Green tea is one of those rare beverages that is pretty much universally accepted by science as a healthy one. There are some overblown claims over the internet. In this post, we are going to parse through and figure out what is what. You will also learn how to make the healthiest cup of tea possible.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
The main why green tea is so good for you is that it is rich in healthy nutrients. All the bioactive polyphenols that it is rich in are awesome for your health. You may have heard of some of them, like Catechins and Flavanoids, and all those are antioxidants. What antioxidants do is prevent free radical damage to your body cells. Free radical damage to your body over time causes diseases like cancer.
We all have faucets in our homes. Faucets have rust on them as a result of a chemical reaction known as oxidation. Think of antioxidants as rust prevention within your own body. Here is a list of proven health benefits of green tea.
1. Cancer Prevention
Several studies are showing that people who drink tea have lower risks of cancer. Many people theorize that it is because tea has high amounts of antioxidants. That is a correlation and not a causation. It is good to drink tea. But you also need to know that it can’t prevent and cure all types of cancer. Some of the cancers that green tea can help prevent include prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer. According to a recent epidemiological study, green tea consumption can help prevent breast and prostate cancer. Researchers believe that epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) that is present in green tea has the potential to inhibit the Urokinase Plasminogen Activator (uPA). Inhibition of the uPA enzyme can decrease tumor size and sometimes cause complete cancer remission.
2. Get Rid of Stinky Breath
Are you struggling to get rid of stinky breath? Maybe you should try green tea. The Catechins in tea can inhibit and kill certain types of bacteria. Drinking green tea can help kill the bacteria that is known to cause bad breath. When you have less bad bacteria in your mouth, there are lower chances for plaque formation. So drinking a cup of green tea several times in a week can protect you against cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
3. Improves Focus
Green tea can give you stable energy without all the jitters. It has about 30 to 50 milligrams, which is roughly half a cup of coffee. After drinking green tea, you will remain focused and stimulated, without the jittery feeling you get from a cup of coffee. It contains a nutrient known as L-Thiamine. This nutrient works together with caffeine to boost your brain function. It gives your brain relaxation without the added drowsiness or sedation that comes along with other relaxation agents. Starting your day with a cup of tea can help you stay focused and stimulated until late in the evening when you will be winding up your day.
4. Green Tea Can Improve your Heart Health
Drinking green tea can help raise your good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Green tea can also help improve your blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, drinking green tea three or more times a week can improve your overall heart health. Researchers believe that the EGCG present in green tea can slow the build-up of artery-clogging plaque. Learn more about hypertension and how you can keep your blood pressure in check.
5. Green Tea Can Help You Burn Fat And Lose Weight
A cup of tea every day help you burn fat and lose weight. Not all studies agree on this, but most studies agree that drinking green tea can help burn fat. It helps you burn fat and lose weight by increasing your metabolism and fat oxidation. So if you are looking for ways to lose belly fat, adding green tea to your routine can help. For better results, you should combine green tea with regular exercise.
6. Protect the Brain
Green tea does more than just keeping you alert. It can also boost and protect brain function. The catechins present in green tea have the potential to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It does this by preventing the development of plaque within the brain. Learn more about what you can do to optimize your brain health.
Green tea indeed contains caffeine that can hurt the brain, but not as much caffeine as coffee. It also contain L-theanine (an amino acid) that works synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function. A cup of green tea can improve your brain function, mood, and energy levels without giving you the jittery effect associated with coffee or too much caffeine.
7. Increase Lifespan
Green tea can increase your lifespan. There has been so much research on this. Some studies have even had 40,000 participants. Most of these studies agree that people that drink 2 to 3 cups of this tea have a decreased all-cause mortality. That means that they are less likely to die from heart diseases, strokes, and cancer.
Before you get too excited about what this tea can help you achieve, you need to remember correlation versus causation. Just because many people who drink green tea live longer, it does not mean that green tea is the sole thing that is responsible for that effect. So, enjoy your cup of green tea, but don’t think that you are going to live forever.
How to Make the Healthiest Cup of Green Tea
How you prepare your cup of green tea can affect its quality. It should never have a bitter taste. If your cup of tea has a bitter taste, that is a sign that you don’t know how to prepare it well. Here are the secrets to brewing a perfect cup of green tea that you need to know.
Buy quality organic
Premium stuff means less chance of nasties. Quality leaves will give you a quality drink. The price of a green tea packet reflects its quality and flavor. Look for fresh leaves that are less than one year old. Fresh tea leaves produce better flavor than those in teabags because they have enough room to breathe. If you can’t get access to fresh leaves, look for the one that comes in a pyramid bag. Pyramid bags give the leaves room to expand.
Use quality water
Is your tap water rich in minerals? Those minerals are good for your body, but some of them can counteract the natural minerals in tea leaves and end up producing a pungent taste. Distilled or purified water is the best as it doesn’t have pollutants that can alter the taste of your cup of tea.
Use the right amount of tea
There is nothing like a perfect ratio. It all depends on your taste preference. Many people prefer two grams of tea leaves per cup, but the more tea leaves you use per cup, the more distinct the taste.
Don’t make it too hot
The main difference between green tea and black tea is that black tea is oxidized and green tea isn’t oxidized. Green tea releases more favors and fewer tannin at low temperatures.
Adding boiling water to it will scorch the leaves and make you miss its flavor profile together with some health benefits. Hot water also destroys the healthy Catechins that make green tea worth drinking.
If you don’t have a temperature variable kettle, boil your water and then allow it to cool for about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the slightly cooler water into the tea leaves and then leave it to infuse. Water between 70°C and 85°C draws the best flavors and nutrients from the leaves.
Steep for the right amount of time
The brewing duration determines the flavor and nutritional value of your cup of tea. For a better flavor profile, don’t steep it for more than three minutes. If you don’t want your tea to taste bitter, don’t steam the leaves for too long. You can brew for two minutes and then taste after every 30 seconds until you get a perfect taste that you like. You can even make use of your smartphone timer to avoid forgetting and leaving the green in your glass of hot water for too long.
Add a splash of honey
Green tea on its own have a grassy taste. Some people love the flavor, but others don’t like it. If you don’t like the natural flavor, you should add a splash of honey or any other natural sweetener to make your drink taste more palatable. Adding more sugar to your green tea can increase your risks of obesity and heart disease. If possible, replace sugar with lemon, honey, or any other natural additive. Lemon and mint juice can help bring out delicious flavor from your green. Lemon juice also helps in the absorption of nutrients in your cup of green tea.
You should also limit your intake to about 3 to 4 cups a day.
Don’t waste your money buying the BS supplements that take green tea extract and claim miracle health benefits. They do not. The real thing is healthier than the supplement form.