Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients which is why it has been used as a medicinal beverage since ancient times. It was widely used throughout Asia because of its multiple uses from lowering blood pressure and decreasing weight to preventing cancer.
The health benefits of green tea have become quite well-known these days and because of this green tea has become, a remedial beverage drunk worldwide. Green tea in comparison to black tea retains most of its antioxidants and polyphenols as its processing doesn’t involve the fermentation process, unlike black tea.
What is Green Tea
Originating in China, the practice of drinking green tea soon spread to India and other places. The Chinese monks who drunk green tea for refreshment and to help in their meditation sessions spread this tradition when they began their journey to spread Buddhism. Soon, the benefits of green tea became widely acknowledged by many countries.
Scientifically known as Camellia sinensis, green tea is a non-fermented tea that is packed with anti-oxidants. While black tea, green tea, and oolong tea all come from the same plant, the green tea leaves have to be plucked in a different way. Only the fresh leaves have to be picked from the apex of the tea plant and processing these leaves involves preventing excess oxidation. The picking and processing rituals combined allow green tea to retain its vast anti-oxidant content.
Indian green tea from Assam has larger leaves in comparison to the green tea leaves from China. Nevertheless, both provide the same health benefits.
What are the health benefits of drinking green tea?
There is a whole list of amazing health benefits of green tea that you may or may not have been aware of. While some of these benefits still need to be proven to be true, they still have some evidence that green tea is linked to them, or can be responsible for them.
1. Lowers blood pressure
Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is one of the many health benefits you gain from drinking green tea. In fact, it has been suggested that the regular consumption of green tea can help in reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
2. For Weight loss
One of the most common health benefits of green tea is weight loss. The polyphenols present in green tea intensify levels of fat oxidation thereby increasing your metabolism. Your body begins burning fat at a faster pace which contributes to lowering your overall body weight. If you are looking to shed excess weight then include drinking green tea into your weight loss program.
3. Prevents depression
Green tea leaves contain the amino acid- theanine which is a substance that can provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect. This is one of the biggest benefits you get from drinking green tea. Drinking green tea can relieve your stress and anxiety, and help you avoid depression.
Also read – Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea
4. Have antiviral and antibacterial qualities
The catechins present in green tea are potent antiviral and antibacterial agents. They help in fighting all kinds of diseases in the body such as influenza and even cancer. Some studies have shown that the health benefits of green tea include inhibiting the spread of many diseases.
5. Promotes skin health
Green tea has an anti-aging effect on your skin. It apparently can reduce or stop the formation of wrinkles with its large anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Certain studies that involved applying green tea topically on the skin to reduce sun damage showed outstanding results. Green tea can keep your skin healthy, nourished, and youthful.
6. Prevents diabetes
Green tea is great for keeping your glucose levels in check. It apparently helps in regulating your body’s glucose levels by slowing the rising blood sugar after eating. This can even prevent your body from storing extra fat which would cause your insulin levels to spike.
7. Lowers cholesterol
Green tea has a good impact on your cholesterol levels as well. It not only reduces the bad cholesterol in the blood but promotes the production of good cholesterol which helps in improving the ratio of the good cholesterol to the bad cholesterol within your body.
8. Prevents heart disease
According to scientists, green tea works on the lining of the blood vessels which helps in keeping them relaxed. This reinforces their ability to withstand changes in blood pressure. Green tea is somewhat effective in protecting against the formation of clots which happen to be the primary cause of heart disease.
9. Treats Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Studies suggest that drinking green tea can possibly delay the deterioration of brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. These studies were conducted on mice and showed that green tea managed to protect their brain cells from dying and actively restored their damaged brain cells as well.
10. Prevents tooth decay
As per studies, the chemical antioxidant called “catechin” contained in green tea is capable of destroying bacteria and viruses which are responsible for causing throat infections. You can even avoid dental caries and other dental conditions by drinking green tea.
11. Helps avoid esophageal cancer
Among the various health benefits of green tea, one such benefit is that it can possibly reduce the risk of you developing esophageal cancer. Green tea is known to contain properties that can destroy cancer cells in general without causing any damage to healthy tissue.
The best way to prepare green tea
Unlike black tea, green tea has to be prepared in a slightly different manner. The steps you need to follow to prepare green tea are quite simple. Just keep in mind that you should never steep green tea leaves in water above 90°C or else the tea will taste bitter. Here is how you can prepare this amazing beverage:
1 teaspoon of green tea leaves (or you may use green tea pearls) to make 1 cup of green tea, 1 cup of water.
- Take 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves for 1 cup. If you are making more than 1 cup then add 1 teaspoon of tea leaves for each cup.
- Set aside the tea leaves in a strainer or sieve.
- Boil water to a temperature of 80-85°C, but make sure that the water doesn’t reach boiling point. But, if it starts boiling turn of the gas or heat and let it cool for a bit (for around 30-45 seconds).
- Place the strainer or sieve containing the tea leaves over the cup or mug.
- Pour the hot water into the cup and let the tea leaves steep for 3 minutes. You need to be very careful in this step because not everyone likes their tea too strong or too weak. Check the tea with a teaspoon every 30-45 seconds to check if the flavor is just right for you and for whomever you may be serving it to.
- Remove the strainer or sieve and if you prefer your tea a bit sweet then add 1 teaspoon of honey and stir it well into the tea. Let it cool for a few seconds after which you may sit down to enjoy your refreshing beverage.
While you may know all the health benefits of green tea and even how to prepare it, the next question is how many cups of green tea should you drink to gain these benefits? Some have suggested drinking two cups a day while others believe drinking 5 cups will get you the full benefits of green tea. You can even consider taking a green tea supplement if you don’t have the time to prepare a cup of green tea.