The popularity of green teas increased substantially in recent years. You can find bottled green tea in the supermarket now. What was once a specialty drink known only to people who embrace tea as something of a passion, green tea is now a feature in cafes and restaurants. What is perhaps surprising to some is that the benefits of green tea go far beyond its refreshing taste.
The benefits of green tea have been known in Asian cultures for centuries. Green tea has existed in some countries more as a natural medicine than a simple hot drink. In Asian cultures, the benefits of green tea are so well-known that it is part of the fabric of daily life.
Green tea can offer the same wake-up effects as coffee or black tea. Many of us have already switched to green tea for this reason. But the benefits of green tea are many. From weight loss to improved brain function, green tea is something of a miracle of nature. Part of the beauty of the benefits of green tea is that it is so simple and widely available.
What exactly is green tea? What are the benefits of green tea? What do I need to know about green tea? These are the basic questions we will explore in this guide. We will provide you with all you need to know about the facts about green tea and the benefits of green tea.
What is green tea?
Green tea originated in China and dates back to the 12th century. It is now cultivated around the world—even in the southern parts of the United States. While green tea was originally one specific variety of tea, there are now multiple varieties of green tea plants, each with their own flavor palate.
It may come as a surprise to some that green tea and black tea come from the same origin. The type of plant and the processing methods are what distinguishes the two. There are two primary types of tea of this type.
Camellia Sinensis Assamica: This plant is native to India. It thrives in warm, sub-tropical regions. This variety is used to make black teas.
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis: This is a small-leafed variety that can grow in cooler, drier climates. It thrives in mountainous regions. This is the type sued to make green tea
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis is harvested and dried quickly by heating it or steaming it. It is then quickly dried to preserve the green leaves and prevent them from turning brown. This process preserves the fresh-picked flavor that is a signature feature of green tea. This also prevents the oxidation that would diminish the health benefits of green tea.
A brewed green tea ranges from a distinctly green color to yellow, or even light brown. It can have a grass-like flavor or range to a sweet sea-weed flavor. Ideally, brewed green tea should appear light in color and should be too pungent on the palate.
Green tea nutrition facts
An 8-ounce cup of green tea as about 2 calories, zero carbs, and sugars, it has no sodium. The benefits of green tea come from its chemical makeup rather than its nutritional value.
Green tea health benefits
The real benefits of green tea come from the various chemical agents present in the brewed tea. Many of these natural chemicals provide real boosts to our bodies and our minds.
Green tea is rich in polyphenols. These are complex chemicals that can reduce inflammation and fight cancer.
Specifically, green tea contains catechins, powerful antioxidants that repair cells, minimize the damage from free radicals, and other benefits. Catechins actively protect cells from damage by binding and eliminating free radicals, the destructive chemicals introduced in our system from a variety of sources.
One catechin in particular, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is prevalent in green tea.
EGCG has been thoroughly researched and known to be one of the most powerful catechins for fighting the dangers of free radicals and reducing your risk of cancer.
Improves brain function
Green tea contains caffeine. It does not have quite as much as coffee, but green tea will definitely keep you alert. Caffeine also blocks a specific type of neurotransmitter called adenosine that inhibits the way the brain fires information. Caffeine from green tea enhances neurotransmitter function.
Studies have also shown that the bioactive ingredients in green tea can enhance your mood, reaction time, and memory. This is due to the other chemical constituents in green tea.
One of these chemicals is an amino acid called L-theanine which enhances a neurotransmitter. This has the effect of reducing anxiety. L-theanine also increases the production of dopamine which naturally calms you down.
What is more, research shows that L-theanine has a synergistic effect with other neurotransmitters that improve brain function.
Natural fat burner
If you have taken a look at the label of natural fat burner supplements you have already noticed green tea is a major ingredient. This is because green tea on its own works as a fat burner by naturally increasing your metabolic rate.
One study involving healthy men showed that green tea increased the amount of fat they burned during exercise by 4 percent. Another study, also with healthy men, showed increases in fat oxidation by as much as 17 percent.
The chemical features of green tea increase metabolism. When this effect is combined with the natural effects of caffeine present in green tea, the results are even more pronounced.
Cancer researchers have long understood that chronic inflammation can lead to oxidative damage to body tissues, and this is a major cause of some forms of cancer.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in green tea work to reduce the risk of cancer. Research shows green tea and significantly reduce your risk of developing specific types of cancer:
Breast cancer. Studies show that women who regularly drink green tea lowered their risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 30 percent.
Prostate cancer. One study showed that green tea drastically reduced the chance of developing prostate cancer.
Colorectal cancer. A meta-analysis of 29 separate studies showed that drinking green tea reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 42 percent.
As a helpful tip: do not add milk to your green tea since this appears to reduce the available antioxidants and anti-inflammatories available in green tea.
Helps the brain
Green tea has long been known to improve brain functions, but it is becoming increasingly clear that green tea can protect your brain from aging.
Studies are beginning to reveal that green tea can protect against neurodegenerative damage that comes with aging and some brain diseases. In fact, green tea may help protect against the neurodegenerative damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Fights type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels that are due to a resistance to insulin or an inability to produce insulin.
Recent research has shown that green tea has chemical components that can improve insulin sensitivity in patients living with type 2 diabetes. One study showed that people who regularly drink green tea had a 42 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Types of green tea
There are two basic types of green tea. However, these two types break down into multiple varieties.
Chinese green tea
Chinese green tea is often called pan-fried. It is dried in a pan or in baskets to stop the oxidation process. These come in the following types.
- Dragonwell: A smooth, flat, sword-shaped appearance and pan-fried toastie taste give this tea its characteristic look and flavor no other green tea-producing region has been able to duplicate. It is considered a classic pan-fried Chinese green tea.
- Gunpowder: Fired in perforated metal tumblers that toss the leaves around in a figure-eight pattern Gunpowder tea takes its name from the pellet-like shape of the finished leaf.
Japanese green tea
Japanese green tea is heated with steam to stop the oxidation process. This produces subtly different flavor profiles. The types of Japanese green teas are:
- Sencha: Sencha makes up more than 80 percent of the tea produced in Japan and is the most popular tea drunk in households and restaurants throughout the country. It is made from tea leaves that are steamed then typically rolled into long, skinny strands.
- Hojicha: Sencha is roasted over high heat to produce Hojicha, a tea with a roasted, nutty flavor. The application of high heat also helps reduce the tea’s caffeine content.
- Genmaicha: A blend of Sencha and roasted and popped rice, Genmaicha is a toasty tasting treat that is a popular tea to serve with food.
- Gyokuro: The tea leaves are shaded during the last few weeks before plucking to intensify the color and flavor of the tea that will become Gyokoro. During processing, it is rolled into its characteristic thin needle-like shape. Gyokuro is considered to be Japan’s most treasured tea.
- Matcha: Shade-grown like Gyokoro, the tea leaves that make Matcha are ground into a powder instead of shaped and rolled. Matcha is key to Japanese tea ceremonies and has become a very popular ingredient for cooking.
While all green teas will provide the health benefits detailed above, each variety will provide a different flavor profile.
Drinking green tea every day
Including green tea in your diet is as simple as brewing a pot of tea every day. That said, it is possible to get complicated with brewing green tea. It is really a matter of how involved you want to get.
To drink green tea every day, here are some things to consider:
- Use fresh, cold, filtered water.
- The ideal water temperature for brewing green tea is 160-180 degrees. Don’s scorch the tea or it will turn bitter.
- If you do not have an electric kettle, just let you boil water from a tea kettle to rest a few minutes.
- Use about 2 grams of loose-leaf tea for an 8-ounce cup.
- For more delicate specialty teas, let steep 30-60 seconds. For most store-bought teas, 2 to 3 minutes will work.
- Most green teas can hold up to a second step, so don’t waste your tea by throwing it away after one pot.
- Green tea will hold up to milk and sugar. Just remember that green tea is a delicate flavor and can easily get lost in too much milk and sugar.
Side effects of green tea
Green tea is widely considered to be safe. As a natural beverage, green tea generally does not cause any problems.
If you are taking high quantities of green tea extract you can experience nausea, stomach upset, and digestive problems. The excess caffeine from taking too much green tea can also cause anxiety.
Green Tea FAQs
What is green tea? Green tea is simply a variety of Assam tea native to Asia. It is prepared differently than black tea and produces a unique flavor profile and has different health benefits.
Are there health benefits from green tea? Yes. Green tea can help you lose weight, fight cancer and heart disease, help fight diabetes, and may help fight neurodegenerative disorders.
Are there different kinds of green tea? There are two main types of green tea. These are then broken into different varieties. Each has its own unique flavor profile, but all provide health benefits.
How do I include green tea in my diet? This is as simple as brewing tea in a pot. Just get used to the ways of brewing green tea and you will make green tea part of your daily rituals. You can also take green tea extract in the form of a supplement.
The best supplement available for including green tea in your supplement arsenal is Natural Burn from NF Sports.
We all want to finally take control of our weight, but we're bombarded with constantly changing diet trends and synthetic products when we look for ways to do so. But we can all agree that the best way to achieve our goals is the most natural way. At NF Sports we believe in creating supplements with natural ingredients that are backed by science to help you achieve your goals. That's why Natural Burn forgoes using high amounts of synthetic caffeine that can cause crashing in favor of natural caffeine sources like green coffee bean and green tea. In Natural Burn you will find herbal extracts to support your weight management goals via healthy energy levels, promoting a healthy stress response, appetite control, and calorie burning
We tend to think of weight loss and exercise supplements as synthetic chemicals that come with the danger of side effects. The reality is that there are plenty of supplements that come in natural and healthy forms. One of the healthiest supplements available is green tea.
Green tea can help you lose weight. It has the potential to fight cancer and diabetes. And green tea is delicious. It also has the caffeine for a morning pep that so many of us like.
Getting started with green tea is incredibly easy. You can buy green tea at your supermarket or in specialty tea shops. Treat yourself and buy loose-leaf tea and a teapot to make the best cup of green tea possible.
You can also get all the benefits of green tea in a supplement from NF Sports. Natural Burn included green tea extract, among other natural ingredients, for a safe and effective natural fat burner.