What Makes Green Tea So Special?
There are three different types of tea and each type is processed quite differently. And it is the processing that makes a big difference in the taste, aroma, and quality of the finished brew, including the way it can affect your health. The different varieties are Black Tea (in which the fresh leaf is withered by exposure to the air, and is broken and left to ferment after picking), Oolong Tea (in which the withering process is much shorter, resulting in a partially fermented leaf) and the last one is Green Tea (where the leaf is not fermented at all but is steamed immediately after harvesting to stop the fermentation process, then rolled and dried). Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What sets green tea apart is the way it is processed.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
- Cancer: The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This is an anti-oxidant. The basic use of this powerful anti-oxidant is that it inhibits the growth of cancer cells and kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
- Lowering Cholesterol and preventing heart disease:It has also been helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol levels. It also prevents the abnormal formation of blood clots. This takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
- Atherosclerosis: Population-based clinical studies indicate that the antioxidant properties of green tea may help prevent atherosclerosis, particularly coronary artery disease.
- Diabetes: Green tea has been used to control blood sugar in the body. People with type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin, a hormone that converts glucose (sugar), starches, and other foods into energy needed for daily life. Green tea may help regulate glucose in the body.
- Liver disease: Studies have shown that men who drink more than 10 cups of green tea per day are less likely to develop liver disorders. Green tea also seems to protect the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances such as alcohol.
- Weight loss: Clinical studies show that green tea extract can help burn fat and boost metabolism. A study has shown that combination of green tea and caffeine improved weight loss and maintenance in overweight.
- Tooth decay: Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay. The tea has its bacteria-destroying abilities which can kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque.
- Other uses: Drinking green tea has been found effective in inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and slowing cartilage breakdown. Chemicals found in green tea may also be effective in treating genital warts and preventing symptoms of colds and influenza. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea - from deodorants to creams - are starting to appear on the market.
Any Harmful Effects?
To date, the only negative side effect reported from drinking green tea is insomnia. This is because the tea contains caffeine. However, the good news is that green tea contains less caffeine than coffee. There are approximately 30 to 60 mg. of caffeine in 6-8 ounces of tea, compared to over 100 mg. in 8 ounces of coffee.
How to make Green Tea?