Green tea has been revered in traditional Chinese medicine for its potential health benefits for centuries. After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world.
The health effects of green tea encompass the entire body. In addition to being a natural anti-inflammatory and packed with antioxidants, it’s benefits include:
The buds and leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant are oxidized for a short period of time to produce green tea. All types of tea are made from the same plant, with the exception of herbal tea. Herbal tea is made by infusing herbs, spice or other plants in hot water.
All tea varieties are created by processing the plant at varying degrees of withering and oxidation. Out of all types, green tea is considered to be the most natural version. It goes through a smaller amount of production than other types of tea.
Studies have found that consuming green tea can have many positive effects. Let’s take a look at some of them!
Green tea contains high amounts of antioxidants which may lower the risk of disease. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is the main catechin that makes up the antioxidants in green tea. Catechins are natural polyphenolic phytochemicals that exist in medicinal plants. Studies suggest that consuming catechin-rich beverages could have preventative benefits for cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and obesity.
Oxidative damage may lead to chronic inflammation, which can cause illnesses and diseases. Antioxidants act like a shield against oxidative damage by protecting the cells.
Catechins help to reduce inflammation and the number of free radicals in the body. These are directly related to aging and many types of diseases.
Caffeine is the primary active ingredient in green tea. It affects the brain by blocking a neurotransmitter called adenosine. This inherent blocking increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain and is responsible for making you feel good. Your nervous system uses dopamine to communicate between nerve cells.
Another component is the amino acid L-theanine. This increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. L-theanine increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves occur when you are relatively calm and relaxed.
The combination of caffeine and L-theanine creates a powerful effect in the brain. Not only can it increase functionality, but it also has a calming effect. The caffeine is released throughout the body slowly over a 6 to 8-hour period. This prevents an afternoon crash that coffee drinkers might experience, and people have stable energy levels.
In terms of oral health, green tea offers a number of benefits. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is capable of supporting the health of your gums. The first signs of gum disease are usually inflammation and bleeding, and green tea can be beneficial in reducing these symptoms.
Additionally, it is also helpful in lowering the level of bacteria in your mouth. High levels of bacteria cause plaque to form, leading to bad breath and cavities.
Compared to dark-colored black tea, green tea keeps your teeth whiter and less stained since it is light in color.
Green tea may improve some of the causes of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke. It also improves circulation by increasing the size of the body’s blood vessels. It can cause a significant reduction of high blood pressure and heart stress.
Low-density lipoprotein particles (LDL) are by-products of fat transports that are left in the bloodstream. LDL is what your doctor tracks as bad cholesterol levels. This is what builds up in the arteries and blocks blood flow resulting in heart attacks and strokes. Green tea increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood, which prevents LDL particles from accumulating in the arteries.
Studies have found that green tea helps people have more favorable outcomes with cardiovascular and ischemic diseases.
The active ingredients in green tea can aid the body in its process of breaking down fat cells. It boosts a fat-burning hormone known as norepinephrine. The antioxidant Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) inhibits an enzyme that normally breaks down this hormone.
As a result, the amount of norepinephrine increases in the bloodstream, which promotes fat breakdown. The fat that is broken down is released into the bloodstream, making it available for energy by surrounding cells. This process can lead to better management of a healthy weight.
If you are looking to add green tea to your beverage options, there is a wide variety to choose from. The types differ based on flavor and production based on being produced in either China or Japan.
Chinese green teas are produced by pan firing, sun exposure, or roasting to dry out the leaves.
Known for its premium quality. It tends to be more expensive than other types. It is produced in the Yue Zhou and Qian Tang regions of China. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and beautiful jade green color when brewed.
This unique tea is shaped into small pellets by tea artisans. The shape of the pellets favors gunpowder pellets, hence its name. It is produced by steaming the leaves rather than drying them out. It has a yellow color when brewed and a light smokey flavor, but can become bitter if over-brewed.
Unlike Chinese Green tea, tea harvesters in Japan utilize the process of steaming rather than roasting to dry out the leaves. Some green teas are shade grown for the final weeks leading up to harvesting. This prevents the chlorophyll from fading, which helps it maintain its bright green color.
Extremely high in antioxidants and catechin due to only the leaf being used. The leaves are stone-ground into a fine powder. It can be brewed as a matcha latte using milk, honey, and hot water. For a traditional taste, use hot water and pour it directly over the matcha powder.
This tea is harvested in the Shizuoka region of Japan. It is very popular and is typically the tea you would be served in a restaurant. It offers a nutty, fruity flavor and an emerald green color when brewed.
Unlike the other types, genmaicha combines tea leaves and roasted rice kernels. This gives it a roasted flavor that is hearty and robust.
Before adding any type of green tea to your wellness regimen, you may need to talk to your doctor. While these are natural substances, they can still interact with medications and pre-existing illnesses.
There are several ways to add green tea to your daily routine. Single-use tea bags and instant powders are a convenient way to make a cup of tea. Brewing loose-leaf tea in a pot allows you to make multiple cups of green tea at once. You can also use a mesh insert to brew one cup at a time.
Some people may not enjoy drinking green tea for a variety of reasons. However, you can still reap the benefits by getting a high-quality green tea extract. These supplements can be found in capsule or gummy form, depending on your preference.
Green tea has proven to be beneficial throughout its vast history. Medical studies continue to add regularly to the list of benefits. No matter the benefits, adding this to your daily routine can be a tasty treat. I like to think of it as a pure cup of happiness!