcha powder there should be no bitterness, and therefore no need to add sugar. But if you prefer your matcha with milk this will sweeten it slightly. Pure Matcha has a vibrant green colour and will provide you with an energy boost minus the jitteriness of coffee.

 

Why does some Matcha taste so bad?

There are different grades of Matcha. Some less premium tea brands may offer culinary grade Matcha, rather than premium or ceremonial grade, meaning there will be a bitterness present in your brew. This is because older, tougher tea leaves are selected for culinary grade Matcha, whereas younger, sweeter tea leaves are used to make ceremonial and premium grade Matcha. As the name suggests culinary grade Matcha is best for cooking with, while premium and ceremonial grade Matcha are best for drinking.

 

In addition, the temperature and quality of the water used can affect the flavour of your Matcha. If you pour boiling water directly onto your Matcha powder you can burn it. Instead, use slightly cooled water (approximately 80 degrees Celsius). Filtered water, such as with a Brita filter as used by the UK Tea Association, will give the best result, but plain tap water is fine too.

 

If you have chosen a top grade Matcha and prepared it using the correct temperature of water and it still doesn’t taste right, you need to check your storage. Once you have opened your Matcha tin we recommend that you store it in the fridge so as not to lose flavour and colour. Twists’ Matcha Tea Sticks solve this problem, offering you an easy single serve per sachet, thereby limiting waste.


What does Matcha do for you?

Make no bones about it, Matcha is a nutrient-dense superfood. Full of health-promoting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, we don’t call Matcha a wonder brew for nothing!


Health benefits of Matcha

 

  • Because of the unique way in which Japanese Tencha tea (the tea used for Matcha production) is grown, Matcha is generally high in antioxidants, which help stabilise harmful free radicals and prevent or slow damage to cells. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and studies have shown that Matcha contains double the amount of Vitamin C than that of other Green Teas.

  • Another group of antioxidants found in Matcha, catechins, also provide several health benefits. Of these catechins, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is highest in quantity. It seems that EGCG can help reduce inflammation, particularly after heart surgery. EGCG has also been shown to have an ‘anti-cancer effect’ on particular cancer types by slowing tumour growth.

  • Studies have shown that Green Tea in general can promote heart health development as it can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, allowing easier transport of blood flow.

  • Growing Tencha tea in the shade also leads to increased levels of chlorophyll in Matcha, which can reduce inflammation within the body. This can help ease aches and pains, and problems such as acne and swelling. Chlorophyll is also responsible for Matcha’s bright green colour. To ensure that your Matcha contains the highest amount of chlorophyll possible, always choose the greenest Matcha.

  • Matcha can help improve brain function due to the high levels of L-theanine present in the leaves. L-theanine and caffeine work together to reduce stress and improve concentration. As experienced by Japanese Buddhist monks several centuries ago, Matcha can provide a clear, alert mind with better focus for getting on with the task at hand. The higher levels of l-theanine appear to be another effect of shade-growing and are the reason premium Matcha does not taste bitter.

  • Green Tea has been shown to enhance weight loss as it has the potential to increase fat burn during exercise. As there are approximately 2 calories per 1 gram of matcha powder and zero sugar content, we can’t think of any reason not to include Matcha as part of a well-balanced diet.

  • The antibacterial properties present in green tea can help to protect the health of your teeth and gums, as well as preventing skin blemishes. Some people swear by exfoliating regularly with Matcha masks, but we prefer to drink our Matcha!

  • In recent times the anti-viral properties of Green Tea have become of great interest, particularly with regards to COVID-19. It goes without saying that Green Tea alone is not a cure for Coronavirus, but with its high levels of Vitamin C and other essential nutrients, Green Tea has the potential to greatly boost our immune systems at a time at which we all need it.



While the health benefits of Green Tea have been researched at length, there is scope for further study of Matcha so that we can better understand the benefits offered by this superfood.



Are there any side effects of Matcha?

You might ask, is it safe to drink Matcha every day? The period of growth in the shade increases the production of caffeine by the Camellia sinensis plant. Therefore, Matcha has a higher concentration of caffeine than Green Tea. Possible side effects of caffeine include headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations and an upset stomach. If you think you may be sensitive to caffeine, or if you are pregnant, we recommend that you consult your healthcare professional prior to consuming Matcha.

 

Caffeine content of Matcha

This is how the average caffeine content of Matcha stacks up against Green Tea and coffee:

Average cup of Green Tea

33mg

1 teaspoon Matcha powder

70mg

1 shot of espresso coffee

63mg









As shown in the table Matcha and coffee can contain similar levels of caffeine (depending on how they are made of course). However, the caffeine in Matcha affects the drinker differently from the way that the caffeine in coffee does. There is a synergy between caffeine and L-theanine (an amino acid present in matcha) which allows for a slow-release of energy. This contrasts with the quick boost of energy followed by a sharp drop in energy often experienced following a strong coffee.

What is the best Matcha?

When it comes to selecting a good quality Matcha, the proof is in the colour. The best Matcha will be bright green in colour and very fine in texture. If the Matcha powder looks dull, it is likely to be of a lesser quality and to taste bitter.

 

At Twist we are passionate about creating top quality premium Teas that offer something different than our competitors. Every Twist Tea blend is created from the finest, ethically sourced ingredients. Our plastic free Matcha sachets contain Matcha that is hand blended in the UK and hand packed in plastic free packaging. Clearly, we believe our Matcha is the best available, but which Matcha blend is the right one for you?

 

There are 7 Twist Teas’ Matcha blends to choose from and each offers its own distinct flavour and health benefits.


Pure Matcha
Matcha Green Tea

Pure Matcha is 100% unadulterated premium powdered Japanese Tencha Green Tea. It is a great introduction to matcha as it allows the drinker to enjoy the flavour of Matcha in its traditional form. As it is a premium grade Matcha, Pure Matcha is not bitter and has, in fact, an almost sweet flavour. Perfect for drinking with or without milk, added to smoothies, or included in many recipes, Pure Matcha is as versatile as it is delicious.






Beetroot Acai Matcha

Beetroot Acai Matcha Tea
To create this matcha blend, beetroot and acai berries have been added to premium Japanese Matcha powder for additional sweetness. Beetroot Acai Matcha, with its pretty pink hue, will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but it will also provide you with the health benefits of both beetroot and matcha. We think Beetroot Acai Matcha is divine when prepared as a latte or, for something totally different, as a base for a salad dressing.







Cocoa Matcha

Cocoa Matcha
If you like your matcha with a hint of chocolatey sweetness, look no further than our Cocoa Matcha. Pure Matcha, raw cocoa and cocoa powder are combined to produce this delicious blend, and to keep things healthy we have omitted all the sugars you find in chocolate bars. While Cocoa Matcha doesn’t taste like a hot chocolate it will satisfy your sweet tooth and can provide the many benefits of cocoa.







Peppermint Matcha

Peppermint Matcha
For the perfect post-lunch matcha blend, try our Peppermint Matcha. This emerald green mix of premium matcha, peppermint and maca will help to revive and invigorate you, as well as to freshen your breath. Find out more about the health benefits of peppermint here. Peppermint Matcha is amazing when prepared cold with a generous amount of ice and a sprig of fresh mint.








Turmeric Cocoa Matcha
Turmeric Cocoa Matcha
Focus and energise with our Turmeric Cocoa Matcha, a blend of raw cocoa, turmeric, ginger and our premium matcha powder. Peppery with hints of chocolate, this blend strikes a balance between sweetness and spice and lends itself perfectly to our chocolate chia pudding and homemade granola recipes. Discover the many benefits to including turmeric and cocoa in your diet.







Turmeric Matcha

Turmeric Matcha
Here is a blend for those who like their Matcha spicy. Turmeric Matcha is a fiery mix of turmeric, liquorice, cinnamon, ginger and premium Matcha powder. This punchy combo will offer you a double dose of antioxidants, which will bolster your immune system and may help to ward off chronic illness. Perfect for making a golden turmeric latte, Turmeric Matcha also works well in savoury dishes such as soup. Discover the many health benefits to be had by including turmeric in your diet.







Raspberry Matcha
Raspberry Matcha
Ta dah! Introducing our newest Macha blend, Raspberry Matcha. A fabulous pairing of earthy premium matcha powder with tart raspberries and goji berries, this blend is delicious as a latte, on ice, or added to a smoothie. Raspberries are high in fibre, great for promoting eye health and are a source of antioxidants.








If you think there are too many to choose from, why not try our
Matcha Tasting Menu. These offer a great opportunity to try all matcha blends and they make fabulous gifts for lovers of premium matcha.

Twist Teas Matcha Range

How to prepare Matcha

Hot

Preparing matcha is not as difficult as you think. As with any tea we believe it is best to start with premium Matcha. Measure your Matcha into your cup or bowl, one Twist sachet, or approximately 1 teaspoon per serving. Sift the powder to break up any lumps.


Next, fill your kettle with fresh (filtered, if possible) water to boil. Once boiled, allow the water to cool to approximately 80 degrees Celsius.


Pour a small amount of the hot water onto the Matcha powder and whisk it carefully, making sure to dissolve all of the Matcha powder and to create a foamy layer on the top. To finish, top up your drink with more hot water, or with frothy milk for a bright green matcha latte, whisking as you pour.


One thing to keep in mind is that if you are drinking Matcha for its health benefits you might want to avoid adding dairy milk. Studies have shown that proteins present in cows’ milk can limit the protection Green Tea gives against cardiovascular disease. At Twist we really like Sproud, a pea-based milk alternative.


Cold

An iced Matcha latte can be made as per the instructions above, with a generous handful of ice cubes added at the end. Peppermint Matcha is particularly delicious with ice. Or, if you are looking to wow some guests, how about serving them a party trick layered iced matcha latte?



Matcha recipes

Matcha is so versatile as a cooking ingredient and we love to experiment with new ways to include Matcha in our diet. You can try sprinkling matcha powder into your morning porridge or smoothie for an energy boost or try some of our recipes.


Matcha pancakes

Fabulous for Pancake Day, or whenever a pancake craving seizes you, Matcha pancakes are a super quick way to include matcha in your cooking. Our pancakes were made using Cocoa Matcha, but you could easily substitute this for a different Matcha blend.


Chocolate chia Matcha pudding

Delicious served for breakfast or dessert, our chocolate chia matcha pudding recipe has been adapted from Heat Free and Healthy by Katharine Tate. Cocoa Matcha or Turmeric Cocoa Matcha are recommended for this recipe.


Homemade granola

Packed full of nutritious oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and, of course, Matcha, our homemade granola makes for a wholesome cereal, or as a yogurt topping.

Carrot, ginger and turmeric matcha soup

A warming and flavoursome soup, perfect for a cold winter’s day. Carrot, ginger and turmeric matcha soup is packed full of anti-inflammatory properties and will provide you with a good dose of antioxidants, including Vitamin C. Turmeric Matcha is our choice for this immune boosting soup.


Chocolate Matcha strawberries

A wonderful way to make the most of strawberry season. Pick your own juicy strawberries at your local farm or grab a punnet from the green grocers and whip up a batch of chocolate Matcha strawbs for a summer treat.

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Health & Nutrition, News, Recipes

Did you know that after water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world? According to the UK Tea and Infusions Association there are over 100 million cups of tea consumed in the UK per day[i]. There is a really cool counter on their website showing the number of cups continually being devoured – the counter leaps about 1200 per second. This accounts for all types of tea: black, green, white, yellow, herbal.

 

First drink of the day? A cup of tea. Approaching a state of hypothermia? Reach for that thermos of tea. Feeling hot? I know people who swear a cup of tea will cool them down. Going into shock due to a traumatic event? You will be encouraged to drink hot, sweet tea. In need of comfort? You guessed it, have a cup of tea. Catching up with friends, yep, tea is the drink of choice. Unless it’s night-time and you are in a pub, but that’s another story…

 

Out of all the available types of tea, black tea is one of the most popular in the UK. What is the big deal about black tea? Why is it so popular? I do happen to know people (well, two to be exact) who do not like black tea, never have, probably never will. But they are in the minority in the UK. It is almost socially unacceptable to say you don’t want a cuppa, especially if you are British. Tea is our go-to drink in so many situations we don’t often give it much thought.

 

We might not all agree on what is the best time of day to enjoy tea but it is likely that we take the humble cuppa for granted. At Twist we decided it was high time that we addressed this by sharing our collective knowledge on all things black tea:

 



What is black tea?

Many people ask, is black tea the same as regular tea? Black tea goes by many names: a cuppa, a brew, builders tea, to name a few. In the UK, when we talk about a ‘cup of tea’ we usually mean a breakfast tea blend, whether it be English, Scottish, or Irish.

 

After water, black tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world[ii]. Black tea is a drink made from the oxidised leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This modest plant is responsible not only for black tea, but also green, white and yellow teas. To make black tea, the leaves are picked and withered before being rolled, oxidised (exposed to air), and finally, dried. The dried leaves are sorted and graded by size (whole leaf through to dust) and prepared for packaging. At Twist we select only the finest whole leaf tea and our tea is hand blended to ensure it reaches the consumer in pristine condition. The term ‘black tea’ comes from the colour of the leaves once oxidised. It is called black tea whether we add milk or not. In China black tea is called ‘red tea’, due to the colour of the drink that is brewed from these leaves.


History and evolution of black tea

First discovered in China, tea is now grown in several tropical regions across the world. It is no big deal to buy tea from your local supermarket or café. But it wasn’t always this simple. For hundreds of years China held the monopoly on tea growth and production and kept the entire process shrouded in secrecy[iii]. Following the Opium Wars and ceding of Hong Kong to Victorian Britain, Britain took stock of their rocky relationship with China and became concerned about potentially losing their precious tea supply. A plot was hatched to steal premium quality seeds from the best Chinese tea plantations and grow them in British India, to ensure an ongoing supply of tea.

 

Fortunately for Britain, the plot worked, and Victorians were able to continue their love affair with tea. Of course, the story of the evolution of tea doesn’t end here but we will move on to look at the various types of black tea available.



How many types of black tea are there?

Tea is now grown in many regions across the world and each region produces tea that has its own distinct colour, aroma, and flavour. Currently the largest producers of black tea are India, Sri Lanka, and Africa. The most well-known teas produced in these countries include Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling and Kenyan teas.

 

The two types of black tea used most often in Twist Tea blends are Assam and Ceylon.






What is Assam tea?

Assam tea is tea grown in the Assam region of India. Bordered by Bangladesh and Bhutan, the region has a climate ideal for tea production: cool, dry winters, and a warm, humid rainy season. Widely considered to be of a very high quality, Assam tea is often used in popular ‘everyday’ tea blends as it has a rich, full-bodied taste.

 

Assam tea is used in several Twist Teas blends including Twenty Four Seven, Double Black, Breakfast Boost, Orange Chai and Sweet Chai of Mine.

 

What is Ceylon tea?

Ceylon tea is tea cultivated on the island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. Offering a variety of flavour and colour due to the range of altitudes that it is grown on, Ceylon tea is known for its versatility. Ceylon tea is traditionally used in English breakfast tea blends as it has the strength desired to accompany a full English breakfast.

 

Ceylon tea is a favourite at Twist Teas and is used in many blends including Afternoon Perks, Breakfast Boost, Classic Earl, Earl Great, Chocolate Chai, Orange Chai, Vanilla Chai, and All Day Decaf.



At Twist we are passionate about creating top quality premium teas that offer something different than our competitors. Every Twist Tea blend is created from the finest, ethically sourced whole-leaf ingredients, not the dusty dregs you often find in less premium tea brands. Our plastic free tea bags are hand blended in the UK and hand packed in plastic free packaging. Clearly, we believe our black tea is the best available, but which black tea blend is the right one for you?



At Twist Teas we have close to 20 black tea blends to choose from and even we sometimes struggle to decide. Here is a selection of our favourites:

 

Best English breakfast tea

English breakfast tea (or Scottish or Irish) is often a blend of full-bodied teas such as Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan. Usually taken with milk, English breakfast tea is believed to be the perfect accompaniment to a full English breakfast.

At Twist Teas we have raised the bar with our Breakfast Boost by hand blending Assam and Ceylon black teas, with yerba mate for enhanced mental performance and Siberian ginseng for an additional caffeine hit. The ideal luxury black tea brew to get you up and running in the morning, Breakfast Boost will provide you with an energy lift minus the energy crash that inevitably follows a strong coffee.




Best all-day black tea

Looking for a black tea blend to give you an energizing boost at any time of the day? Twist’s Twenty Four Seven is a blend of the finest, organic Assam and Kenyan black teas carefully cut to produce a strong and delicious tea in just two minutes. One of our most popular black teas, award-winning Twenty Four Seven has been designed for all-day enjoyment. Think of it as your new go-to black tea blend! Not only is Twenty Four Seven the ideal brew to turn to for a hot cuppa, it also makes the perfect Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail.

 

Best Earl Grey tea

Earl Grey tea is a black tea, traditionally a Chinese tea such as Keemun, that is flavoured with bergamot. Thought to be named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, and British Prime Minister during the 1830s[iv], Earl Grey tea is reputed to have been created to disguise the flavour of the water at the Earl’s home.

Classic Earl is Twist’s take on this all-time great tea. Our award-winning brew combines high-grown Sri Lankan tea with smoky Chinese Keemun black tea and natural Bergamot flavouring. Infuse in boiling water for 3-5 minutes and enjoy with or without milk.

If you love Classic Earl, you will also want to try Earl Great to see how Twist takes this elegant tea to the next level.





Best Chai tea
Chai, or spiced tea, became popular in South Asia in the early twentieth century. It is made from boiling black tea, ideally a full-bodied type such as Assam, in milk and water with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and peppercorns.

 

To create our aromatic Sweet Chai of Mine we hand-blend Assam tea with traditional spices as well as turmeric, for a modern Twist. Simply immerse a Sweet Chai of Mine tea bag in boiling water for 3 minutes and serve with milk and sugar or honey. Alternatively, you can make a chai latte by brewing the tea in a third of a cup of boiling water and topping with frothy milk. Delicious!

If you love Sweet Chai of Mine, you will want to try our other chai teas.



Best smoked black tea

Lapsang Souchong is black tea that has been smoke dried over a fire. Believed to have been created in China during the Qing Dynasty as early as the mid-1600s, Lapsang Souchong has a distinctive aroma and flavour and can be served with or without milk.

 

At Twist we describe our Wholly Smoke as the Marmite of our teas: people either love it or they hate it. If you fancy drinking a bonfire, this is the perfect smoky blend for you! Add some cold Wholly Smoke to a measure of whisky, a touch of maple syrup and a splash of bitters, for a fiery, smoky Old Fashioned.

 

Best black tea with a Twist

Sometimes a special occasion arises that calls for an exceptional tea blend. At Twist Teas we pride ourselves on our innovative approach to pairing flavours that some may consider unusual. Many of our tea blends feature a Twist, but we think this particular blend is something really special. Raspberry Choc Kiss is a heady combination of Ceylon and Chinese black tea, with the tartness of raspberry, the fragrance of rose petals and a subtle hint of hot chocolate. And just when you think it can’t get any better, there is also a touch of Damiana in this blend, a herb believed to be an aphrodisiac by some indigenous Central and South American cultures.

 

Best de-caffeinated black tea

While caffeine is certainly helpful in giving us an energy boost when we most need it, sometimes we need to reduce the amount of caffeine we consume for health reasons, such as during pregnancy, or if we are finding it difficult to sleep. Decaffeinated tea makes it possible to reduce our caffeine intake without abandoning black tea altogether.


Twist’s All Day Decaf, another award-winning tea comprises premium, organic Sri Lankan Black Tea treated with liquid carbon dioxide to remove caffeine. This harmless process does not diminish the flavour. Other decaf teas are rinsed in Methylene Chloride, primarily used as an industrial solvent and paint stripper. Fancy a cup? No, us neither…

 

If you think there are too many to choose from, why not try our pick and mix tasting menu. These offer a great opportunity to try six delicious teas of your choice and they make fabulous gifts for lovers of premium teas.

 

How good is black tea for you?

You may ask is it healthy to drink black tea every day? Of course, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking 8+ glasses of water per day, but did you know that tea in moderation (maximum of 3 cups of caffeinated tea) can count towards this requirement? Black tea doesn’t hydrate as well as water, but it does help us to increase our liquid intake, which can only be a good thing.

 

Aside from quenching our thirst, a simple cup of black tea can also have some amazing health benefits[v]:

 




Health benefits of black tea
  • Heart health – animal studies have shown that an antioxidant present in black tea called theaflavin can help reduce cholesterol, thereby supporting your heart health.

  • Blood sugar – theaflavin also helps to lower blood sugar levels, good news for those at risk of diabetes.

  • Gut health – black tea has antimicrobial properties that can help improve your gut health, thereby strengthening your immune system.

  • Anti-cancer properties – the polyphenols contained in black tea are thought to reduce the risk of developing cancer as they can have an inhibiting effect on cancerous cells.

  • Energy boosting – black tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine has been proven to help focus as it facilitates alpha activity within the brain. It is one of the main reasons as to why it is often reported that tea gives a more stable boost of energy in comparison to coffee.

 

Are there any side effects of black tea?

Black tea naturally contains the stimulant caffeine. Excessive consumption (more than 4-5 cups per day) may result in symptoms including jitteriness, headache, difficulty in sleeping or an irregular heartbeat. If you think you may be sensitive to caffeine, or if you are pregnant, we recommend that you consult your healthcare professional about the quantity of black tea you should consume.

 

How to make the perfect brew

Hot

There is much debate around how to make a good black tea. Is loose leaf best, or are bags just as good? Milk first, or water? What type of milk? Is it ok to sweeten your tea, or completely sacrilegious? We try not to be too judgmental at Twist Teas, but we believe the best way to make the perfect brew is to start with premium tea. After that, all bets are off, but this is how we think the perfect brew is made:

 

First, fill your kettle with fresh water to boil. Filtered water, such as with a Brita filter as used by the UK Tea Association[vi], will give the best result, but plain tap water is fine too. Fresh water is better than re-boiled water as boiling removes the oxygen from the water and affects the flavour of the tea. Once boiled, pour the water into your tea ware (teapot, cup/mug or travel cup) to warm it up.

 

Once your tea ware is warmed (within 1 minute), tip this water out and measure your tea carefully (1 tea bag, or 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea per cup). Pour the hot water onto the tea and infuse for the recommended brewing time. Some people may be concerned that putting hot water directly onto tea will burn it, but if you have waited the 1 minute after the water has stopped boiling, the temperature should just about be perfect (approximately 95°).

 

Once brewed, remove the tea, and add milk if you prefer. If you have brewed your tea according to our recommended time, there won’t be any bitterness, but if you do like to sweeten your tea that is up to you!

 

Tea Lattes

Twist has several teas that work well as tea lattes, particularly our Chai blends.  Tea lattes are made by brewing the tea in frothy milk and can be enjoyed both hot, or cold over ice.  Recently we converted our Mint Choc Chip into a latte with Sproud, a plant-based milk It was delicious!











Cold

Black tea can also taste great cold, especially during the warmer summer months. It can be made easily enough into an iced tea, and with a little extra effort, can be transformed into a Long Island Iced Tea.

 

Kombucha is another option that uses cold black tea. A fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a culture of bacteria and yeast called a ‘scoby’, kombucha is known to contain probiotics and thought to improve gut health.

 

Cooking/baking with tea


When we think of biscuits or cake and a cuppa, usually we think of these as being the perfect high tea partnership. But what about using tea in the biscuit? Our Earl Great shortbread biscuits use tea as the hero ingredient and the result is gorgeous.














[i] https://www.tea.co.uk/

[ii] http://www.fao.org/economic/est/est-commodities/tea/en/#:~:text=Tea%20is%20the%20world’s%20most,first%20grew%20is%20not%20known.

[iii] For all the tea in China, Sarah Rose, Arrow Books, 2009, p. 29

[iv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Grey_tea

[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6512146/

[vi] https://www.ukteaacademy.co.uk/images/UKTAwhitepaper.pdf

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Health & Nutrition, News

In our collection we have two delicious blends for lovers of Earl Grey. Our Classic Earl  and a very special blend with all the Earl Grey tea benefits, plus an extra ‘twist’, we’ve called Earl Great! It includes some fantastic extra ingredients you’re going to want to hear about. Although Sri Lankan black tea makes up the majority of our Earl Great blend at 73%, in this post we focus on the health benefits of two of the ingredients – Ginkgo biloba and Gotu Kola – which have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. 

Earl Grey tea benefits

Ginkgo biloba

A tree native to China, Ginkgo biloba leaves have been used for the past thousand years in natural Chinese medicine. And for good reason!


  • Antioxidant Concentration

Ginkgo biloba has large amounts of flavonoids which help to regulate cellular activity and eliminate free radicals. Flavonoids are said to help prevent cancer and provide anti-inflammatory benefits by inhibiting inflammatory pathways to the brain. This anti-inflammatory inhibition can reduce the effects of other issues such as arthritis, bowel problems, heart disease and stroke.


  • Circulation

Ginkgo biloba helps to improve circulation which provides additional fantastic benefits. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and other undiscovered reasons, it was used historically by the Chinese to increase blood flow to organs and muscles to help with healing. Nowadays, improved circulation can be associated with reducing HDL (bad) cholesterol and a whole host of other benefits.


Gotu Kola

Again, native to China as a historical medicine, Gotu Kola has been used as natural way to increase brain function, skin health and organ function. 


  • Helping to ease anxiety

It has been suggested that Gotu Kola is able to regulate the activity of neurotransmitters due to its asiatic acid content. Asiatic acid can help ease symptoms of anxiety and act as a calming agent.


  • Supporting good circulation

Similar to Ginkgo biloba, it can improve blood circulation. It does this by inhibiting fatty plagues within blood vessels allowing easier transport of blood around the body helping with issues such as venous insufficiency and other circulatory diseases.

For true fans of Earl Grey, add the tea to your recipes, such as Earl Grey loaf, shortbread and Earl Grey Cake. And if you fancy trying our delicious Earl Great tea with its amazing ingredients choose either Earl Grey tea bags or loose leaf tea and get brewing!




All‌ ‌health‌ ‌content‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Twist‌ ‌Teas’‌ ‌website‌ ‌is‌ ‌provided‌ ‌for‌ ‌general‌ information‌ ‌only,‌ ‌and‌ ‌should‌ ‌not‌ ‌be‌ ‌treated‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌substitute‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌medical‌ ‌advice‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌own‌ ‌doctor‌ ‌or‌ ‌any‌ ‌other‌ ‌healthcare‌ professional.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌any‌ ‌concerns‌ ‌about‌ ‌your‌ ‌general‌ ‌health,‌ ‌you‌ ‌should‌ ‌contact‌ ‌your‌ ‌local‌ healthcare‌ ‌provider.‌  
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Health & Nutrition, News

The sleep-inducing benefits of Chamomile tea are well known across the world. Our exciting new blend, Sleep is made up of 64% Chamomile combined with rose petals, lemon balm, hops, mallow flowers, valerian and lavender. 

Chamomile comes from the daisy flowers, a member of the Asteraceae family of plants, where its flowers are dried and steeped in water.  It will certainly get you yawning in the evenings! Chamomile has been used as a natural remedy for many generations, particularly, in improving sleep quality and is one of the world’s most popular herbal teas. 

Let’s consider some of the fantastic health benefits of Chamomile before you drift off!


1. Sleep-inducing benefits
The sleep-inducing benefits of Chamomile tea are well documented. Chamomile contains a phytonutrient called apigenin which is believed to have a sedative, relaxing effect. It does this by binding to your brain receptors that are associated with inducing sleepiness and reducing insomnia. So, give it a go the next time you fancy a relaxing snooze.


2. May be beneficial for sufferers of diabetes

Initial research indicates that Chamomile has been shown to help regulate glycaemic control, helping those with either type of diabetes and helping blood lipid profiles, by decreasing HbA1C. Although, more research is needed on this, it is definitely worth a try.chamomile tea bags

 

3. May aid your digestion

Digestion health is much more important than most people consider. Research suggests that Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, and particularly helps with soothing the stomach with symptoms such as nausea or gas. It has also been suggested that Chamomile reduces bacteria growth and acidity in the stomach, lessening the chance of ulcer development. Although these are early findings in research, it might just do the trick!

 

4. Heart

Chamomile is rich in flavones which are a great antioxidant. Flavones are suggested to help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, allowing easier transport of blood around the body, reducing stress on the heart.

 

5. Potential Anti-Cancer properties

Apigenin is not only useful for sleep but has also been reported to fight off cancerous cells, helping to reduce cancer’s progression.¹

 


Chamomile is certainly a great herb and even better tea, now I’m off for a nice, long nap – I can definitely see why we call it Sleep – sweet dreams!



All health content on the Twist Teas’ website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. 


¹
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

 

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With the phrase ‘New Year, new you’ flooding our airwaves, and lots of talk about adopting healthier habits, we thought we’d take a look at the benefits of drinking Green Tea. One of China’s favourite teas is Sencha Green Tea which makes up the majority of our delicious, Refresher Green blend (73%) and provides a myriad of health benefits. Sencha Green Tea is made from the Camellia sinensis leaf, which is steamed, rolled and dried to give it that refreshing touch. The other ingredients which give this green elixir our ‘twist’ include Ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, Siberian ginseng, and sunflower. 

In this post we are focusing on the health benefits of Sencha Green Tea.

 

Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances which may protect our cells. Sencha Green Tea contains a high amount of polyphenols which are proven to halt cell damage and fend off free radicals, which in turn can help prevent cancer. Additional benefits of polyphenols include aiding digestion, weight management and cardiovascular diseases.

Refresher Green Tea Blend by Twist Teas

Energy-boosting

Sencha contains various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which can actually give a sustainable boost of energy. So if you’re looking for mouth-watering brew to get you through the last part of the day then look no further. And don’t worry, although Sencha contains caffeine, a cup of Sencha contains around 20-30 milligrams, whereas its counterpart, coffee, contains upwards of 200 milligrams, so you won’t have a caffeine crash!

 

Rich in Vitamin C

Sencha is rich in vitamin C which is an essential ascorbic acid. The main benefits of vitamin C include supporting a proper immune function and the healing and formation of collagen, and, therefore, its importance in our diets cannot be understated!

 

Fat Burning benefits

I am sure you will have seen many fat burning kits and supplements which probably include Sencha and other Green Teas. This is because the properties Sencha Green Tea can increase metabolic rate, and therefore increase fat burning.

 

Sweet breath 

This is a peculiar benefit, but also a very practical one. Sencha Green Tea can actually improve the breath. This is due to the catechins present in the tea. Research shows that catechins reduce the growth of bacteria in the mouth, such as streptococcus mutans resulting in improved mouth hygiene and the prevention of bad breath. 

So, what are you waiting for? Stock up on our revitalising super brew and enjoy all the great benefits of Sencha Green Tea packed into a simple tea bag!

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Health & Nutrition

Turmeric, the vibrant spice so prominent in Indian cuisine, has been gaining in popularity and not because of a rise in curry cravings. Twist Teas’ infatuation with this knobby root is thanks in part to how inviting it makes the idea of a Turmeric Matcha, but mostly because of its many reputed health benefits.

What is it?

Turmeric is a spice found within the Turmeric plant, farmed in parts of Asia and is traditionally the main spice in curry, giving it that golden-yellow colour. Not only does it encompass a flavourful taste, it also contains compounds associated with various health benefits.

Health benefits

It contains Curcumin

Curcumin is a key ingredient found in Turmeric and has great anti-inflammatory effects, that are said to rival the effectiveness of some over the counter drugs.  It does this by preventing the NF-kB molecule from entering into your cells, which commonly sparks significant amounts of inflammation.

Increased brain function

Curcumin increases a growth hormone found in the brain associated with heightened awareness. This allows people to obtain better levels of focus and may even help with diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Heart health

Again, the nifty curcumin plays a role in increasing the effectiveness of the heart, specifically by improving the function of the blood vessels through the endothelium.  An improvement in the Endothelium’s role in regulating blood pressure can see heart health increase as a result.

Antioxidants

Curcumin has been found to destroy free radicals in the body, which can be extremely harmful and even cancer causing.  It does this by boosting the production of antioxidative enzymes.  For more information on antioxidants, read my blog Matcha Ado About … Pure Matcha

Now that you know about the amazing potential turmeric has, you won’t be surprised that we have added it to our Matcha!  The combination of these two super foods can see them both heightening the effectiveness of each other’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. 




Serving Suggestions

Smoothie: Simply add a teaspoon to a smoothie of your choice. It works particularly well if you’ve got a fairly bland, unsweetened, smoothie that needs something with a distinctive flavour to turn it into to a really delicious, mega-healthy treat.










Matcha latte: Now this is a really delicious, fiery drink that is great to wake yourself up on a Monday morning.  Simply add one teaspoon of Turmeric Matcha to a cup, add enough hot (not boiling, 80 degrees centigrade) water, milk or milk substitute to turn it into a paste.  Then add the rest of the liquid, stirring vigorously until fully combined and frothy.  Now you’ve made yourself a lovely healthy pick me up!









Savoury dishes:  Sprinkle a teaspoon of turmeric matcha onto a dish that could use a bit of spice. Some of my favourites include immune-boosting carrot and ginger turmeric soup or using it to spruce up plain old chicken and rice.









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Health & Nutrition, News

Peppermint has been a staple tea for many generations and for good reason.  Native to the UK and the rest of Europe and across Asia, its delightfully fresh, minty taste, together with its myriad of health benefits, has made it one of the most popular teas across the world.  At Twist Teas, we thought instead of replacing the old with the new, why not combine the two – Peppermint Matcha!  Not only have we united these two super nutrients for their unique health benefits, but they also taste wonderful when combined!  Peppermint Matcha makes for an incredible super brew!  For information on Matcha, take a look at the Matcha blog as today we are going to be solely delving into how amazing peppermint can be.

Health benefits of peppermint

Inflammation reduction

Peppermint can act as a relaxant as the compound methanol allows for easier blood transportation as it increases blood flow.  This can see reductions in aches, pains and may even help things such as headaches and migraines.

Mouth health

It freshens your breath, and contains antibacterial properties to help fight off germs.

Increased focus and energy

The natural properties in peppermint have been shown to help with perceived levels of energy and increased levels of focus.  Peppermint, combined with our Matcha, will definitely sort out those midday work blues.

Allergy symptoms

Peppermint contains acid rosmarinic, which has been shown to be a reliever of allergic reactions associated with things such as hay fever, asthma causers and pet allergies.

Sinuses

Peppermint contains methanol, an anti-inflammatory compound, which increases the level of nasal airflow, helping you to breath more freely.  If you drink your Peppermint Matcha steaming hot, it can really help your sinuses.

So, that in combination with our Matcha will certainly give you that health kick (you might not know) you needed!


 

Serving Suggestions

Refreshing hot (or cold) brew: This will undoubtedly give a kick to your day and is incredibly simple to make.  Just add a teaspoon of Peppermint Matcha to a cup, stir in a small amount of the liquid (slightly cooled boiling water, milk or milk substitute, approx. 80 degrees centigrade) and make a smooth paste.  Then slowly add the rest of the liquid, stirring vigorously.  At Twist Teas, we especially enjoy it cold on ice with a sprig of fresh mint.









Protein Shake: If you are looking to change up the taste of that protein powder, add in some revitalising Peppermint Matcha and give it that uplifting minty flavour!  Just make your shake as you usually would, add a teaspoon of the powder and shake away!










Blueberry porridge with a Peppermint Matcha kick start: Now for one of my favourite breakfasts, with a twist (we are called this for a reason!). Make your blueberry porridge as you usually would – oats, water, milk or milk substitute and blueberries.  Then mix in around a teaspoon and a half of the Peppermint Matcha.  The peppermint gives a massive kick to the flavour of the porridge and to my brain. Also works well sprinkled on granola with a dash of yoghurt or Kefir. Kickstart your day with this super-nutritious breakfast!







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Does it really taste like chocolate? ABSOLUTELY! But not only that, you’ll also benefit from the super nutrients in the matcha and the cocoa.  Yes, cocoa powder is also incredibly healthy for you when it’s in its basic powder form, absent of all the sugars and sweeteners you find in chocolate bars. Now, let’s delve into why cocoa powder is so great and why we have added it into our matcha (it’s not just for the taste!).  If you’re not caught up on incredible benefits of pure matcha, check out this post

Cocoa

I’m sure you don’t need a lesson on what cocoa tastes like given that it’s the essential ingredient in chocolate, but let’s start with a little more about how it’s made.  Cocoa trees produce large cocoa pods which contain around 20 to 30 seeds sitting in a sweet white pulp – these are the cocoa beans.  It takes a whole year’s crop from one tree to make half a kilo of cocoa.  When harvested, the ripe pods are cut open and the beans are taken out, fermented, dried, cleaned and roasted.  They’re then cracked, the nibs are grounded, and dried again, and then grounded into the powder.  Phew!  I’m exhausted just writing about it.

Now for the benefits!

Reduction of potential blood and heart problems

Cocoa powder contains flavanol which increases the level of nitric oxide present within the blood.  This is beneficial as nitric oxide allows for easier transport of blood as it dilates your arteries and relaxes blood vessels. This can result in a host of benefits including a reduction in bad cholesterol (LDL) and inflammation.

Brain function

Polyphenols found within cocoa powder can protect neurons within the brain against injury that may be instigated by neurotoxins, and can suppress neuroinflammation, seeing a promotion in memory and general cognitive functionality.

Weight control

Although not completely proven, it has been suggested cocoa powder is satiating as it reduces appetite and inflammation.  Further, it has also been advocated that it increases fat oxidation, which increases the rate of fat burning within the body.

Asthma and breathing difficulties

Theobromine and Theophylline are present within cocoa powder and both can relax the body’s airways, widening them by dilation of the lungs and, as a result, allowing you to breathe more easily.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should eat a ton of chocolate! As it contains significantly high amounts of sugars and fats, that would be a pretty bad idea. Rather, try adding cocoa powder to your diet and try out our Cocoa Matcha to get some serious health benefits at the same time.

Also, check out our Tumeric Cocoa Matcha for a delicious combination of sweet and spice with the added advantage of also having Tumeric in your diet.  Please see my blog on Tumeric to see how remarkable it is!



Serving Suggestions

Sprinkle it onto your breakfast cereal:  Cocoa Matcha turns your granola or morning porridge into a delicious, rich chocolatey feast. It provides you with a morning full of energy and will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.

At Twist Teas, we’ve gone one step further and added it to our homemade granola mix which gives us a great start to our day.









Hot cocoa.  Instead of a high calorie hot beverage, why not have a low calorie, equally delicious treat! Just make the matcha by putting a tea spoon full into a cup, adding a small amount of slightly cooled boiling water, milk or milk substitute (approx. 80 degrees centigrade) and stir into a smooth paste. Then add the rest of the liquid stirring vigorously.   And there’s your fusion cocoa goodness to warm you up on a cold winter’s day.










With fruit and yoghurt.  Another delicious way to enjoy our cocoa matcha is to combine it with some yoghurt, exactly as you would when making a drink.  Then simply add some fruit.  Now you can have healthy chocolate-dipped fruit for breakfast.  The Twist Teas taste team made this delicious chocolate dip with coconut yoghurt – our healthy version of a chocolate fountain!










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Health & Nutrition, News

If the idea of Beetroot & Acai Matcha gives you pause for thought, rest assured that at Twist Teas we do things a little bit differently and a whole lot better.  And this blend is no exception:  it’s absolutely delicious and boasts serious amounts of nutrients!  For extra information on Matcha take a look  to find out more about how magnificent it really is.  Now, onto the standout perks of adding Beetroot & Acai to your diet.

Beetroot

Beetroot is often considered somewhat of a super food, here’s why:

High nutrient profile

Beetroot contains pretty much all the nutrients required in your diet including Folate, Potassium, Iron and Manganese.  So if you are looking for a natural source of multivitamins, you’ll find one here!

Nitrate concentration

The high nitrate concentration found in Beetroot paves the way for an improvement in blood flow.  This is because it’s a vasodilator, making your blood flow more easily.  It affects the muscles in the walls of your arteries and veins, preventing them from tightening and the walls from narrowing. Although Nitrate concentration is temporarily high after consumption (up to 6 hours), this can boost mental and cognitive brain function, helping to remove ‘brain fog’ and can reduce blood pressure, endorsing better mental clarity and concentration.

Acai

Acai berries are native to South American rainforests and have grown in popularity in recent years.  Whilst relatively expensive, this  ‘jack of all trades’ is a worthwhile investment because of its numerous health benefits:

Immune system

Studies show that a Polyphenolic compound found in the acai berries prevent cells from malfunctioning which may in turn reduce the possibility of tumour growth.  The berries also contain Anthocyanin, which is reputed to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which have an adverse effect on the immune system.

Heart and brain health

Anthocyanin has also been shown to strengthen memory by improving blood flow efficiency to the brain and reduce neuroinflammation.

So, when combining Beetroot, Acai and Matcha ,you have… well not just super, but super, super and you guessed it, super food, so you are certainly getting bang for your buck!’




A warm brew: I wasn’t lying when I said it was delicious! On its own as a brew, it’s jam packed full of flavour! Simply turn the powder into a paste and then slowly add the rest of the hot water, milk or milk substitute stirring vigorously as you go.  And there you have it:  your triple super brew!










Mixed with porridge:  You might want to alleviate that annoying brain fog in the morning, or just fancy a change.   If so, add around half a teaspoon of the powder and mix it in.  This tastes really delicious.  Enjoy!

Make a super smoothie: Now I know I’ve said super many times, I promise, just once more. Just add around a half a teaspoon to whatever smoothie you’re making:  I like a mixed berry one, and make it even more… SUPER than it already is!








Add to salad mayonnaise, yoghurt or vinaigrette salad dressing:  This is a great way to add health benefits to your salads. At Twist Teas we enjoy it on beetroot and goats cheese salad and especially love Leon’s Original Vegan Mayonnaise with a Matcha twist!

 










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