If you follow the latest health benefits, you may have come across a few articles about green tea. Green tea is made from Camellia sinensis leaves. The leaves have not gone through withering like those made in black tea. This tea first came from China. However, the makers of green tea are all over Asia. It is a tea that millions of people drink.
There are many varieties of green tea on the market today. Some are manufactured using nontraditional means to make the tea cheaper. It is best to get the green tea as organic as possible. Green tea is known to have some health benefits. However, research has shown that green tea does not affect your health. Some people have made claims that green tea helped to heal them of some sort of health ailment. However, most people say that green tea has had no real effect on their health.
The Chinese began to drink tea under the leadership of Emperor Shennong. Author Lu Yu wrote a book entitled, “The Classic Tea”. Lu Yu lived and died between the years 618-907 AD. This is one of the most famous books ever written about green tea.
In the year 1211, an author by the name of Eisai. He was a Japanese Buddhist priest that wrote a book entitled, “The Kissa Yojoki”. In this book, the Buddhist priest writes that green tea may influence vital organs. He is also known for bringing green tea to Japan. The book also explains how to grow green tea and his philosophies of the tea.
If you want to make a high-quality green tea, it’s important to brew your tea for short times. The longer green tea is brewed the less quality it will be for you.
- Benefits of Green Tea:
- Green tea is 99.9% water.
- Only one calorie per 100 ml serving.
- May aid in mental alertness.
- Some people say that it helps aid in weight loss.
- Many men and women say that it helps them to prevent cancer. However, this has never been proven in scientific research.
- Green tea does interfere with some drugs and you should ask your doctor if its okay to drink green tea if you are on medication.
- May Help prevent cardiovascular disease.
- May lower fasting blood sugar.
- May lower LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Green tea can be grown in the sun or the shade. It is normally grown 3 times a year. Harvest times are often between April and May; June and July; July to August. The best leaves are grown during the first part of spring.
In Asia the leaves are often prepared by:
- Sun drying.
- Charcoal firing.
- Pan firing.
In Western Culture, the Leaves Are Often Prepared Using:
- Oven Drying
Processed leaves are stored in low humidity temperatures. Since the Southern Song Dynasty, loose leaf green tea has been the most in demand in China. Chinese culture often pans fries the leaves in a wok. In Japan, the leaves are most often steamed. Some general green teas in China include Taiping Houkui, Huangshan Maofeng, Biluochun, Chun Mee and Longjing.
Seeds for tea were first taken to Japan in the ninth century. The seeds were taken to Japan by two monks by the name of Kūkai and Saicho. The Buddhist priest Eisai said that everyone should drink green tea for its health benefits. He was a well-respected monk and people listened to what he said.
The most expensive green tea sold in Japan comes from Uji. It is believed that this is where the seeds were first brought into the country by the Buddhist Priest Eisai. Green tea is the most highly drunk tea in Japan. Usually, only the wealthy people in Japan can afford green tea produced by hand. This is because of the high labor costs that it takes to produce the green tea.
Advantages of Green Tea
Green tea has been used for centuries. It is known to be a tea that is shared by the rich and poor alike. It is known for helping the body to heal from different ailments that arise often in the stomach. It is sometimes used for stomach pains.
Green leaves are dark in color and look like needles. It is produced differently in different cultures. The longer that it takes to prepare the leaves, the better quality you are getting. However, most green tea companies don’t take the time to produce the green tea this way because of the high costs of labor. If you are wealthy, you should try and find a producer that makes their green tea by hand. It costs more, but the quality is much higher.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has never been scientifically proven to heal the body. However, it has been used for centuries in China and is believed to have healing benefits. You can look at green tea like chicken noodle soup in western culture. Many people in the United States believe that chicken noodle soup helps to heal a cold. This has never been proven in a scientific study, but widely passed down from generation to generation.
Types of Tea
- Yellow Tea
- Black Tea
- Oolong Tea
- Dark Tea
- White Tea
- Green Tea
- Puer Tea
Initially, taking green tea was a particular form of medication and not just a way of passing the time or warming one’s body during winter. However, today, green tea is taken for various reasons with different brands being introduced in the market every year. A lot of research has been done to establish and affirm the benefits of the product, yet still, its medicinal value is undoubtedly upheld in both modern and traditional forms of medicine. By the end of this article, you will know the origin of the tea, its common types, and why you should consider making it one of your daily intakes.
The Origin of Green Tea
Several tales try to elaborate on how green tea was discovered. One talks of a flower accidentally falling into a teacup. Another elaborates the story of a man who was eating a leaf which he then found that is sweeter and richer when put in hot water. Either way, the collective aspect of these stories is that green tea originated from China and later spread across Asian countries.
Green tea became more common in China when Emperor Shennong was in power. Several books have been written telling different sides of the origin and importance of tea. These books include Tang Destiny by Lu Yu, Book of Tea by Zen priest Eisai and the Classic of Tea.
What makes green tea different from other forms of tea is the type of plants it is extracted from and the method of brewing. Unlike other forms of tea, green tea does not go through withering or oxidation. In most cases, the leaves or flowers are allowed to dry naturally; then they are grounded with minimum or no additives. The craft was first mastered in Eastern Asia, but it is now practiced in different parts of the world.
Types of Green Tea
There are over twenty types of green tea in today’s market. All vary with taste, extraction, flavor, and use. Here are some of the most common types of green tea:
Chinese Green Tea
- Dragonwell- Also known as Longjing, the Dragonwell is a conventional Chinese tea, made by drying its sword-shaped leaves on a pan. When brewed, it gives a jade green color and has a fresh, mellow aroma.
- Gunpowder- This tea got its name from the process used to make it. Its Moroccan mint tea leaves are hand-shaped into balls that look like gunpowder. It has a smoky flavor, and it’s a bit brisk.
- Yun Wu- Commonly known as cloud and mist, it is smothered in clouds and is commonly found in higher altitudes.
Japanese Green Tea
- Sencha tea: Many forms of green tea have been advanced from this brand. It is directly dried in the sun and finally gives a vegetable cup of delicious grassy tea.
- Twig tea: Also known as Kwicha, it is obtained from twigs, stalks, and stems of remnants from sencha and gyokuro.
- Matcha: Obtained from tencha leaves, matcha is finely grounded and prepared by mixing the tea powder and hot water using a ceramic bowl.
- Tencha: Instead of drying the tencha leaves in the sun to produce matcha, tencha tea is brewed from tencha leaves that have been dried away from light so that it maintains the green color.
- Genmaicha: This is a product of green tea and roasted rice, hence the common name, popcorn tea.
- Hojicha: Unlike other types of tea, hojicha is roasted on top of charcoal instead of steaming. It thus has a black color that resembles black tea.
Most green tea brands these days have a combination of tea leaves and fruit flavors. Common examples include Strawberry green tea lemonade, Passion papaya green tea, Raspberry leaf tea, caramel tea, among others.
Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has both curative and therapeutic features. Here are five benefits associated with taking green tea:
- Health Improvement
During production and brewing of regular types of tea, a lot of nutrients get lost in the process. However, the natural method of producing green tea allows essential nutrients such as vitamins and Epigallocatechin Gallate to remain. EGCG is a powerful component of tea that has been proven to have curative properties. A brand of tea, such as sencha tea is one of the best antioxidant tea.
- Improves the Brain Function
Green tea has a stimulant effect thanks to its primary component, caffeine. Its levels are less than that of coffee, making it any time ideal beverage. Caffeine blocks adenosine in the brain, thus increasing neurons and neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine. Other effects caffeine has on a human’s brain include improving one’s mood, memory, and vigilance. The L-theanine in tea acts as an anti-anxiety component. It also enhances the production of alpha waves and dopamine. When caffeine and L-theanine work together, they improve the functioning of the brain.
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels in the Body
This is one of the most common reasons for green tea intake in this century. Thanks to the ability of green tea to increase the metabolic rate in human beings, it can help in the burning of excess fats, thus reducing cholesterol levels of one’s body. The caffeine in tea has also been proven to increase the physical performance of an individual. This property of the green tea makes it a standard part of meals for anybody who is looking forward to losing weight.
- An Antioxidant
Several studies have revealed that green tea has antioxidant properties, which makes it the type of drink that helps human beings reduce their chances of getting cancer. Oxidative damages produce cancer cells in the body. Research on breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer showed that people who take green tea have a 20 to 30% fewer chances of getting these types of cancer. However, it is good to keep in mind that milk reduces this aspect of green tea. Therefore, concerning the best antioxidant tea, green tea with no milk or cream is a perfect idea.
- It Lowers the Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
This type of diabetes has affected millions of people in the world in the past decade, making it a significant concern in the medical field. It is caused by the increase of blood sugar to uncontrollable levels due to limited or inactive insulin in the body. Green tea has proven to have the ability to increase insulin sensitivity of a victim’s body hence lowering the hazardous levels of blood sugar.
- Lowers the Risk of Getting Cardiovascular Diseases
Taking green tea helps one to reduce LDL and total cholesterol and also prevent LDL cells from oxidation. This consequently lowers one’s chances of getting cardiovascular diseases by about 31%.
It would not be exactly right to call green tea a modern-day miracle. It has been used for the same benefits for decades now, only that it got more popular with time. Taking green tea on a regular basis is right for your health and helps your brain function better. It is however advised that one should make sure that the type of green tea they choose to take is from a trusted brand. The market is filled with counterfeit products that may be harmful to your health. Otherwise, with green tea, say goodbye to a range of lifestyle diseases.