People tout green tea as the ultimate health beverage, but what are the real benefits of green tea?
Adding green tea to daily diets seems like a good idea.
However, there are several things you need to know about green tea. Follow this guide before adding the tea to your daily diet.
A. What is green tea?
This drink comes from the same Camellia sinensis species to oolong or black tea.
However, it does not go through oxidation and withering process, resulting in paler and greener color when you brew the green tea leaves with hot water.
Green tea is famous for its mild flavor, but it turns astringent and bitter when steeped improperly.
Green tea has become a venerated beverage for centuries. Lu Yu, a writer and tea expert from the Tang Dynasty (618—907 AD), wrote a book called The Classic of Tea, which discusses the importance of green tea.
Eisai, a Japanese Zen priest from the 13th century, wrote a similar book titled The Book of Tea.
It describes the growing and making of green tea, along with its benefits.
Does green tea have caffeine? Despite the popular notion about green tea being healthier than coffee, it still contains a significant amount of caffeine.
A cup of green tea has a caffeine level that ranges from 12 to 75 grams, depending on the type, brewing time, and steeping method.
B. Types of Green Tea
Many countries produce their versions of green tea, but China and Japan are the most famous producers.
Here are several types of green tea from both countries:
Sencha is a popular Japanese tea served at common restaurants and houses. Sushi restaurants outside Japan often use sencha for their green tea drinks.
Farmers grow the leaves under direct sunlight, before steaming and rolling the first leaf flush.
Long Jing is a Chinese tea from Longjing Village in Zhejiang. This green tea is exported to many countries.
Farmers lightly fry the leaves on a black pan to process them. The results are flat, yellowish tea leaves.
Gyokuro is a similar green tea to sencha, but it is protected from the sunlight three weeks before harvest.
The result is a stronger flavor and more chemical compound amounts.
Gunpowder tea originates from Zhejian and looks like small pellets after processing. The leaf “pellets” open when you brew them.
Matcha comes from tea leaves that are hidden from the sunlight three weeks before harvest.
After processing, farmers skip the rolling process and dry the tea, before grounding it into powder.
Matcha is a popular ingredient for green tea extract, desserts, and condiments.
High-quality green tea contains a moderate amount of caffeine.
Excessive consumption may cause side effects like stomach problems, insomnia, headache, dizziness, and irregular heartbeats.
The tannin in green tea can also cause nausea and vomiting.
Related: Best Tea Variants to Cure Headaches
C. Green Tea Benefits for Health
The main reason people consume green tea is for their health.
There are some benefits you can get from regularly drinking this tea, such as:
1. Helping in Weight Loss
Drinking green tea for weight loss helps your body to increase its metabolism. It results in a higher energy level and quicker fat burning.
2. Reducing Alzheimer and Parkinson Risks
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are both common degenerative diseases. In both cases, the neurons are damaged or stopped being produced over time.
The catechins in green tea may help to protect the neurons from these degenerative effects.
3. Keeping and Improving Dental Health
The catechins in green tea contain antibacterial effects.
Drinking unsweetened green tea every day can reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth. It can reduce plaque and eliminate bad breath.
Related: 15 Methods to Whiten Teeth Naturally at Home
4. Reducing Diabetes Risk
Some studies on green tea showed mild reductions in blood sugar levels. The chemical compounds in green tea also help increase insulin sensitivity levels.
While researchers are still conducting deeper studies of the green tea benefits, you can improve your chance to get better health by drinking green tea regularly.
D. Green Tea Benefits for Beauty
Green tea leaves or extracts have become popular ingredients in beauty products. The benefits of green tea for skin come from its antioxidants.
They reduce the effects of UV rays, which can induce early aging signs such as wrinkles and spots.
You can get this benefit from using body lotion products that contain SPF and green tea extract.
The catechins in green tea have an anti-inflammation effect. You can use it to soothe dry, reddened skin or flaming zits.
Applying green tea mask every two weeks is a great way to keep your skin fresh and supple.
Green tea can also keep your hair healthy. Using green tea for hair reduces split ends and hair fall, thanks to the panthenol and vitamin B in it.
You can make a hair nutrition gel by brewing green tea leaves and mix the tea with aloe gel (after it cools down).
Apply evenly on your hair after conditioner, and let it sits for three minutes before rinsing.
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E. Popular Green Tea Brands
Getting green tea at the stores is easy. You can find green tea products from famous brands such as Lipton and Twining.
However, if you want to get the full benefits of green tea, try buying premium products or the original brands from “tea countries.”
Some of the most recommended products include:
1. Uncle Lee’s Tea
Uncle Lee’s Tea is made of Chinese gunpowder green tea.
The tea’s processing method eliminates most of its bitterness, but without removing the active chemical compounds.
2. Kirkland Signature
Kirkland Signature sells Japanese green tea that mixes matcha and sencha. The tea comes in bags instead of dried loose leaves, so the experience may feel less authentic.
However, the beautiful green shade and fresh flavor convince you that this is a high-quality tea product.
3. Buddha Teas Dragon Well
Buddha Teas has a variant called Organic Dragon Well Green Tea, with “dragon well” being the literal translation of Longjing.
This product uses toasty, naturally sweet Longjing tea from China. The smooth flavor is perfect for the first-time drinkers.
Drinking green tea every day is not the only way to stay healthy. Excessive consumption can also cause side effects.
However, drinking one or two cups a day will give you the benefits of green tea without the health problems.