The Benefits of Green Tea
With all of the headlines that come out each day, it can be difficult to decide which ones are legitimate and which are going to be tomorrow’s old news.
For example, green tea has gone back and forth in the news – some stories proclaiming the wonders of it, while other stories say that it’s not quite the wonder drink that it’s made out to be. To make the best decision for you, perhaps you need the facts about green tea.
What is green tea?
What you may not realize is that green tea is actually black tea that hasn’t been processed in the same way. Green tea is minimally oxidized so that it retains the original green of the leaves as well as a milder taste. Black tea, on the other hand, is heavily oxidized, which is why it had a more biting taste.
Green tea can come in a number of packages – bags, loose, and even powdered. You can also find green tea in bottles as well as in cans in your local supermarket. Green tea supplements are also available for you to take in pill form.
Green tea contains EGCG
One of the healthy compounds in green tea is EGCG. This is a plant based ingredient, also known as a flavonoid that is linked to the healthy benefits. These compounds are antioxidants by nature and can help to reduce the effects of environmental strain on cells.
Caffeine content of green tea
There are several factors to consider, including how long the tea is brewed for and how much is used. But in general the following guidelines are used for estimating the amount of caffeine in green tea.
- Coffee - 80-135 mg
- Black Tea - 40-60 mg
- Green Tea - 15-30 mg
- White Tea - 6 - 25 mg
What are the health benefits gained from drinking green tea?
There are many health benefits associated with drinking green tea – at least, they’re considered benefits because of some research that has backed them up.
You might want to consider the idea that Japanese citizens have been drinking green tea for centuries and despite high smoking habits, they have one of the lowest incidences of cancer.
The Health Benefits of Green Tea:
- Decreased risk of certain cancers – lung, stomach, throat, etc.
- Helps increase metabolism for weight loss
- Decreases plaque buildup in mouth
- Increases health of gums
- Increases memory recall
- May decrease the incidence of Alzheimer’s
- Aids with arthritis
- May help lower cholesterol
- Aids in treating multiple sclerosis
- Increased immune system function
- Reduces tumor growth
But what does the FDA say?
However, the FDA is not as sure about the benefits of green tea and does not endorse these claims. There is some thought as to the fact that those that drink green tea may not actually be receiving benefits from the green tea itself, but rather from their lifestyle and habits.
How do you prepare green tea?
If you are interested in trying green tea for yourself, you will want to know that the preparation is different than it would be with traditional black tea. Green tea is more delicate and requires less cooking in order to release the flavor and healthy chemicals.
What you’ll want to do is bring your tea water to a hot temperature, but not so hot that it’s boiling. Take your bag of green tea or your press pot of loose tea and fill it with the hot water, but let it steep only for a few minutes before pulling the beg or pouring the tea into a cup. You need to be careful not to over-steep it, as this can cause a harsh taste.
If you’d like, you can add lemon or honey to the tea to sweeten the flavor, or choose one of the many flavored varieties of the teas in order to have a more fruity or spicy flavor.
How much green tea should you drink per day?
Green tea can be consumed in the place of coffee in the morning or as a pick me up in the afternoon. It is said that three cups each day is the best way to get the maximum purported health benefits.
And since green tea does not include as much caffeine as coffee, it will leave you feeling less jittery than other beverages. However, it does still have caffeine in it, so you need to monitor your drinking habits. There are some decaffeinated versions available, though these tend to have fewer healthy EGCG compounds in them.