What is Green Tea
Green tea is a product made from the Camellia sinensis plant that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. It is not fermented like black tea.
It originated in China, but it has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. It has recently become relatively widespread in the West.
Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants.
Why Green Tea
The mean content of flavonoids in a cup of green tea is higher than that in the same volume of other food and drink items such as fresh fruits, vegetable juices or wine.
Flavonoids are a group of phytochemicals present in most plant products that are responsible for health benefits such as anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic functions.
These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in aging and all sorts of diseases.
One of the most powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.
Green tea contains a variety of enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, sterols, related compounds, phytochemicals, and dietary minerals. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine which is able to cross the blood brain barrier.
It can be prepared as a beverage, which can have some health effects. An extract also can be made from the leaves to use as medicine.
Green Tea Health Benefits
- It is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants and hence reduces the risk of various types of cancer
- It improves brain function and helps to protect the brain in old age
- Helps in lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson’s disease
- Improves dental health and lowers the risk of infection
- Helps in reducing blood sugar levels and thereby control Type II diabetes
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Helps in weight loss
- Increases fat burning and improves physical performance
- Helps in relaxation
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and increases the levels of good cholesterol
- Helps with wrinkles and signs of ageing because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; reduces sun damage when applied topically
- Improves mental alertness and thinking
- Treat stomach disorders, vomiting, diarrhoea, osteoporosis, headaches
- Used for Crohn's disease, kidney stones and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Green tea bags decrease puffiness under the eyes
- Green tea in candy is used for gum disease
- Used in an ointment for genital warts
- Thus it helps to live longer by protecting against many diseases
The useful parts of green tea are the leaf bud, leaf and stem.
Recommended dosage is 3-5 cups daily. More than 5 cups is unsafe due to the presence of caffeine in it. The fatal dose of caffeine in green tea is estimated to be 10-14 grams (150-200 mg per kilogram). Those who are sensitive to caffeine should not take more than one cup.
Green tea is possibly safe for people for short-term use. In some people, side effects like stomach and constipation may be observed.
Too much green tea may cause adverse effects like dizziness, headache, nervousness, irregular heartbeats, etc.
During pregnancy and breast feeding, consuming green tea should be limited upto 2 cups a day. Increase in amount has been linked to increased risk of miscarriage and other negative effects. During breast feeding consuming more green tea can affect the infant.
Green tea contains caffeine and it also reduces absorption of iron from food. Hence it should be less consumed if one has anaemia, anxiety, high blood pressure, weak bones, liver disease, glaucoma, irritable bowel syndrome and bleeding disorders.