February 20, 2019

What is Green Tea

Green tea is known for thousands of years as one of the healthiest beverages of all time. As a matter of fact, next to water, tea is the second drink that is widely consumed and enjoyed across the world, primarily in the Asian region specifically countries like China and Japan. It has high levels of antioxidants and essential nutrients that help promote overall health and wellbeing.

Aside from the soothing drink it offers, green tea is well-known for its therapeutic properties since it has the highest polyphenol content which acts as powerful antioxidants among the different varieties of tea. The beneficial effects of green tea are largely attributed to its polyphenol levels or micronutrients that effectively protect the body against oxidative stress. 

Since ancient times to the present day, green tea is essential in rituals and tea ceremonies and as an aide to heal different ailments such as stomach problems, high cholesterol and bacterial infections. Green tea is consumed as a beverage but can also be in the form of liquid extracts, capsules, tablets and sometimes used in topical products. 

Read and find out about the amazing health benefits you can get from drinking or taking green tea.


History and Origin 

Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The different varieties of tea such as white tea, oolong tea, black tea also came from the same plant that the green tea was derived, the only difference is the degree of oxidation and the processing method that creates the different types of tea available in the market. For the green tea drink, the leaves are unoxidized, unfermented and are lightly steamed the reason why it is called green tea is because of the emerald green colour it produces when brewing.

The use of tea leaves originated in China more than 3,000 years ago. First, it was used by people just for chewing and eating. Then it developed and expanded as people used tea tree leaves for cooking, then was later added to boiling water to flavour the water they consume.

Archaeological evidence suggests that tea leaves soaked in boiling water were consumed thousands of years ago. While a discovery has found the world’s oldest tea buried in a 2,200-year-old Chinese tomb which belongs to Chinese Emperor Jing Di of the Han Dynasty. China and India were among the first countries to cultivate tea.

Today, it has been estimated that about 2.5 million tons are produced annually with China being the world’s largest producer of green tea, providing 80% of the world’s green tea market.


Green Tea's Nutritional Value 

Green tea is composed of important trace minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that the body needs, which could help in the overall health and wellbeing. Scientists discovered that the therapeutic properties of green tea come from its big three essential components. These are polyphenols, theanine and caffeine.

  • Polyphenols

Polyphenol is the largest chemical compound in green tea. It includes catechins that is the major group of polyphenols found in green tea which include epicatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin and epigallocatechine-3-gallate. They are natural antioxidants which help prevent cell damage, promotes metabolism, brain health, normalizes blood cholesterol and boosts immunity.

  • L-theanine

Theanine is an amino acid that can only be found in tea leaves which promotes relaxation without the drowsy feeling. People take L-theanine supplements to ease stress levels, control blood pressure levels, increase focus and boost their immunity.

  • Caffeine

Is a chemical compound that can be found in coffee and tea that can stimulate the central nervous system causing an increase in alertness, focus and body stamina. It can also decrease feelings of tiredness and drowsiness.

  • Minerals

Green tea contains essential trace minerals with potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus having the greater amount. It also contains manganese, zinc. copper and iron in lesser amounts. These minerals will help your organs and body to function properly.  

  • Vitamins

Green tea is fully loaded with vitamins, which include Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folic Acid that possess different benefits for your health such as repairing tissues, assists in blood circulation, boost your immunity system to reduce risks of having infection and diseases.


Health Benefits 

1. Skin and Hair Health. Since green tea contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, it can improve skin by reducing acne spots and fighting early signs of ageing through decreasing wrinkle appearances and fine lines. When it comes to hair and scalp health, green tea is effective for improving your scalp and hair conditions through fighting dandruff and promoting hair regrowth. You can use Sukin Renewing Body Scrub with Green Tea & Jojoba 200ml for a healthy and glowing complexion. 

2. Lowers Cholesterol and Glucose Levels. It may effectively lower bad cholesterol while increasing your good cholesterol levels or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It may also improve your blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity which can reduce your risk of having type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome which can lead to heart diseases and stroke attacks. You can use Kytos Choletos Cholesterol Balance 30 Tablets in maintaining your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. 

3. Cardiovascular Health. Due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea, it may help prevent atherosclerosis, specifically coronary artery disease (CAD). Researchers concluded that the daily consumption of one cup of green tea can be associated with lowered risk or having cardiovascular disease and decreasing your chances of developing CAD by 10%. You can use Oriental Botanicals AntiOxid 8 50 Tablets with Resveratrol and Green Tea to support your cardiovascular health. 

4. Arthritis Relief.  Green tea consists of polyphenols of micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants that effectively reduces inflammation of joints and can prevent your cartilage from breaking. Studies also prove that a compound in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) can bring arthritis relief, may treat rheumatoid arthritis and increase bone density. 

5. Detoxification. Helps in promoting detoxification as it supports your body’s proper detox system and process. Since green tea is a rich source of antioxidants, it releases free radicals in your body and can help cleanse and protect your liver and kidneys from the damaging effects of toxic substances like alcohol. It can also prevent you from liver and kidney disorders.

6. Brain Health.  Green tea contains caffeine that can boost your brain power and increase alertness and focus. It also improves your cognitive function and prevents you from acquiring age-related brain and memory impairment. Studies also show that green tea antioxidants can prevent stress-related brain ageing and reduces the risk of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease.

7. Oral and Dental Health.  Studies show that regular drinking of tea can help improve your oral and dental health as it helps prevent plaque buildup, gum disease and bad breath. Green tea contains compounds that can kill bacteria associated with various oral health problems, therefore promoting healthy teeth and gums and preventing you from tooth loss.

8. Aids Digestion.  It may assist with healthy weight management and helps if you want to reduce weight. Green tea contains anti-inflammatory properties that can aid and help with your digestive health, reducing your risk of having inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Green tea reduces intestinal gas and soothes your digestive tract because of the catechins that break down proteins in the stomach. For weight management, you can use Oriental Botanicals Weight Burn 60 Tablets

9. Immunity Boost. Green tea contains disease-fighting flavonoids and polyphenols that can effectively help in enhancing your body's antioxidant defences, as well as, increasing your energy levels and promoting a healthier immune system. Studies have found that one of the polyphenols found in green tea called catechins may kill influenza viruses. 

10. Longer Life. Since green tea contains high levels of antioxidants and nutrients, it can promote longer life span and a healthier lifestyle. A Japanese study shows that people who are drinking at least 2 cups of green tea each day have a lower risk of death since it helps improve their heart and overall health, therefore, reducing chances of having strokes, heart attacks and other kinds of diseases.


Dosage and Duration 

Remember that natural substances are not always safe and require proper usage, that is why it is important to always read the label and follow directions. Also, before taking any kinds of medicines, consult your healthcare provider to avoid overdose and adverse side effects.

Children. Green tea is not recommended at this time for paediatric populations and it might cause adverse side effects when taken. Also, researchers say that it can interfere with iron absorption and can cause hyperactivity due to the caffeine content.  

Adult. As a dietary supplement, it is advised to take 1 capsule a day after breakfast or as advised by your healthcare professional. For drinking tea, it is recommended to take 3 to 5 cups a day while for green tea extracts, the advisable dosage is 300 to 400 mg per day.  


Precautions and Interactions. 

Children and Pregnant Women. Keep out of reach of children for it may cause serious side effects when not properly administered. Green tea is not advised for paediatric populations. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should consult your healthcare professional before taking green tea supplements. 

Caffeine Overdose. Since green tea contains high levels of caffeine. Excessive caffeine intake can pose serious side effects such as irregular heartbeat, nervousness, insomnia and anxiety. People who are caffeine-intolerant are advised not to drink tea since they can experience adverse effects even with little amount of caffeine. 

Anticoagulants. Green tea should not be taken with anticoagulants or blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, apixaban, edoxaban that prevent blood clots because it contains vitamin K which can make these kinds of drugs ineffective.

Iron Supplements. Green tea has tannins that inhibit the absorption of iron and folic acid, so it is advisable not to drink green tea or take green tea supplements together with iron and folic acid supplements. People who are also anaemic should be careful in drinking tea or taking green tea supplements.


BBC Good Food
Dr. Axe

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