Green tea is something which was native to India and China. But now, it is being consumed and taken in the world over for its health benefits. As many as 2.54 million tons of tea leaves are produced throughout the world with 20% of them belonging to green tea category.
Green tea is a type of tea made from Camellia sinensis leaves. Today, we have several different types of green tea. They vary because of the time of harvest, growing conditions, as well as horticultural methods being used.
In 600 AD, Lu Yu wrote the most important book in China, yes you guessed it right, Tea! The book was Cha Jing, or Tea Classic. The procedure of making the right cup of green tea was detailed as well as how to serve it. Talk about perfectionism!
Initially, it was used just for chewing and eating. This was the same as people eating coffee beans directly in Ethiopia. Over time, its usage extended as people started to use it in cooking. They also began to add boiling water to flavor the water they were drinking.
Different forms of green tea were introduced. Did you know black tea is a fermented version of green tea and oolong tea is semi-fermented and both came much later after it’s arrival!
Green tea has much to owe to the Japanese too as they introduced quite a lot of variations in green tea and these variations are still enjoyed today. While we may think it is a tea and can be brewed in the same way as other teas, well methods differ. Lower-quality tea has to be steeped hotter and for longer while higher quality tea can be steeped for shorter amount and cooler too. Also, you should remember that steeping for too long or steeping too hot can lead to the release of an excessive amount of tannins which can result in a bitter, stringent brew.
How Green Tea helps in Weight Loss
Consuming green tea extract can boost metabolism and help in burning fat. A study also found that a combination of green tea and caffeine helped overweight people to reduce weight. On a high-fat diet, it was observed that decaffeinated green tea extract, as well as exercise, immensely contributed to body weight reduction. This study was conducted by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences who formed an opinion that the same results can also be achieved in humans. According to another study, it was noticed that catechins in green tea had a small positive effect on weight loss and weight maintenance. It also suggested that habitual coffee intake as well as ethnicity can be a moderator and can influence the effect of catechins on the body.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you should drink around 2 to 3 cups of green tea per day. This is because this much of green tea comprises of the amount of caffeine and catechins required for achieving the desired level of weight loss. It depends on how you brew the tea. A cup of green tea usually has about 120 to 320 milligrams of catechins and 10 to 60 milligrams of caffeine.
According to another study, it was observed that acute green tea extract ingestion can increase fat oxidation when you are doing moderate-intensity exercise. This means that you need to complement the green tea with exercise as well as a proper diet regimen. This will bring out the best use of green tea.
However, before ingesting green tea on a regular basis, note that you should not take more than 4 cups of green tea if you are sensitive to caffeine or have insomnia.
If you are pregnant, it is best to avoid or limit the consumption of Green Tea. Even though there is no official advice telling you to stop it altogether during your pregnancy, the perfect thing would be to limit its intake as it contains only a little less caffeine as compared to the standard tea.
You should limit your caffeine intake to about 200 mg daily which includes all caffeine sources such as cola, energy drinks, and chocolate.
Benefits of Green Tea
Green is one the healthiest beverage in the world and got some amazing benefits to your health and well-being just to name a few:
Green Tea is Full of Antioxidants
The chemical composition of green tea is a tricky one making an interesting compound. It has proteins which comprise of 15% to 20% of dry weight and amino acids make for 1% to 4% dry weight.
This tea is loaded with polyphenols like catechins and flavonoids which act as powerful antioxidants.
Catechins can perhaps be said to be its biggest benefit. Catechins are antioxidants. They help in preventing cell damage. Green tea is not processed that much before it’s poured into the cup so you can expect it to be loaded to the brim with catechins.
Green tea also contains within it powerful compounds such as the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). This compound is proved to cure several diseases. This can be one of the main reasons why green tea is hailed to be a beverage with powerful medicinal properties.
According to an article by Harvard Health publications, green tea is the best food source of a group called catechins. They also appeared to have other properties that help combat against diseases.
Green Tea Aids in Weight Loss
Weight loss and green tea is a tried-and-tested combo. That’s because the catechins contained in green tea speeds up the metabolism of your body and helps reduce belly fat by blasting its adipose tissue. This way, the excess fat stored in the belly is released, this leads to burning fat from the body. The result? Drinking green tea as well as exercising for a few weeks may help shed those extra pounds.
Green Tea Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Not only this, if you are a regular user and consumer of green tea, then it means you have a reduced risk of heart diseases! The antioxidants present in green tea can help combat bad cholesterol (LDL) as well as increase good cholesterol (HDL). This also leads to the improvement in artery function.
In fact, in a Chinese study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was shown that there is a 46% to 65% reduction in hypertension risk in those people who regularly consume green tea or oolong tea as compared to non-consumers of tea. That is truly lifesaving, we tell you!
Green Tea Lowers Cholesterol
Green tea has also been observed to have some impact on improving blood flow and lowering cholesterol. In a 2013 review of various studies, it was put forward that green tea helped in the prevention of many heart-related issues such as high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. In many studies, it was also found that the consumption of green tea can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Side Effects of Green Tea
They say too much of anything can be bad too. Though we cannot say it applies totally to green tea, there can be some side effects too.
Herbs have been used since a long time in strengthening the body and treating diseases. However, herbs do contain certain active substances which can trigger side effects. This may possibly interact with other medications and supplements. Hence, it is advised to take all herbs under the supervision of a knowledgeable practitioner.
According to article, it is likely safe for adults when consuming green tea in moderate amounts. It is also possibly safe for most of the people when taken orally for up to two years. It can, however, be unsafe if you take in high doses of green tea.
Caffeine overdose can occur if you also include caffeine in green tea. Caffeine overdose can lead to nausea, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. If you are a person who consumes a lot of tea, and you start having vomits or severe abdominal spasms, you may have caffeine poisoning. If the symptoms start getting severe, the best thing would be to immediately contact your health care provider and lower your caffeine intake.
It also seems that green tea can reduce the absorption of iron from food. You might do better than to drink very high doses of green tea as it can be fatal and is likely unsafe. The fatal dose of caffeine in green tea can approximately be said to be around 10 to 14 grams or 150 to 200 mg per kilogram. At lower doses too, there is a risk of serious toxicity.
For children, we can say that green tea is safe when it is used in amounts which are commonly found in beverages and food.
People who have high blood pressure or other health problems such as heart, liver, kidney, mental disorders (such as anxiety) and stomach ulcers should drink green tea after consulting with their health professional.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised against consuming green tea. People having problems with anemia, glaucoma, diabetes, as well as osteoporosis should first consult their health care provider before proceeding with any green tea regimen.
In addition, it is best to avoid green tea if you are taking some or all of the medicines. Some of these medicines deal with Adenosine, Beta-lactam, Benzodiazepines, Beta-blockers, Propranolol, and Metoprolol, Blood-Thinning Medications, Chemotherapy, Clozapine, Ephedrine, Lithium, and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs).