What is green tea?
Green tea is brewed from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is not processed or you can say the leaves of green tea haven’t been fermented. So, it carries the highest level of antioxidants.
During the digestion process in our body, some amount of byproducts and free radicals get developed which may damage our cells.
Antioxidants are needed to remove the unwanted byproducts and free radicals in our body.
Green tea’s biggest benefit is ‘Catechin’ content. It contains epigallocatechin gallate usually known as EGCG, are kind of antioxidant which fights and prevent cell damage.
How many types of green tea?
‘Sencha’ is the most popular and easiest to find green tea around the world.
Some other varieties of green tea are – Fukamushi Sencha, Gyokuro, Kabusecha, Matcha, Tencha, Genmaicha, Hojicha, Shincha/Ichibancha/Nibancha, Sanbancha.
What are the benefits of Green tea?
1. Green tea for cancer prevention
Green tea contains polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants. It has been found in lab tests, that high level of polyphenols helps in killing cancerous/leukemic cells. Researchers are studying to find out the exact structure by which green tea combines with cancerous cells. Some studies have also shown that cancer patients are less in countries where high green tea is consumed.
Green tea has shown positive results for specific types of cancers – Skin, Lung, breast, colon, pancreas, stomach, prostate, throat, bowel, and bladder.
2. Green tea for heart/heart health
Green tea protects from cardiovascular diseases. It increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood, which in turns protect our body from heart attacks and stroke.
Green tea lowers bad cholesterol level. Its catechin compounds also protect our body from atherosclerosis which is a major cause of cardiovascular disease.
3. Green tea for lowering cholesterol
Green tea helps in lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level and boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level.LDL often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol and HDL as ‘good’ cholesterol.HDL pushes out LDL (the bad cholesterol) from the arteries in order to prevent our body from atherosclerosis. LDL, if not pushed out can choke the arteries which may lead to a heart attack.
4. Green tea for type 2 diabetes
Green tea helps in reducing the blood sugar level. It also improves insulin sensitivity.
Polyphenols group of catechins and polysaccharides in the tea helps in lowering the amount of glucose into the bloodstream.
5. Green tea for weight loss
Flavonoids and caffeine in green tea increase metabolic rate. They also increase insulin activity and oxidation of fat from fat cells. Green tea will be very helpful in losing weight if combined with a daily workout.
Pick ‘Matcha’ green tea, if you are on a weight loss mission. It is one of the most effective teas as it is a finely grounded and concentrated green tea.
6. Green tea to improve memory
Researchers in China and Switzerland have reported that green tea benefits your memory in 2 ways –
Epigallocatechin in green tea increases neurogenesis process in the brain. It helps in the creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus which is directly responsible for processing data from short-term memory & long-term memory.
Secondly, green tea extracts help in increased connectivity between frontal and parietal brain cells to enhance working memory.
7. Green tea for Alzheimer
A few studies have shown that green tea has a potential to protect you from Alzheimer disease.
Alzheimer disease is caused due to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques.
Beta-amyloid accumulates in the brain and kills the nerve cells.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC) in green tea combines with beta-amyloid proteins and stops the formation of beta-amyloid plaques.
However, researchers are yet to find out the exact link between ECGC and brain health.
8. Green tea for relaxation
Usually sipping tea always makes us calm and relax.
Here, Green tea contains a natural chemical known as L-theanine which reduces anxiety by increasing dopamine levels in the brain and further reduces the blood pressure.
A study has suggested that Green tea shows relaxing effects within 40 minutes of its intake.
9. Green tea for energy
Green tea can boost our energy levels due to caffeine as its ingredients. Caffeine improves cell function & alertness.
10. Green tea for digestive health
Green tea provides vitamin B, C, and E to the body which benefits indigestion. Due to the high anti-oxidant effect of green tea, the cells in our body works more efficiently and clear waste.
Epigallocatechin gallate, which has the strongest anti-oxidant effect in green tea helps in digestion by attacking bacteria and viruses.
Best time to drink Green tea?
Both morning and evening are the good time to drink green tea.
In the morning, around 10-11 am when the metabolic process is at highest, is the best time to have a cup of green tea. Just make sure a gap of an hour or two between your meal and green tea.
It is also beneficial to drink green tea in the evening when your body metabolism starts to dip. A cup of green tea can give a boost.
3 cups of green tea are enough to create a good health impact.
Some important facts about Green tea
Green tea is native to China and India. It has been consumed in China for thousands of years. In recent years it has gained popularity in America and few other western countries.
Currently, more than 75% of the tea consumed in the world in black and only 20% is green tea.
Green tea has always been used in a few traditional medicines in China and India.
More research on green tea health benefits is underway.
Green tea is really a healthy drink but it also has few side-effects which we have discussed below.
What are the side-effects of Green tea?
Yes, it’s true. Green tea can have side-effects too.
1. Side-effects due to caffeine sensitivity
High intake (4 to 6 cups) of green tea may lead to insomnia, vomiting, anxiety, cramps, stomach problems, and dizziness. Green tea is high in caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine, then you may experience these health problems.
2. Avoid Green tea if you are taking a blood thinner
Green tea is rich in Vitamin K. Due to which, it is advised to avoid green tea as it reduces the clotting efficiency of our body platelets.
3. Green tea and liver disease
If you are suffering from a liver problem or liver disease, avoid green tea without a second thought. Green tea raw extracts are directly related to liver damage.
4. Avoid green tea in the following conditions
You must not take green tea or its extracts in any form if you are having any of these conditions – Pregnancy, Breastfeeding women, Heart problems, High blood pressure, Kidney problems, Stomach ulcers.