Green tea originates from China, where it has been drunk for over 4,000 years. It is made from the leaves of Camelia sinensis and the processing involved should minimise oxidation.
Green tea has been the subject of numerous scientific and medical trials over the last few years which were aimed at establishing its potential health benefits. The claimed medicinal properties of green tea are numerous - you might be forgiven for thinking that it's the latest wonder drug. However, there is some evidence that it can, under certain circumstances, be good for your health.
That may be one reason why it has enjoyed increasing popularity in Western countries where black tea has traditionally been more common.
Green tea is a more powerful antioxidant than black tea. It contains polyphenols which are believed to improve health. Some of the claimed health benefits of green tea include:
- Reduced risk of heart disease.
- Reduced risk of certain types of cancer.
- Reduced blood pressure.
- Prevention of brain cells dying plus restoration of damaged cells.
- Reduction of cholesterol levels (when green tea was combined with theaflavin - found in black tea).
- Reduced likelihood of developing arthritis.
- Helps to increase weight loss when dieting.
Many of these claims are either observational or are made based upon results obtained using animal testing. Some test results have not been replicated in humans and others have simply not been tested yet.
There are few, if any, side effects of drinking green tea. It contains caffeine, just as normal tea and coffee does. Taken in moderation, it should not be a problem.
In 2009, a study by the University of Southern California found that some of the ingredients of green tea could bind with the anti-cancer drug bortezomib and make it ineffective. It is therefore suggested, by the study leader, that patients using this drug avoid drinking green tea or using green tea extracts.
Green tea should be made using water that is relatively cool - in comparison with black tea. Boil the kettle and allow it to stand for two to three minutes before pouring it into the cup. Allow the tea to brew in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions - but generally for no more than 3 minutes. Using water that is too hot, or allowing the tea to brew for too long will result in an unpleasant, bitter drink.
How much tea you should drink in order to obtain the perceived benefits is not well defined. In Asia, the average consumption is estimated at 1.2 litres per day. Some manufacturers recommend drinking as many as 10 cups a day - but increased consumption is clearly something that they would wish to encourage. Most of the studies which have identified health benefits for humans seem to suggest drinking three or four cups daily in order to benefit.
Green Tea Teabags
Amazon Price: $32.26 $20.75 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 28, 2016)