Sitting down with a green tea latte may help you start your morning or recharge your afternoon. Moreover, scientific studies suggest green tea may have heart-healthy and cancer-prevention properties. Because a green tea latte contains milk and sometimes sugar, however, this beverage may not be as kind to your waistline as sipping green tea. Still, a green tea latte does provide benefits.
A green tea latte is a variation of the traditional latte made with coffee espresso and milk, notes Heather Bauer, a registered dietitian in New York City and owner of Nu-Train, a nutrition and diet counseling center. Green tea is substituted for espresso in a green tea latte. Steamed milk is added with a layer of foamed milk on top. MedlinePlus, a service of the National Institutes of Health, reports green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and may have some health benefits. As of 2011, green tea lattes are so popular that Starbucks sells them.
The milk in a green tea latte provides a healthy dose of calcium, vitamin D and protein. Plus, the green tea itself offers health benefits. Tea leaves are loaded with polyphenols that work as antioxidants, possibly lowering the risk of some diseases. Consuming 5 to 6 cups of green tea daily has been found to provide cardiovascular and metabolic benefits, according to a 2007 study in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition." Animal studies suggest tea polyphenols may inhibit skin, lung and other cancers, notes a Rutgers University report. Research shows green tea may even help you lose weight.
A green tea latte doesn't contain as much tea as a regular cup of green tea. A latte may be half tea and half milk with added syrup or sugar, according to Bauer. Even though a green tea latte provides the benefits of green tea, you'll be getting less of the benefits compared to a regular cup of green tea. Plus, a green tea latte sold by teahouses and coffee chains, such as Starbucks, is typically made from whole milk unless you specify low-fat or skim milk. That means you're getting whole milk's saturated fat and calories. A 16-ounces. green tea latte at Starbucks contains 350 calories, compared to zero calories for a plain cup of green tea.
For maximum health benefits, order your latte made with low-fat or skim milk and ask for a decreased amount of sugar or syrup. Better yet, make your own green tea latte to control the ingredients. Use green tea leaves or green tea bags. You can also buy a powdered green tea without added sugar, called Matcha, according to Bauer. Use 1/2 teaspoon. in a coffee mug, along with heated low-fat milk and as much sweetener as you like. If excess calories are a concern, use an artificial sweetener, such as Splenda. For a spicier green tea latte, use chai tea bags or make a chai green tea latte by adding spices to your latte.
- Heather Bauer, registered dietician and owner; Nu-Train; New York, New York
- Starbucks: Tazo Green Tea Latte
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition; Effects of Green Tea and EGCG on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health; S. Wolfram
- Pharmacological Research; Cancer Prevention by Tea: Evidence from Laboratory Studies; C.S. Yang, et al.
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition; Green Tea Supplementation Affects Body Weight, Lipids, and Lipid Peroxidation in Obese Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome; A. Basu, et al