If you are a tea lover, you should know where it originated. Tea was originally discovered in China, where the ancient Chinese first used it for medicinal purposes and slowly began to use it for recreational consumption. Green tea first appeared on the map around 5000 years ago and is one of the oldest types of Chinese tea, making it the oldest type of tea to grace the world’s tea culture.
Today, the world is going back to these ancient roots, and green tea is gaining popularity because it has proven to have so many more benefits than any other types of teas. Green tea with matcha is currently being preferred by all, and the flavour has been added to the menus in many coffee and tea shops around the world. So if you have a penchant for drinking tea but have become health conscious, you may want to look a little more into the drink that is now claimed as one the healthiest drink out here!
What is Green Tea?
All the types of teas are made from the same plant species, the “Camellia Sinensis”, but what makes them different one another is how they are processed. While there are many different blends available throughout the world, there are only three categories of tea: green, oolong, and black tea.
The leaves that are allowed to ferment completely are referred as black tea, the leaves that are allowed to ferment only partially are oolong tea, and the leaves that are not allowed to ferment at all are called green tea. When green tea leaves are picked, farmers stop the oxidization of the leaves, therefore halting the fermentation process from progressing. Green tea is a very healthy drink as it does not contain any sugar or calories; it has many antioxidants and is extremely refreshing.
Different Types of Green Teas
While all green tea requires the oxidization process to be halted, there are different ways that farmers choose to go about it. The different ways the leaves are treated after harvesting is what makes for the different types of green tea that is available in the market. For example, in China, tea farmers pan-fry the leaves in order to stop them from oxidizing, leaving the tea leaves flat and stiff. In Japan, the leaves are often steamed and then dried. Some of the types of green teas available are mentioned below:
- Mint Green Tea – Green tea with mint is very refreshing and has a pleasant aroma.
- Tulsi Green Tea – It is very potent and is good for the body.
- Lemon Green Tea – Lemon green tea is good for weight loss.
- Jasmine Green Tea – Green tea with jasmine cools and calms the body.
- Gunpowder Green Tea – Gunpowder green tea is one of the most popular types of Chinese tea. It helps stimulate metabolism and aids in weight loss.
- Pi Lo Chun (Green Snail Spring Tea) – It is grown amongst the apricot and plum trees, and thus it picks up the flavours of the same.
- Snowy Mountain Jian – This tea is grown at high altitudes and has the full body flavour resembling black tea.
- Hou Kui (Monkey Tea) – It is grown among orchids and produces orchid flavour tea as it absorbs the flavour of the flowers.
- Sencha – This tea is an everyday Japanese green tea and the leaves of this tea are exposed to the direct sunlight.
- Gyokuro – The leaves of this tea are flat and tea is transferred to the shade during the last three weeks before the harvest.
- Kukicha – The harvesting of three leaves and one bud results in a white stalk that gives the tea its chestnut flavour.
- Matcha – It is most prominently featured in the Japanese Tea ceremony, this tea is a powdered green tea that is grown in the shade.
Nutritional Components Present in Green Tea
Here are the nutritional facts that are present in one mug of green tea:
|Caffeine||24 – 45mg|
Reference Link: https://www.greenteasource.com/health/nutrition-value
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is replete with health benefits and can be used to treat various ailments. Some important benefits that we can reap from green tea are:
1. Improves the Health of the Heart
Drinking green tea can help lower the bad cholesterol levels in your body, which play a direct role in contributing to heart diseases. While the capsules may have better results, consuming tea on a daily basis can help lower the risk of heart disease. When the antioxidant capacity of the blood increases, it prevents heart attacks caused by reactive oxygen species. As per a research, people who drink green tea have shown a 28% lower risk than others of developing cardiovascular problems since the catechins in green tea help in the prevention of atherosclerosis, a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases. While the green tea does lower the bad cholesterol, it does nothing to impact the good cholesterol in the body.
2. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
When the body’s normal cell cycle of growing and dying is broken, cancer cells begin to form and grow rapidly, resulting in tumours that can occur in different parts of the body, causing the different types of cancer. The antioxidants in green tea, especially Epigallocatechin-3-gallate ((EGCG), which makes up for about 50-70% of the total catechin content in green tea, counteract the growth of these dangerous cells. EGCG has been found to improve the protein in the cells, which curbs the growth of cancer-causing cells in your body. The antioxidants also reduce the levels of cyclin D1, a protein that aids the growth of cancer cells. EGCG blocks any enzymes that may benefit and encourage the growth of cancer cells, thus proving to be very beneficial in lowering the risk of cancer.
3. Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Catechins that are present in green tea also helps in reducing insulin resistance. This happens because it decreases the rate of absorption and digestion of carbohydrates. Research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes, drinking at least three cups of green tea in a day had a positive reaction in their insulin resistance, as it raised the level of good cholesterol in their bodies. It even helps lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As per a study in Japan, people who drank 6 or more cups of green tea per day were 33% lesser prone to develop this disease than those who drank only 1 cup of green tea on a weekly basis.
4. Regulates Blood Pressure
Problems with blood pressure are usually due to an enzyme that is produced by the kidneys, called Angiotensin-Converting enzyme. The medication that is taken for blood pressure works by inhibiting the ACE. Green tea extracts have been found to have natural properties that inhibit ACE. The polyphenols present in green tea also stops the absorption of lipids and encourage the transformation of cholesterol into bile. Further, green tea’s cardioprotective effect has shown that drinking green tea is linked to relaxing the blood vessels.
5. Helps Relieve Arthritis
EGCG in green tea helps in limiting the production of the molecules in the body that lead to arthritis, pain, and inflammation. It can also better the health of the cartilage and bones. Studies have shown that drinking green tea and exercising have resulted in improvements in patients with rheumatoid arthritis as green tea preserves the cartilage and collagen by preventing them from suffering degradation, something that often happens in those who suffer from arthritis.
6. Boosts Immunity
One of the benefits of drinking green tea with honey is that it boosts the immune system. Green tea is rich in antigens and the catechins that are able to kill the influenza virus. The antioxidants in it can also keep you safe during the flu season and prevent you from developing a cold.
7. Promotes Longevity
People who drink green tea not only live longer but are less likely to suffer from disabilities or serious illness in their old age due to the many benefits that green tea offers.
8. Promotes Cognitive Functioning
Caffeine has the ability to inhibit adenosine, which acts as a depressant for the central nervous system and promotes sleep. Caffeine can counteract this and promote the functioning of the brain. Since green tea does have a certain amount of caffeine, it is able to produce the same benefits as caffeine and stop the brain from feeling sleepy and enhance cognitive functioning. Furthermore, it is much healthier than coffee.
9. Promotes Digestive Health
One of the many benefits of the antioxidants in green tea is that it helps in digestion. The EGCG in green tea can help treat the symptoms of colitis, an inflammatory disorder that takes place in the gastrointestinal tract. Green tea also contains vitamins B and C, which help in digestion.
10. Promotes Weight Loss
The benefits of green tea for weight loss are well known to us. But how does it work? Well, the antioxidants present in green tea aid in boosting the metabolism, and the hormones that burn fat are stimulated due to its active compounds. Consuming green tea extracts, or drinking green tea daily can help increase the oxidation of fats during workouts, which means that you will drop weight much faster once you make it a habit.
11. Helps Fight Depression
People who drink a minimum of four cups of green tea daily are also less likely to show signs of depression. Green tea contains amino acid L-theanine, which encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine in the body. These chemicals are known to fight depression. The caffeine that is present in green tea also helps fight depression, stress, and anxiety.
12. Cures Hangovers
Drinking green tea is also known to cure a hangover; the trick is to consume it before you start drinking or the day after. The antioxidants in green tea can help prevent liver damage, and it can also help detoxify the liver after a night of heavy drinking. But be cautious and do not drink green tea immediately after you drink as it may harm your kidneys. You may also feel constipated.
13. Promotes Oral Health
Green tea works wonders for oral health and has been found to be able to prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease. Not only does it reduce the growth of oral bacteria, but it is also said to be able to prevent oral cancer from taking place. If you add any sweeteners such as sugar or honey, it will not work so well against cavities as those ingredients will still be able to damage your teeth.
14. Treats the Symptoms of Down Syndrome
Although there is no actual cure for Down Syndrome, a recent study has shown that there is hope for its symptoms being alleviated and a better quality of life for those with this condition. The EGCG is the compound that is present in green tea that has given researchers hope, as it was seen to limit the ill effects of the third copy of Chromosome 21 (of which the average person has only two).
15. Improves Endurance and Energy
The catechins in green tea help increase a person’s energy and endurance.
16. Helps Treat Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles
There are many benefits of green tea for the skin. Puffy eyes and dark circles are something that most people suffer from at some point or the other. The caffeine shrinks the blood vessels and reduces puffiness, while it also decreases the dilation of the blood vessels under the eyes and treats the dark circles. Take a couple of tea bags that you soak, let them chill in the freezer for half an hour, then place on your eyes.
17. Helps Treat Acne
The antioxidants present in green tea help in fighting free radicals and in repairing damaged skin. Drinking green tea also boosts the immune system, cuts down sebum production, and reduces inflammation, all of which help fight against acne internally. You can apply green tea topically in the form of masks and toners. Brewed tea can also be frozen into ice cubes and used on the face.
18. Green Tea for Anti-Ageing
Say goodbye to the signs of ageing as the antioxidants in green tea as well as the anti-inflammatory properties will help reduce signs of wrinkles and fine lines. Moisten some green tea leaves and then mix it with some honey in order to make a face mask. After cleaning your face, apply it and leave it on for about twenty minutes and then rinse with warm or cool water.
19. Helps Cure Sunburn
To treat sunburn, all you have to do is, brew a pot of green tea, strain it, and allow it to cool. After that, soak a piece of cloth in the tea and use it as a cold compress for sunburned areas. The antioxidants in green tea protect against the harmful ultraviolet rays.
20. Good for Hair
Yet another thing to add to the long list of pros of green tea is that it is good for hair. Green tea contains 5 Alpha-Reductase, a substance that is said to reduce the production of one of the leading causes of baldness: DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). The EGCG compound also has the ability to stimulate hair growth and aid in treating other ailments such as itchy scalp and dandruff, which is another cause of hair loss. Wash your hair and then massage your scalp with brewed green tea. Leave it for ten minutes and then rinse with cool water.
How to Make Green Tea at Home
Making green tea at home is very easy, yet many people don’t know how to prepare it and often end up with a very bitter brew. Here are some simple steps to follow:
- Boil a cup of water.
- Add a tsp of green tea leaves to a strainer.
- Place this over a cup.
- Pour in the boiling water and allow it to seep for about two minutes.
- Remove and enjoy the healthy green tea.
What Are the Side Effects of Drinking Green Tea?
Despite so many benefits, green tea also has some side effects. The main ingredient that causes problems is the caffeine that is present in it. Some side effects to watch out for are:
1. Bleeding Disorders
There are rare cases where green tea can trigger a blood disorder. Some compounds in green tea may decrease fibrinogen levels, which help clot the blood. The oxidation of fatty acids can also cause the blood to thin. If you have a bleeding disorder, consult with your doctor before drinking green tea.
2. Problems during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Drinking green tea during pregnancy or breastfeeding may lead to miscarriages or birth defects in babies. The caffeine content and catechins in green tea are known to increase risks in pregnancy. It may be unsafe to drink more than two cups of green tea while pregnant or breastfeeding.
3. Iron Deficiency and Anemia
The antioxidants present in green tea can make it hard for your body to absorb iron. This side effect of green tea can be dangerous for those suffering from anaemia.
The caffeine content in green tea can trigger headaches. So, if you are sensitive to caffeine or have a migraine, refrain from drinking green tea on a daily basis.
5. Sleep Problems
Though it does not contain too much of it, the caffeine in green tea will cause sleeping problems if consumed right before bed. So, it is best avoided before bedtime.
Here are some frequently asked questions about green tea:
1. Should I Take Green Tea Supplements?
There is a chance that supplements could be tainted or harmful. It is best to consult with your doctor about any supplements.
2. When Should I Take Green Tea?
Never drink tea on an empty stomach. It is best to have it after your meals. You can have it before meals, but ensure that there is a two-hour gap before you eat. Having it during your meals may cause your body to have difficulty absorbing iron.
3. Is Decaffeinated Green Tea Safe to Drink?
Though decaffeinated, it may still contain a small amount of caffeine. Not only this but though it will still have its antioxidant properties, it will not be as beneficial to you as much as regular green tea.
4. Are There Any Advantages to Consuming Green Tea and Lemon?
This mix will have a higher level of Vitamin C and improve the immunity of the body. Lemon may be able to help in digestion as well.
5. How Can Drinking Green Tea With Cinnamon Help Me?
The antioxidant level in green tea is high. Cinnamon is also a good source of antioxidants, thus a high level of antioxidants will help you.
Drinking green tea is beneficial for you in so many ways but remember that too much of a good thing is bad. Don’t start drinking lots of green tea all of a sudden, rather start slow and increase the amount once your body gets used to it. If you suffer from any medical issues, consult with your doctor before adding it into your daily routine.
Also Read: Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits