When I first started to consume green tea a few years back, I peered into my cup and asked myself why on earth do they call it green tea if it turns the water brown? My journey into health and nutrition led me to uncover the answer and had me switching to a higher quality variety quick smart. If you are drinking green tea for its health benefits, be wary of the brand you are consuming.
Some Information on Green Tea…
Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea, but is harvested at a younger age. It is consumed “fresh”, while black tea is consumed roasted. Green tea is thus less processed and retains more of its nutrients and antioxidants than black tea or many of the other tea varieties.
According to Dr Mercola, Green tea contains ‘catechins’ which are a class of polyphenols or naturally occurring antioxidants. One of the four main ‘catechins’ is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is an antioxidant that is way more powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E.
The health benefits of EGCG are plentiful, including the prevention of:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- High blood lipid
- Cerebral thrombus
- Prostate cancer
- Heart attack and stroke
Several studies have also found that EGCG can improve exercise performance. A recent study found that green tea extract helps improve energy expenditure and fat metabolism.
Are all green teas created equal?
There is often a distinct difference between the processing of the best and worst variety available on supermarket shelves. A number of green teas available today have been oxidized (or exposed to large amounts of light and/or oxygen once picked). High levels of oxidation may detract from the valuable properties we spoke about earlier. According to a study conducted by Consumer Lab, if you drink green tea for your health, be aware that the antioxidant levels can vary by more than 240% across all products.
The easiest way to evaluate a green tea’s quality is its colour: if your green tea is actually brown, it’s likely been oxidized and you are missing out on those all important health benefits.
What should I drink?
Organic Matcha tea is made of tea leaves ground into a powder which, is added straight to your water. You can read more on Matcha back here on the blog tomorrow. Organic Sencha green tea is also said to be a great alternative.
How Much Tea Can I Drink?!
If you enjoy green tea, cap it at 1-2 cups per day. Whilst Green Tea contains caffeine, one cup of coffee contains 100-150mg of caffeine (for information regarding whether caffeine could be affecting your health can be found here); a cup of green tea has only about 25mg. That said, if you feel like green tea doesn’t agree with you, best thing to do is to skip it altogether.