What is Green Tea – Information & Benefits of Green Tea

What is Green Tea – Information & Benefits of Green Tea

Leaves from the camellia Sinensis or tea plant are harvested, and quickly heated to prevent oxidisation. This is essentially green tea. Its color is displayed as it’s named, green, in both physical form and when infused after brewing making it easy to recognise. Over the years all true tea types have been looked into to find the healthiest tea of them all. Green tea has been in many headlines and is mostly associated for health benefits. Results in weight loss and diabetes are the main culprits to why it’s known to be the best. Importantly all tea types are great for improving overall health. Therefore acknowledge and try em all!

Process of green tea

It starts off with harvesting of leaves. Picking leaves consists of selecting the bud and first two leaves, first leaves are baby leaves which affect the quality of green tea. Older leaves provide a lesser quality. Once the leaves have been harvested they go through a couple processes:

Sorting Bad from Good

Any damaged leaves are bad at this stage. Being damaged or bruised the leaves start to oxidise due to the enzymes in the plant. Green tea is un-oxidised therefore these leaves are thrown away as they won’t become green tea. Debris will also be discarded to get the best quality possible.

Heating – Neutralizing Enzymes

Many wonder how green tea manages to keep its originality in color compared to black tea. Oxidisation is the key here where black tea is oxidised and green is not. Without oxidisation the leaves keep their colour among having different characteristics such as having a lesser punch of flavour as black tea. In order to stop oxidisation leaves are heated to neutralize the enzymes so they won’t oxidise. There are two different methods here:

Japanese Green Tea – Steaming: Traditionally Japanese green tea consists of steamed leaves. Steaming adds freshness with grassier tasting green teas. Temperatures are in the range of 160 Fahrenheit to 170 Fahrenheit.

Chinese Green Tea – Pan Frying: Chinese green tea is traditionally pan fried leaves resulting in a nuttier, smoked and toasted flavored tea but keeping some grassy notes. Temperatures are a little higher roughly being 170 Fahrenheit to 180 Fahrenheit. Aiding in the lightly smoked and nuttier tastes.

Rolling Leaves

Once heating is complete rolling takes place, allowing aromas and tastes to flourish. By shaping leaves in this way it helps provide refreshing aromas upon opening new tea and allows green tea be fuller in flavour.

That’s it, beautiful greenish leaves filled with great floral tastes.

Does green tea have caffeine?

Yes. All true tea types have. Herbal teas are actually not teas and therefore may contain no caffeine depending on origin and added herbs. Green tea does not generally contain much caffeine apart from some varieties and powdered variations. Some have as little as 15mg of caffeine but others can contain much more, in particular matcha green tea. Matcha is powdered leaves that you consume and therefore consuming the actual leaves instead of infusing the tea to a brew produces more caffeine intake. Matcha can be up to 70mg of caffeine per cup or 8 fluid ounces. This makes the question of, does green tea have caffeine complicated. However keeping track of green tea varieties can significantly affect caffeine intake.

Reduce quantities of caffeine in green tea

For those who watch over caffeine intake levels there are few methods that can keep caffeine to a minimum, they are:

  • Drink infusion teas instead of matcha or powdered types that you consume the leaf.
  • Teabags actually contain more caffeine levels so loose leaf tea is the way to go.
  • Steeping times give more time for infusions to contain higher caffeine amounts, try reducing to 30 seconds or half the brew time.
  • Shaded varieties of green tea typically contain higher levels, Japanese Gyokuro is one. These types are more responsive to sunlight where they up caffeine levels.
  • Drink reduced caffeine blends and brands such as decaf or 50/50.

Health benefits of green tea

The ancient Chinese knew what they were doing when they drank tons of green tea during their lifetime. They had proven then that drinking green tea is a powerful way of staying healthy. Though it hasn’t been explained until now how or why it does. The fact remains though, that green tea is indeed essential for a healthy life.

Disease Prevention

Catechin polyphenols in green tea prevent cancer by hindering the actions of vascular endothelial growth factor and hepatocyte growth factor. These two proteins are responsible for the growth of tumor cells. Polyphenols also inhibit the activity of free radicals within the body. When free radicals are left to wreak havoc in the body, the cells may be damaged, which makes it prone for tumors to develop.

Green tea is popular in Japan which is believed to be the reason why cancer, particularly breast and prostate cancers, are essentially low in the country. A study made in Japan involving more than 8,500 people in Saitama Prefecture showed a significant decrease in cancer incidence after the residents were asked to drink ten cups of green tea a day.

To prove green tea’s effects on prostate cancer, David Geffen School of Medicine’s Susanne Henning asked 67 men suffering from the condition and scheduled to have prostatectomy to participate in her study. One part of the group drank six cups of green tea everyday while another drank six cups of water instead. The level of prostate-specific antigen, which promotes tumor growth, was noticeably lower among the first group.

In China, a study on 18,000 men showed that those who drank green tea regularly had a 50% lesser chance of getting stomach cancer.

Cardiovascular Health

Aside from cancer, cardiovascular diseases are among the most feared medical conditions. Like cancer, heart diseases can be prevented by drinking green tea regularly. Another study, this time with the help of more than 40,500 Japanese, discovered that those who drank five cups of green tea daily had a 26% lower risk of heart attack than those who drank only one cup.

The levels of LDL cholesterol and triglyceride are greatly reduced in those who habitually consume green tea. This is one reason why the popular drink is deemed effective against stroke, heart attack, and other conditions related to the heart.

Weight Loss

In recent years, green tea has become popular for its ability to control weight gain or to help one lose weight. While this hasn’t entirely been proven yet, the results of current studies are promising.

Green tea is known for its antioxidant property. It contains powerful antioxidants called catechins that are also found in apples, berries and wine.

It is also believe that the caffeine in green tea is one of the factors that are responsible for the weight loss. A cup of green tea contains up to 40 milligrams of caffeine (unless powdered) which is far less than that of a cup of coffee which may reach around 200 milligrams. That small amount of caffeine in green tea is enough to promote weight loss.

Another thing that helps promote weight loss is the substance called Epigallocatechin Gallate or simply ECGC.

ECGC

Epigallocatechin Gallate is one of the powerful compounds in green tea. This antioxidant flavonoid is capable of boosting the body’s metabolism which is necessary to control one’s weight.

Aside from its effect on weight, ECGC is also useful against cancer. ECGC reacts with 67-kDa laminin receptor, paving the way for angiogenesis to be blocked or prevented. This decreases the possibility of new vessels connected to the tumor to develop.

Consuming copious amounts of green tea may possibly pose some health risks such as kidney stone formation and high levels of liver enzyme. While the potential health benefits of green tea seem to outweigh any risks, it is still wise to consult a medical professional before increasing green tea consumption, especially if you have existing conditions involving your liver. To be on the safe side, avoid drinking too much green tea per day. While drinking green tea is safe per se, you’ll find it wiser if you don’t push the limit. Safe doses are mainly associated with staying in the daily caffeine intake of around 300 milligrams. Ideally 3 cups of green tea daily gives good health benefits and stays within that limit.

Making a cup of green tea

Water Temperature – When it comes to brewing green tea boiling water will affect the tea negatively. Ideally the temperature should be around 175 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celsius. Boil water and leave it for around 5 minutes.

Loose Leaf Tea Quantity – Depending on the amount of tea being prepared the quantity of loose leaf tea added will vary. Generally you want to put around 1 to 2 teaspoons of tea into 300ml of water, 1 teaspoon being light and 2 being strong. However with various teas and blends this will vary but is great as a guide for all teas. Use your own tastings to get the strength and flavour just right.

Steeping Time – 1 to 2 minutes will make the best green tea. Reduce the time to 30 seconds if you wish to intake less caffeine. Steeping time affects caffeine quantities.

FAQ

Is Green tea caffeinated?

Yes, it’s a true tea which means it comes from the tea plant and contains caffeine. Caffeine quantities are low. Switching from coffee or black tea to green is beneficial due to side effects associated with caffeine. 3 cups of green tea daily is recommended.

Is Green Tea Good for you?

Yes! With Antioxidants and low caffeine levels green tea is most definitely good for you.

What is green tea good for?

Overall health. Prevention of cancers, reducing caffeine from regular black tea or coffee drinkers helping with cardiovascular health.

Does green tea help you lose weight?

Yes. ECGC is an antioxidant present which is known to boost metabolism and help burn off calories. Please don’t substitute a green tea diet solely to lose weight, varied diets and exercise should also be part of your routine.

How many calories in green tea?

Typically natural green tea leaves being steeped in only hot water contains zero calories! Calories in green tea come when other ingredients start to get added in such as sweeteners. One teaspoon of suger can contain around 15-20 calories.

Is it safe to take green tea during pregnancy?

Yes BUT only if you are limiting intake, drinking 3 cups or more may increase risks of a miscarriage from caffeine intake. Also we are talking about natural and simple green tea not with added ingrediants. Some green teas may have added ingredients that may be harmful during pregnancy. For more information dive into healthy teas that are safe during pregnancy and think about varying true teas and herbal teas to drink.

Do green tea diet pills work?

Green tea supplements are available to consume benefits of green tea quickly without having to make and drink a cup. Having a diet in place will help you lose weight and by adding supplements such as green tea diet pills will help that extra step more. Therefore yes they will work but as an addition to a diet, ideally with excersise implemented.

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