Green tea has a reputation of being a super-healthy, wonder-drink. But is the hype true?
Green tea can be traced all the way back to China. Reportedly, over 4,500 years ago a Chinese king mistakenly drank some water with a green tea leaf in. This mistake turned out to be a refreshing, tasty and very healthy beverage which has been drunk around the world ever since.
Green tea is packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and plenty of caffeine which makes it a popular choice.
Scientifically known as Camellia Sinensis, Green Tea has been studied for generations as people try to understand what makes it so good for you.
Green tea can help reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease as well as improving your brain function and preventing the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Not to mention you’ll have more energy, lose weight and have clear skin. It really is one of the best teas in the world.
Since green tea has been around for so long, there are many different forms of Green Tea available including green tea extract and green tea tablets. However, studies have shown that some cheaper teas or processed forms of tea can contain chemicals such as fluoride which minimise the effectiveness of the beverage.
Pure Green Tea as a drink is the most effective way to obtain the health benefits of Green Tea.
Additionally, carefully constructed blends such as our Immunitea means you get all the benefits of the tea combined with a great taste and extra ingredients to help keep you in the best shape.
On its own, loose leaf tea has a light, delicate flavour which can be spoilt if over brewed. Depending on the type of green tea, the taste can vary from sweet and floral to bitter and earthy. This is why blended loose-leaf teas offer the greatest combination of flavours.
Green teas differ from other teas because they have been heat treated to stop the fermentation process after the leaves have been picked.
The heat is used to keep the leaves fresh and ensures all the goodness is locked into the leaf. Different methods of applying heat such as roasting or steaming and for different lengths of time give the different teas their distinct flavours.
The Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Because green tea is heat treated to prevent fermentation, all the vitamins and minerals are sealed inside the leaf meaning when you stew it in water, you will be getting all the goodness into your drink. This is why Green Tea is so healthy. The tea itself is used around the world to help alleviate a wide range of illnesses such as cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and heart conditions.
The Catechins in the tea have been proven to help fight obesity as well as treating type 2 diabetes. Catechins naturally found in teas react with cells to prevent the storage of fat in the body. Green tea in particular is full of a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate which makes up as much as 20% of the leaf’s weight. When ingested this Catechin, spreads throughout the body preventing fat build-up, decreasing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. This means that drinking green tea can lower your risk of diabetes by as much as 42%.
Catechins are also great at preventing cell damage and oxidization. This means that drinking green tea can literally prevent you from aging! Who doesn’t want to look younger?
Green tea also contains a surprising amount of caffeine. However, unlike coffee it also contains a compound called L-theanine which has anti-anxiety properties.
This means that by drinking green tea you’ll get all the improved focus, reaction time, memory and energy of coffee, without the jittery after-effect. While people who drink coffee will crash after the caffeine wears off, the combination of caffeine and L-theanine means you’ll get a more stable boost to your brain.
And it isn’t a short-term boost.
Drinking green tea regularly can improve your brain function over many years.
The polyphenols found in green tea have been proven to have a neurological effect on your brain meaning diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are likely to have less severe symptoms as well as occurring later in life. Green tea also has anti-inflammatory properties which helps reduce pressure on the brain which minimises stress and prevents your brain from aging as fast. So, it’s not just your skin that will stay younger for longer.
One of green tea’s biggest claims to fame is its ability to help prevent cancer. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants which are proven to protect cells from oxidative stress and degeneration. These degenerated cells are prone to inflammation and can lead to the development of cancerous cells. Drinking green tea can help protect cells so they never get to this stage.
While this can help prevent all types of cancer, green tea has been specifically linked to helping prevent breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men as well as colorectal cancers. One study found that women who regularly drank green tea were as much as 30% less likely to develop breast cancer.
It can also help fight against recurring breast cancers. Multiple studies have also found that the antioxidants found in green tea can reduce your chances of getting colorectal cancer by almost half.
Lots of teas contain cancer-fighting antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients but studies have found that diluting tea with milk, specifically cow’s milk, can result in a weakening of these effects on the body. Because green tea is more regularly drunk on its own, or in some cases with lemon and herbs, it is considerably more effective than other teas with similar levels of antioxidants.
Side Effects of Green Tea
Sticking to the recommended dose of a generous four cups a day is the best way to avoid any unpleasant side effects.
While green tea is packed full of nutrients and vitamins which can seriously improve your health like all good things it should be taken in moderation.
The recommended amount of green tea is around four cups a day, five is the maximum.
This is because green tea contains lots of caffeine which can make you jittery. Too much caffeine in your system can cause irregular heartbeats, nervousness, anxiety, headaches and dizziness.
As well as the potential side-effects caused by too much caffeine, green tea can also affect your stomach. Green tea may prohibit your body from absorbing iron in foods. Anyone with an iron deficiency may struggle to get enough iron in their body if they drink too much green tea. This is turn can lead to weakness, fatigue, headaches, breathing problems and chest pains. It can also worsen the symptoms of anaemia.
Another side effect of green tea is diarrhea.
Because green tea is so effective at help your body digest food, excessive amounts of green tea can lead to bowel problems and even vomiting. It can also increase the amount you need to pee as your body flushes your digestive system. In small amounts, this can be a part of a successful detox, however in larger amounts, can lead to nutrient deficiency and dehydration.
Additionally, the extra stress on your internal organs can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
While some of the side effects of green tea can sound very severe and serious, they are also very rare. Five cups a day will not produce any major reactions. Unless you plan on drinking ten cups a day or have underlying health issues, it’s nothing you need to worry about.
Common questions about Green Tea
1) When to drink green tea?
Ideally, green tea should not be drunk on an empty stomach because the catechins can affect your liver functions. If you have a nutrient deficiency it should also not be drunk with a meal. Around an hour or two after breakfast Is a great time as well as before exercise and around two hours before bed.
2) Can green tea really help with weight loss?
Yes, absolutely. Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties as well as helping prevent fat storage, reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. This means drinking green tea can help shift weight which may have been difficult to move with exercise as well as helping prevent weight from accumulating in the future.
3) What does it taste like?
Different green teas have different tastes depending on how they were made. The taste can vary from very light and floral to more heavy earthy tones. However, green tea should not be bitter. If your tea is bitter this is because the tea itself is cheap and badly produced and has excess tannins which give a bitter taste. Alternatively, the tea is being brewed in boiling water which is burning the leaves.
4) I’ve had a baby and I’m breastfeeding; can I drink green tea?
While green tea is full of nutrients which can help support both mother and child, it also contains caffeine. This means pregnant woman and women who are nursing should avoid drinking an excess amount of green tea. Unless a doctor recommends something different, one or two cups a day is the maximum amount to get the health benefits of the tea without consuming too much caffeine.
5) How much green tea can I drink?
As green tea does contain caffeine it is not recommended that anyone drinks more than around four cups per day as a maximum. Two to three cups every day will give you lots of health benefits without any side-effects.
6) Can I grow my own green tea?
As green tea is heat treated with steam, or roasted in ovens, it is not advisable to make your own green tea. Our Immunitea has been formulated by experts to create a satisfying citrus, forest flavour. If you want to experiment with your own flavours, we advise that you buy plain green tea and create your own recipes. Will green tea really help my brain?
Yes! Drinking green tea can help reduce anxiety and stress and prevent your brain cells from degenerating. This means your brain won’t age as fast and is less susceptible to neurological diseases associated with old age.
7) I can’t drink caffeine; can I have green tea?
If you can’t consume caffeine then green tea leaves are not the right choice for you. Green tea actually contains a fair amount of caffeine which is effective on the brain. However, green tea extracts exist without caffeine. Most tablets contain caffeine unless specifically stated that the caffeine has been removed.
Drinking Green Tea in Australia
When it comes to actually consuming green tea, there are lots of options out there. Most common forms of green tea are extracts, tablets and tea leaves. Another form of green tea which has found popularity in recent years is Matcha.
Tablets: Scientists have successfully extracted most of the benefits of green tea into tablet form. These tablets can be found at most health food stores and may also be stocked under the name super greens. They are generally mixed with other healthy food substances such as spinach, mint and kale extract.
Tablets generally contain fewer vitamins as the chemical process to form the tablet destroys some of the nutrients. However, these tablets can be taken quickly and you’ll still get most of the benefit of green tea.
Extracts: Green tea extract can either be used in its liquid form and added to smoothies, drinks and food, or it can be contained within a capsule. The capsules are similar to the tablets in terms of convenience for on the go nutrition and can be a good addition to a healthy diet.
The liquid droppers can be added to almost any drink and are very useful for people who do not like the taste of green tea or are looking for a caffeine-free option. However, the potency and effectiveness of the ingredients will be diluted by adding the extract to other foods and drinks as the digestive system will not be able to extract all the benefits of the tea in this form.
Matcha: Matcha is basically a powdered form of green tea. The bushes are grown in the shade meaning the plant produces more chlorophyll producing the bright green colour. The powder can be added to most drinks and contains as much caffeine and has a similar taste to regular green tea. Some matcha is formulated to actually contain more nutrients than green tea. However, because matcha takes longer to make, it is much more expensive than normal green tea for no real health or taste benefit.
Tea Leaves: Drinking green tea is easily the most efficient way to get the benefits of the tea. Additionally, the act of sitting down with a cup of tea is more relaxing and enjoyable than popping a pill. Unlike other teas which can be grown at home, green tea should be purchased after being heat treated. You can buy special blends of green tea such as Immunitea blend which are formulated to bring out the best tastes as well as including other beneficial ingredients. For example, our Fat Burning Matinee Tea blend is formulated specially to help increase your metabolism and boost your weight loss journey.
However, if you want to make green tea recipes at home, we’ve broken down the most popular recipe for you here:
- Bring a cup of water to the boil on a stove or in an electric a kettle. Once the water has boiled, let it cool for a minute. Boiling water can scorch green tea leaves and ruin the flavour, leaving it bitter.
- Once the water has cooled, add one teaspoon of green tea leaves. Next add one teaspoon of fresh ginger, the juice of one lemon, a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of cinnamon. Finish by stirring in half a teaspoon of honey and if you’re feeling spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little kick.
- Let this mixture brew with the tea for a maximum of three minutes. The smaller the tea leaves, the less time they will need in the water as their flavour is extracted faster than larger leaves.
- Once the mixture has settled, strain out the tea leaves. If you want, you can reheat the tea in a pan if you want it piping hot. Relax and enjoy!
The Bottom Line
Green tea is one of the healthiest teas out there.
The major claims surrounding the drink do have scientific backing. Any drink which can help stop the aging process, help you lose weight, fight cancer and cell degeneration, prevent early onset of neurological diseases and give you clear skin is a very impressive drink. Green tea provides the most health benefits of any beverage you can consume on a daily basis.
It helps that when brewed properly or blended with the right ingredients, green tea is very tasty. Packed full of nutrients and minerals which have been heat preserved, green tea is a super-healthy drink.
For anyone looking to kickstart a health and fitness programme or anyone who wants to improve their life, green tea should definitely be on their shopping list. Our Immunitea blend is one of the most popular in Australia and is perfect for anyone looking to cut the hassle and drink a specifically formulated and proven blend.
Because our teas are 100% organic and specially formulated, you can be sure you are getting high quality tea with all the benefits and a great taste.
Have you tried green tea and noticed a difference? We’d love to hear about your experiences with Green tea in the comments.
Did you find that drinking green tea helped you lose weight or help clear up your skin? Maybe you switched green tea caffeine for your regular coffee and found yourself feeling much better. Let us know!