Green tea, native to China and India, has been consumed and hailed for its health benefits for centuries globally, but has only recently gained popularity.
Tea is considered the most consumed beverage in the world behind water, however 78% of the tea consumed worldwide is black and only about 20% is green.
All types of tea except herbal tea are brewed from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. The level of oxidation of the leaves determines the type of tea.
Green tea is made from un-oxidized leaves and is one of the less processed types of tea (with white tea the least) and therefore contains the most amount of antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols. Green tea was used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to control bleeding and heal wounds, aid digestion, improve heart and mental health and regulate body temperature. Recent studies have shown that green tea can potentially have positive effects on everything from weight loss to liver disorders, Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Green Tea Benefits Explored:
- Weight Loss: Green tea increases the metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories.
- Heart Disease: Green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping to keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.
- Cholesterol: Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
- Tooth Decay: Studies suggest that the chemical antioxidant “catechin” in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions
- Blood Pressure: Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
- Depression: Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.
- Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial: Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many
- Skincare: Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of aging. This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.
- Diabetes: Green tea has been shown to help regulate glucose levels, slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes and resulting fat storage.
- Oesophageal Cancer: It has been known to reduce the risk of oesophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s: It is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.
A Relaxing Ritual:
Sipping tea helps you slow down and relax, Reardon says. A natural chemical called theanine found in green tea can provide a calming effect.
But perhaps the biggest benefit, which you get right away, is just taking a tea break. Here’s how to make your next cup:
- Don’t add green tea to boiling water. It’s bad for catechins, those healthy chemicals, in the tea. Better: 70-75°C water.
- Add lemon. Vitamin C makes the catechins easier to absorb. Dairy, on the other hand, makes it harder to absorb them.
Green tea supplements can be of great benefit as you are able to consume concentrated amounts without drinking 10 cups a day. Adding Next Generation Supplements Green Tea Vegetarian capsules to your diet could be just the thing you need as each capsule is equivalent to drinking 3 standard cups of green tea.
Thanks for reading.
Mrs Jessica Gray
Div1 RN (Specialising in Diet Related Disease and Nutrition)
MS Australia Ambassador
Australian Para Athlete