Green Tea: The Complete Guide
Green tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world alongside black tea. It's widely recognized for its medicinal properties and its 'calming and refreshing' effect when you drink it. There are many uses and benefits that you can get by consuming green tea, and in this article, you're going to read all about it! This type of beverage has a fascinating story that dates back thousands of years; while it was discovered in China, it's now produced in many countries worldwide, but it's more popular in southeast Asian regions.
The History of Green Tea
Green tea was actually discovered by accident! This beverage originated around the year 2737 B.C. Around that time, the Chinese Emperor 'Shennong,' which is now a popular being in Chinese culture nowadays. The Emperor was drinking a cup of hot water during one of his many travels around the region. When he was drinking it, some tea leaves fell into the cup without him noticing. When he drank the cup, he found that the taste was extremely refreshing, so he asked his convoy to keep preparing it for him, and thus, green tea was born.
At first, green tea was only available for the wealthy Chinese society since it was costly. Green tea was made available for the general public around the 14th century when it got a more affordable price. By the fifth century, drinking green tea was considered a ceremony among the Chinese, becoming a vital part of their social life. At this same time, the first book about green tea was written by Lu Yu, which spent most of his life brewing and serving tea, developing many skills that he wanted to show in his book. The book is called "The Classic of Tea."
Around the 19th century, green tea got discovered by European explorers. When its refreshing flavor was discovered, it traveled to Great Britain, becoming its national beverage. Green tea arrived in America shortly after, also becoming a very popular beverage there. It was so popular that the Parliament ended up imposing a Tea Tax around the year 1767.
When green tea was becoming popular in America, it was also known as 'Bullet tea.' This is because the tea leaves looked like the shape of bullets when they were shipped. Green tea's popularity has increased amazingly over the decades, and it's now one of the most popular beverages and dietary supplements around the world. You can find it in a wide variety of types and products that provide the characteristic refreshing flavor.
Over the last few decades, green tea was also discovered to have antioxidant properties, which are believed to provide medicinal benefits to the person who drinks it. While not every single benefit has been thoroughly studied, some people notice positive health results after drinking green tea.
Over the years, green tea was acknowledged as one of the world's healthiest beverages, so it's no surprise that most people want to drink it to enjoy its benefits! The reason it's considered a healthy beverage; it's because the tea leaves are full of antioxidants, which have proven to provide a lot of health benefits to the user.
Some of the most common benefits that you may enjoy from green tea are:
• Fat loss.
• Reduced risk of heart problems.
• Better brain function.
Green tea is healthy because it contains polyphenol antioxidants, which are natural anti-inflammatories. On the other hand, it also has epigallocatechin-3-gallate (Also known as EGCG), which helps avoid cell damage. Combining all those components, you are greeted with many health benefits that you're going to see below:
Fat Loss / Heart Health
While it has not been thoroughly studied, green tea is believed to increase the fat burning process in your metabolism, causing weight loss in the short term. However, keep in mind that not all studies have come to the same conclusions, so its benefits still need to be studied further to provide a more accurate conclusion. Some studies have shown that green tea may have the ability to lower the total and LDL cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, green tea protects the LDL particles thanks to its antioxidant properties, which also reduces the risk of heart problems.
Better Brain Function
Green tea is a natural stimulant. It includes an active ingredient known as caffeine. While it doesn't contain the same amount as coffee, it provides enough stimulant effects that boost your concentration levels. Green tea also contains the L-theanine amino acid, which also helps to improve brain function.
While green tea isn't going to make you live longer by itself, it can protect your brain against some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. This can significantly make you live a healthier life.
Green tea is also believed to have some benefits, such as the reduced risk of cancer, good breath, prevention of type-2 diabetes, etc.
How to Make Green Tea
There are three main methods to make green tea: With leaves, tea bags, and tea powder.
This method involves boiling a cup of water to about 80 degrees. After the water is hot enough, you pour it into a cup with green tea leaves, and let it rest for a couple of minutes. After you find the right flavor for you, you allow the cup cool down for a bit, and you're done.
This is – by far - the easiest method to make green tea. After you buy your tea bags, all you have to do is to boil a water cup until it reaches an adequate temperature. After the cup is hot enough, you have to put the tea bag inside the cup and let it rest for a couple of minutes. After you're done, stir the cup with a small spoon, and you're done.
In this method, you have to add the tea powder to a hot cup of water, and let it rest until the drink's color is brown. After it reaches that state, you can add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten the flavor.
Keep in mind that green tea is usually very hot, so the right way to drink it is by taking small sips from time to time.
Types of Green Tea
There are a lot of types of green tea. Each one has a slightly different method of preparation and flavor, but they essentially provide the same benefits. Here are some of the most popular types of green tea.
• Fukamushi Sencha
The most popular types of green tea among the ones mentioned above are the Sencha and the Fukamushi Sencha. These make up about 75% of the green tea produced in China. The flavor in these green tea types is mildly sweet, and they're prepared by steaming and rolling the leaves to produce the tea. The difference between the two is that the Fukamushi Sencha's leaves are steamed for about twice as long, which gives a stronger taste and color.
Native to India and China, green tea has been consumed all around the world for centuries. Just like black tea, green tea is brewed from the dried leaves of the Camellia Sinensis bush - the difference is that green tea is made of unoxidized leaves, making it less processed. Also known as the Ancestral Puebloans who built Mesa Verde, the Anasazi Indians of the American Southwest made a tea from ephredra, aka Mormon Tea. The Anasazi in Chaco Canyon used this tonic for medicinal purposes, and likely in ceremonies in their underground kivas.
Not only less processing results in unique, fresh taste of green tea, but it also means that the beverage is much higher in beneficial nutrients. Green tea is often deemed ”the healthiest beverage on the planet”, and while scientists tend to be humbler, many amazing health benefits of green tea are backed up by extensive research.
Today, we’d like to discuss some of the proven benefits of green tea!
As we’ve mentioned before, compared to some other types of tea, green tea remains largely unprocessed when it gets to your cup - which results in a large proportion of beneficial bioactive compounds making it to the final beverage. For instance, green tea is very high in various polyphenols, such as flavonoids and catechins, which are powerful natural antioxidants. One of the main roles of antioxidants in the body is to limit the formation of harmful free radicals, protecting every cell and molecule from potentially irreparable damage.
As a result, drinking green tea may help slow down the aging and protect from damaging environmental factors! Some studies even show that consuming green tea may help protect against cancer, as oxidative stress is a well-known factor in cancer development and antioxidants help keep it at bay. Green tea won’t cure cancer that is already present, however - so if that’s the case, please rely on medical advice.
Green tea and the brain
Like all non-herbal teas, green tea contains caffeine, which is a powerful natural stimulant. There is less caffeine in green tea than in coffee, which is actually a good thing - it’s just enough to deliver the “buzz” without making you hyperactive and jittery. Caffeine works by increasing the efficiency of communication between nerve cells - neurons - thus helping improve various aspects of cognitive functioning such as concentration, mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory. There’s more to green tea than just caffeine though, as it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which helps reduce anxiety whilst also enhancing the beneficial effects of caffeine.
Bottom line: green tea is incredible for your brain!
Say no to infections
Green tea contains catechins - powerful antibacterial agents that can also inhibit viruses such as influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections. In particular, catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of Streptococcus Mutans, the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. As a result, regular green tea consumption promotes better dental health and reduces the need for expensive dental treatments. As a bonus, as “bad breath” is often caused by harmful bacteria overgrowth in the mouth, green tea may help with that too!
Although green tea may not be a panacea from every single condition known to humanity, consuming it regularly may help improve your moods, lower the risk of chronic disease and promote general health and wellbeing! If you enjoy the taste of this amazing beverage, consider making green tea a regular part of your life - you will not regret it!
By now, we've learned the following things about green tea:
• It was discovered thousands of years ago by accident.
• It provides many health benefits.
• There are three main ways to prepare it.
• There are over 10 different types of green tea available.