What is Green Tea
Green tea is a form of tea prepared from Camellia sinensis leaves…
…and buds that have not been withered and oxidized in the same way as oolong and black teas are. Green tea originated in China, and its production and manufacture has since expanded to other East Asian countries.
The term “green” in this context does not refer to its color, but rather refers to how it has been processed. Green tea can be consumed as either an infusion or extract. It contains caffeine, though much less than coffee; some varieties contain up to 50 mg per cup. The taste varies depending on processing method: unfermented tea tastes bitter while fermented tea tastes sweet. There are also many different types of green tea including sencha, gyokuro, matcha and gunpowder tea.
Types Of Green Tea
Sencha Tea Leaves
This variety comes from Japan where they use special steaming techniques for their green tea which creates a more delicate flavor profile compared with other regions where the leaves may be hand-picked before being dried. They tend to produce lighter colored tea leaves which give off a milder aroma.
Gyokuro Tea Leaves
These come from China and Korea where farmers grow these plants at higher elevations in order to protect them from frost during winter months. In addition to selecting lower elevation growing areas, growers select particular branches within each plant that is harvested by hand so that only the best buds remain. Because the harvesting happens manually, there is no way to standardize the amount of bud produced. As such, the quality tends to vary greatly among producers.
A type of Japanese powdered green tea called Matcha. Originated around 1600 BC when monks began blending it into powder form to make ceremonial offerings to Buddha. Since then, Matcha became one of the most highly prized forms of green tea throughout Asia. Today, Matcha is used primarily as a ritual offering to Buddhist temples and shrines. However, people all over the world enjoy drinking Matcha because of its unique flavour and health benefits.
An important characteristic of Matcha is that it remains fresh for a long time without going bad. Unlike black teas, which begin losing their potency after just 2 years, Matcha retains its full flavour even when stored away for 10+ years! Of course, if you want your Matcha to stay fresh longer, store it in airtight containers in cool places like refrigerators.
Another very popular Chinese style green tea is Gunpowder. This is made using a process known as withering followed by firing. Witherings occur when the tea leaves are exposed to heat under controlled conditions. During the first stage, the leaves are heated to 60 – 70 degrees Celsius. After about 20 minutes, the temperature is lowered to 40 C and allowed to rest for another 15 – 20 minutes. This second step causes oxidation and fermentation to take place resulting in the formation of numerous beneficial compounds. The final product undergoes several rounds of firing at temperatures between 100C and 300C until the desired colour and texture is attained.
Benefits Of Drinking Green Teas
Tea has become increasingly popular worldwide due to studies showing various health benefits associated with consuming it regularly. These include: reducing risk factors for heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and dementia, improving brain function and boosting moods. Some of the properties attributed to green tea are listed below:
Green tea helps our body fight against free radical damage caused by stress, smoking, alcohol consumption and pollution. Free radicals are harmful molecules formed naturally through normal metabolic processes. Antioxidants help neutralise these substances, thereby protecting cells from oxidative breakdown.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Scientists believe that polyphenols found in green tea inhibit enzymes responsible for converting LDL cholesterol into atherosclerotic plaque deposits inside arteries.
Increases Energy Production
Studies have shown that high concentrations of caffeine contained in coffee can raise blood pressure and cause jitters. On the other hand, low amounts of caffeine present in green tea may increase metabolism and improve focus and concentration.
Helps Control Weight Gain
A study published in 2007 revealed that participants who drank two or more cups of green tea daily were less likely to gain extra pounds than those who didn’t drink any tea at all. Researchers think this could be because antioxidants in green tea act on fat cells helping prevent excessive accumulation of fatty acids.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Green tea contains catechins, flavonoids which aid proper functioning of the digestive system. It also stimulates bile secretion, preventing gallstones. Gallbladder problems are commonly linked to poor diet and lack of exercise.
According to a recent survey conducted by New Zealand researchers, nearly half of adults aged 25 to 64 suffer some sort of cognitive impairment. One factor contributing to this age group’s declining mental performance might be insufficient intake of nutrients, including vitamins B12 and D. Green tea appears to boost vitamin absorption while simultaneously promoting better sleep patterns.
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Depression affects millions globally every year and research suggests that green tea offers protection against major depressive disorders. Preliminary findings indicate that EGCG, an antioxidant