Green tea is one of the most popular varieties, and not just because people like the flavour. Green tea has a long history in China, where it was consumed as a beverage with various complex flavours and used medicinally from a very long time. One of the healthiest drinks on the market, green tea is highly regarded and has recently attained super drink status.
According to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), green, black, and oolong tea are all made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but the leaves are prepared differently. Green tea’s fresh, almost grassy flavour results from not allowing the leaves to oxidise.
According to some reports, people have been drinking tea as part of rituals for ages, possibly as far as 2700 B.C. in Asia. It is well-known for having a high concentration of catechins, which are antioxidants (more on those later), and is adored for its caffeine that doesn’t cause jitters or crashes because of the abundance of L-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown in studies to have a soothing impact on the nervous system.
Compared to other teas, green tea contains a lot of L-theanine. It helps in increasing brain waves, which induces deep relaxation and increases focus. Because of this, green tea is a very unique plant. According to a few studies, L-theanine helps individuals with anxiety by increasing the emission of alpha waves and enhancing mental attentiveness. It enhances activities involving attention and memory, according to research.
Types of green tea
The environmental conditions it grows in, and the methods used to dry the leaves account for the variety of green tea varieties.
Chances are, if you ask for a cup of green tea at your usual hangout spot, you’ll get sencha. This well-known green tea is made by steeping entire, processed green tea leaves in hot water. Sencha has a mild sweetness and a mild astringency that set it apart from other teas. Sencha, which is high in vitamin C, is excellent for treating the common cold during the winter.
Matcha is made from only the finest leaves, which are finely dried and ground into a fine powder. Premium matcha has a brilliant green hue. When combined with hot water, this vibrant green powder offers extremely high levels of natural nutrients and aids in cleansing the body and reviving good skin.
The primary characteristic of Shincha is its invigorating and reviving leaf scent. It has less bitterness and astringency and is thought to have more amino acids, which give it a rich flavour and sweetness.
Konacha is made up of the tea buds, scraps of leaves, and dust that are left over after other types of green tea are mechanically processed. The health advantages are not very significant, and it is moderately priced.
Funmatsucha is well-known for its inexpensive pricing and harsh flavour. It likely contains more antioxidants than the other green teas combined. Funmatsucha is excellent for treating colds and headaches.
Kukicha is made up of stems and stalks that were left over after making other green teas. You will feel revived by the pleasant aroma and crisp flavour. Kukicha, which has more of a yellow or brown colour, is also referred to as twig tea.
Bancha is the ideal tea to sip following a heavy meal because it is less fragrant and more bitter. The bitterness is attributed to the high fluoride content, which makes it a successful treatment for tooth decay and foul breath. The upper stem and portion of the leaf’s rough texture are present in bancha leaves.
High concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can be found in tencha leaves. These are excellent for raising energy levels and accelerating metabolism. Natural caffeine included in this green tea aids in reviving and waking up the body.
The texture of fukamushicha leaves is withering, and the brew is black in colour. The flavour is still somewhat sweet and fragrantly strong. Fukamushicha can be ingested in greater quantities and has relaxing effects on the stomach.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Young plant leaves are picked, let to wither, then steamed or pan-fried before being dried to make green tea. Many of the essential components in tea leaves are kept intact by this process, which also aids in preventing fermentation.
The health advantages of drinking green tea are due to the beverage’s strong antioxidant content. It contains high levels of polyphenols, which are organic substances that lower inflammation, defend against oxidative stress, and stop cell damage.
Improve memory health
The calming effects of drinking a hot cup of green tea can be attributed to chemical processes. Theanine, an amino acid found in tea and certain mushrooms, may do the following,
- Reduce tension
- Encourage rest
- Caffeine-induced anxiety reduction
Safeguards cardiovascular health
Green tea consumption might decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke and provide protection against cardiovascular disorders. Green tea has been linked to significant drops in both the total cholesterol and LDL, or bad cholesterol.
Vascular inflammation (inflammation of the blood vessels) has been shown to be reduced by anti-inflammatory components in green tea, such as EGCG.
Unknown is the ideal daily consumption of green tea for heart health advantages. However, research indicates that a good diet and three to five cups of green tea each day reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease death by 41%.
Controls the levels of blood sugar
Increased blood sugar levels are a symptom of type 2 diabetes, which develops when the body doesn’t create enough insulin or uses it properly. According to studies, green tea might prevent type 2 diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance.
Defends against specific cancer types
Green tea has increased levels of polyphenols, which may be able to prevent DNA and cell damage as well as fight free radicals. Green tea’s antioxidant qualities also aid in the prevention of cancer.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative damage are both associated with the potential development of cancer. Green tea’s antioxidants might help reduce the risk of developing some malignancies, such as:
Breast cancer: Consuming green tea may be 15% lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
Oral cancer: According to research, drinking tea regularly may reduce your risk of getting the disease.
Colorectal cancer: Green tea drinkers had a 30–40% lower risk of acquiring colorectal cancer, according to studies on the disease.
Keep in mind that green tea does not by itself lower your risk of developing certain malignancies. Your overall health can be improved by continuing to practice good living habits.
Weight Loss Effect
You’ve probably heard that drinking green tea would burn fats. It is believed that the combination of the tea’s caffeine and catechins speeds up metabolism, causing the body to burn more calories and even shed pounds.
It seems unreal, and it really is. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to anticipate that drinking green tea can significantly reduce your waistline.
According to a study, green tea only helps people lose weight when they also consume 80 to 300 mg of caffeine daily. On its own, however, simple, unsweetened green tea is a calorie-saving beverage that can be substituted for juice, sugary soda or high-calorie coffee drinks as part of a balanced diet.
How to brew green tea?
Pick a trustworthy company’s premium tea. Look for details on the tea’s processing and packaging history on the product label. If you’re unclear which kind of tea would be best for you, going to a tea store and asking the staff is a great place to start.
Green tea can be bought in the form of matcha, loose leaf, sachets, bags, or sachets. Standard amounts of tea leaves are included in tea bags and sachets, and tin canisters or resealable bags are frequently used to package loose leaf tea.
For convenience, some people choose to buy green tea in bags or sachets. Depending on your preferred flavour , you can adjust the number of leaves you use while making loose-leaf green tea.
You can enjoy green tea as a hot or iced beverage. It is usually prepared by brewing tea in hot water. You can steep the tea for as long as you’d like; For a lighter-tasting tea, two minutes should be sufficient.
Steep it for three to five minutes for a robust flavor. Adding milk, sugar, or honey might enhance the flavor of the green tea; however, these add ons might change the tea’s nutritional content.
Tips for Consuming Green Tea
There are a few recommendations to keep in mind whether you drink your green tea hot or chilled:
Buy green tea that is naturally caffeine-free
The amount of caffeine in one cup of green tea ranges from 20 to 50 milligrammes. This may make people anxious, experience a rapid heartbeat, or feel jittery if they are caffeine sensitive. Be aware that omitting caffeine may reduce the antioxidant level.
While green tea can be savoured on its own, it can also be used in smoothies, muesli, rice and vegetables for steaming or boiling.
Pay attention to your sweetener
If you choose to sweeten your tea with sugar, honey, or another sweetener. Overindulging in sugar has been linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.
Potential Side Effects
It is acceptable to consume green tea daily. If you consume more than is advised, you could experience the negative consequences of too much caffeine, including:
- Frequent urination
- Rapid heart rate
Many studies support the health benefits of green tea, a plant-based beverage that has been used medicinally for millennia. It is one of the one of the popular beverages as well as an ingredient to add to other cuisines and wellness products due to its high concentration of antioxidants and adaptability.