For most of us, after waking up in the morning, the first thing to look forward to would be a good ol’ cup of coffee or tea. The morning beverage kick starts the day like no other. In a country like India, tea is consumed by almost everyone, but the way it is prepared differs from place to place. This impacts the taste, color, and consistency of the final product. Some of the famous types are black tea, oolong tea, white tea, green tea. Milk tea (chai) is the most common variant consumed in India, which is made by boiling CTC tea (crush, tear, curl tea) in water and then adding milk, spices, and sugar. Although all these types of tea are originally from the same plant – Camellia sinensis, green tea is known for providing maximum health benefits. Here, I will list out compelling reasons explaining why it is good to have a cup of green tea every day!
What Is Green Tea?
Unfermented and unoxidized tea leaves are processed and sold as green tea. Tea is consumed worldwide, but there is no doubt about its popularity in the eastern half of the globe. We can trace back the origin of tea consumption back to China. In Asian countries, green tea is consumed widely. There are several variants of green tea, among which Chinese gunpowder and Japanese matcha are very popular. During British rule in China, the English shipped black tea back to their homeland because of better shelf life.
How Is Green Tea Different?
The binomial nomenclature of the tea plant is Camellia sinensis. Its leaves are extracted and used in multiple ways. Usually, the leaves are extracted, fermented, and processed further for the desired product. Oxidation plays an important role in determining the fate of the tea leaves. Oxygen breaks down the cell structure of the leaves resulting in the signature black color.
But green tea leaves do not go through a similar process. As soon as the leaves are plucked (traditionally by hand), the batches will be subjected to heat and dried. Since the oxidation process is minimized, the green tea provides a lighter colored beverage. This also paves the way for the maximum impact on its quality, distinct taste, and numerous health benefits.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Weight loss: It is almost an unsaid rule nowadays in the world of fitness to replace coffee or chai with green tea. This trend started almost a decade ago in India, and to be fair, it is a healthy trend. An important aspect of weight loss is to cut calories and to increase workout. Green tea serves just the right purpose to your objective by improving the body’s fat-burning capability and multiplying the metabolic rate. This doubling effect results in the desired impact of weight loss.
Restores Energy: A hot cup of green tea will provide you with much-needed energy to stay alert and complete your day’s work. Caffeine is an important component of green tea, which is responsible for the energy boost. Caffeine is the same active ingredient in coffee. It is a natural stimulant available in green tea that helps us stay awake by restoring mental alertness. Green tea has less amount of caffeine in it compared to coffee. Still, green tea does the job efficiently without its strong buzz effect.
Antioxidants: We have widely discussed the importance of antioxidants in our previous health blogs, especially our article on dark chocolate. Green tea is a good source of natural antioxidants, especially polyphenols like flavonoids. Catechins are active flavonoids that help in reducing cell damage and treats inflammation.
Insulin Control: Insulin is a hormone in the human body which regulates blood sugar level. Abnormal levels of insulin will lead to diabetes. Green tea is known to stimulate insulin sensitivity and thus keeps blood sugar levels in check. Also, when people try to cut down sugar-filled beverages, green tea can fill in as a healthy alternative.
Good for Heart: Japanese people are some of the healthiest and oldest living population in the world. Their cholesterol levels are spot on – meaning the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) levels are under control, thanks to their regular consumption of green tea. The antioxidants in green tea prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation. This majorly reduces any risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Boosts Brain function: I had mentioned the positive impact of green tea on the human brain when I stated it improves mental alertness. But apart from the temporary improvement, green tea also has amino acids like theanine. Theanine helps in treating anxiety and stabilizes the thought process. Regular consumption of green tea results in improved focus, mindset, and memory.
Oral Hygiene: We all are aware of yellow teeth caused by the habit of drinking coffee. But fortunately, drinking green tea is beneficial to our oral hygiene. The discoloration of the teeth might be caused due to several reasons, but bacterial buildup in our mouth without regular mouth wash and brushing is one of the main reasons. Left unnoticed and uncared, the discoloration will turn into plaques and finally might result in tooth decay. Green tea has active ingredients like catechins, which will inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria. With green tea, we will have a bright smile, but of course, do not forget to brush your teeth!
Green tea definitely is a healthier alternative beverage that you can consume multiple times daily. Beware, the method of preparing green tea impacts its health benefits. For instance, boiling green tea for a longer time than required would alter the structure of the antioxidants in it, rendering them useless. Also, over-brewing green tea will result in a bitter concoction. Always prepare the green tea as prescribed, develop a regular habit of consuming green tea, and enjoy a healthy, blessed life.