That hot cup of green tea after a tiring day is really soothing. There is a kind of solace with each sip that makes you feel that you have a made a smarter choice among beverages. More than just being used as a beverage; green tea has been welcomed as a health drink. Declaring with an exclamation that “ Yeah! I have switched over to green tea from the black one” is becoming a status quotient of being health conscious.
Well, have we ever thought or tried to analyze what is green tea all about? Why it is being hailed as one of the healthiest tea we can have? And how far it has been proved to be so?
Starting from China, India, and then other Asian countries and now around the world, green tea has occupied an elite position among beverages. According to history, green tea was first brewed in China in 2737 BC. Traditionally, green tea has been used in India and China to control bleeding and healing wounds as well as aid digestion.
Green tea is made from un-oxidized leaves of Camellia sinensis and is one of the least processed types of tea. This feature adds to its remarkable retaining of antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols. For preparing green tea, the leaves are brewed by adding two grams of tea per 100 ml of hot water. Green tea is available in single tea bags, as loose leaves and as instant powder. Depending upon processing and time of harvest, several varieties of green tea exist.
We come across a number of advertisements hailing green tea as a healthier option in diet nowadays. However the interesting fact is that vivid evidences for proven benefits in humans, on consumption of green tea are not in plenty.
It is a fact that green tea is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants. These reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells from damage due to diseases. The presence of a prominent compound in green tea, the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate, owes to its medicinal properties. Green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate. Observational studies show that green tea drinkers are significantly less prone to various types of cancer, due to the presence of antioxidants. As studies indicate, the bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons, thus reducing the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders. Green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, also reducing the risk of developing type II diabetes in the long term.
Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation thereby lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
So undoubtedly, green tea becomes a healthier choice over other beverages, though consumed in large amounts can do more harm than good. People with severe caffeine sensitivities may suffer from anxiety, irritability, insomnia, nausea or upset stomach on consuming excessive doses of green tea.