What is Green Tea?
Green tea is a type of tea made from the leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). It's an evergreen shrub that originated in the southwest forest region of China. Specifically, green tea comes from the Chinese tea plant (Camellia sinensis sinensis). It thrives in high elevations with cool temperatures and has a sweeter, softer taste than the other tea plant varietal (Camellia sinensis assamica), which is used primarily for black teas. Japan and China dominate green tea production.
All tea leaves are harvested by hand. With green tea, the leaves are preserved with heat immediately after harvest, whereas black tea leaves are left to oxidize before they're dried. In Japan, green tea is dried with steam, while Chinese green teas are processed with dry heat using an oven like drum or woklike vessel. Most green tea is comprised of the tea leaves alone. Some Japanese types use only stems or combine them with the leaves.
There are several types of green tea available, varying in the way the tea is processed. The taste differs with the specific type, though it's generally softer and sweeter than black tea. Japanese green teas are notable for a strong vegetal flavor that's grassy and reminiscent of seaweed, with citrus notes. Chinese green teas tend to have a mellow vegetal flavor, a little more sweetness, and nutty, floral, woody, and vanilla notes. Ginseng green teas are light, Sweet, Refreshing Green Tea That's Pleasantly Bittersweet With Notes Of Dried Ginger!
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7 Health Benefits of Green Tea
Brain Function and Aging
Green tea's moderate caffeine level is a stimulant that may improve focus, concentration, and quick thinking, as well as provide a mood boost. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which may reduce anxiety and caffeine jitters. Studies have associated drinking green tea regularly to a longer life and hint that it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.
Caffeine affects the brain by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. This way, it increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine
Metabolism and Body Weight
Tea is a calorie-free beverage, so it may help maintain a healthy weight. Replacing high-calorie drinks with green tea may aid in weight loss. Additionally, studies have noted that green tea may boost the body's metabolic rate and help burn fat.
In one study involving 10 healthy men, taking green tea extract increased the number of calories burned by 4%. In another involving 12 healthy men, green tea extract increased fat oxidation by 17%, compared with those taking a placebo.
Green tea is at the center of hundreds of cancer prevention and treatment studies. Many point to tea's catechins (flavonoids), which are natural antioxidants and may affect tumor formation in some types of cancer.
- Breast cancer. A comprehensive review of observational studies found that women who drank the most green tea had an approximately 20–30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, one of the most common cancers in women.
- Prostate cancer. One study observed that men drinking green tea had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer.
- Colorectal cancer. An analysis of 29 studies showed that those drinking green tea were around 42% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Heart health is another common area of study for all teas. It's believed that regularly drinking tea may lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce the risks of heart disease or stroke.
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
As long as you don't add it, green tea is naturally sugar free, so it's a good beverage for people with diabetes. Some studies point to the possibility that green tea may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels.
Another study in Japanese adults from 23 communities followed over 14,000 healthy people for five years. Scientists found that the consumption of green tea was inversely associated with the risk of developing diabetes, even after adjusting the data for age, sex, body mass index, and other risk factors. In other words, there is something about green tea that is itself protective.
Skin and Tooth Health
Green tea's catechins may help with tooth health by killing bacteria. Its antioxidants are thought to be good for maintaining healthy skin and particularly signs of aging.
Research shows that polyphenols in green tea protect skin from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) light. This helps prevent the acceleration of aging, in addition to offering cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory benefits. Green tea compounds also help defend against wrinkles, due to their ability to prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastic fibers, which in turn forestall the loss of skin elasticity.
While several studies have shown that a higher consumption of green tea leads to lower levels of depression in elderly individuals, more human trials are needed to determine the way green tea influences depressive symptoms. In one study on mice, green tea polyphenols were shown to have antidepressant-like effects, suggesting that the same could be true in humans.