Some say that green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. From celebrities to health magazines, TV shows to online blogs, there isn’t a month that passes by without green tea making the headlines. We’ve done the research, analyzed its benefits, uses and side effects to help you make the most informed decision.
Green tea is a plant whose dried leaves have immense health benefits. Known as Camellia Sinensis in the science world, the plant originated from China before it spread to Japan and to the rest of the world. Several types of green tea exist, but they differ depending on the growing conditions, processing and harvest time.
Although green tea originated in China, it’s in Japan where the beverage was truly championed. As a result, most of the different types of green teas have Japanese names. They include:
This type of green tea is produced by shading C. Sinensis plants three weeks before harvest. This is done to prevent light from penetrating the leaves and slow down their growth process. The leaves produced are usually smooth and light.
Brown rice is steamed and roasted before it’s mixed with green tea leaves at a ratio of 50:50. The tea produced becomes toasty but savory and healthy as well.
Sencha is the most common type of green tea. It’s also the simplest to make. To prepare it, you add grounded green teas into hot water. It’s worth noting that the leaves used in Sencha are harvested during the initial rounds of harvesting the leaves.
Like Gyokuro, Tencha is shaded from direct sunlight three weeks before harvesting. Once harvested, the leaves are steamed and dried before their stems and vines are removed. The only difference between this type of tea and Gyokuro is that Tencha leaves are not rolled into needle-like shapes.
Matcha is similar to Tencha, but instead of being rolled into pieces it’s grounded into fine powder. That means its leaves are harvested and shaded three weeks before harvesting. It does not contain stems or veins and has to be steamed and air dried to improve its quality.
Green tea is associated with a countless number of health benefits. It's not surprising, therefore, that celebrities such as Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Fergie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lady Gaga all love it. Below are some of these benefits.
Green tea is credited with helping the body burn calories fast and naturally. When combined with regular exercising, studies show you lose weight faster when using the special beverage than without it. You will need more than one cup of the beverage to lose weight fast. In all studies linked with weight loss, you are required to consume 2-3 cups a day before you can begin to see results.
A 2013 study in Japan showed that people who drank more than 3 cups of green tea per day were 33% less likely to acquire diabetes type 2. Another study in Taiwan also showed that people who consumed the beverage daily had leaner waists than regular people. Green tea prevents diabetes by regulating glucose levels in the body.
Green tea may be popular for its weight loss benefit, but it’s even more popular for its antioxidant ingredients. Antioxidants are found in plants like spinach and kales but are more prominent in green tea types. The substances fight DNA damaging UV rays, helping prevent skin cancer in the process.
The plant also contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin redness and swelling. Another property on green tea is an antibacterial agent that helps treat acne and fight infections on the skin.
Although more research is required, people who drink green tea regularly say they experience stress and depression less frequently. This benefit is linked to two compounds found in the leaves, theanine and amino acids, both of which offer a relaxing effect.
Green tea bags are not all created the same. The best green tea bags stand out from the rest in their taste, packaging, and prices. Below are some of the best brands.
For $12, VADHAN delivers 30 tea bags of freshly picked green tea sourced in India. VADHAM’s tea bags are blended with natural oils from the bergamot fruit to add taste. Preparing the tea is as quick and simple as warming water and adding a bag into it for steeping. The tea tastes a bit like grass, so sweeteners are needed.
Matcha is finer and softer than nearly all other types of green tea. When it comes from a certified Japanese company, you get the great tasting tea enjoyed by locals. Pure Synergy's matcha is packaged as supplement capsules, which is an excellent idea if you hate the taste of green tea. The capsules aren't sweet, but you can swallow them whole without chewing to experience their taste. The product costs $28, more expensive than the rest but top-rated.
Genmai is short for Genmaicha, the mixture of roasted brown rice and green tea we mentioned earlier. A Japanese company makes this type of tea and packages it in 90 tea bags per one box that cost $25. Great deal, right? The tea bags are naturally sourced, and Kosher certified for their health benefits.
Epoca comes in a stylish sachet that also includes a string and a squeezer. The string helps you place and remove the green tea bag conveniently from your cup without scalding your fingertips. The squeezer aids in squeezing out juices from the tea leaves.
The package consists of 6 bags and costs $30 on Amazon. That's certainly more expensive than most tea bags, but the product is also the number one best-seller. Out of nearly 400 reviews, not even one person gave the product a rating of below 3 stars, showing just how popular the product is.
If saving is also important to you as you shop online, this is the green tea to go for. For a price of $58, you get 90 bags of premium green tea blended with turmeric ginger for a distinctive taste. The 90 bags can be used in up to 250 cups by reusing some more than once. They have a smooth taste but can be sweetened with sugar for added taste.
Let’s get things straight. Not all types of green tea can help you with weight loss. Some types, like matcha, are better than others. How you brew your tea also determines its impact on your body. Boiling water kills catechins, the important components that play a part in your weight loss.
The amount of tea taken per day plus the types of exercises you do also impact your weight loss success rate. Green tea improves metabolism and enhances fat break down as you exercise, meaning the tea has a better impact the more you consume it.
While there are no upper limits, 2-3 cups of green tea are ideal in your weight loss journey. If you can afford green tea supplements, they are even better for weight loss. To get around the issue of taste, consider adding lemon, ginger, and bananas to your green tea routines.
Green tea is more than a beverage. It has a lot of skincare benefits thanks to its many antioxidants. Protection against the sun’s rays and DNA damage are key benefits here since you are less likely to get skin cancer.
In the salons and beauty parlors, green tea bags are being used to improve blood circulations around the eyes. The idea is simple. Steep a green tea bag into warm water. Drink the tea if you want but don’t get rid of the bag. Instead, cool two of the bags and then place them under your eyes for several minutes. Other benefits include treatment against acne and conditions your hair.
One of the many debates people who love green tea often engage in concerns whether to consume bagged or take up loose-leaf tea. More people tend to think leaf tea is better but is it?
Leaf-tea means consumes tea steeped from the entire leaf. Bagged tea often consists of broken-down tea leaves without stems and veins. When it comes to taste and component rate, bagged tea comes at the top. Grounded tea often contains smaller particles of tea that are infused with all the important components of the tea.
Green tea is not only the healthiest beverage in the world, but it’s also one of the most consumed drinks. When combined with black tea, it’s the second most consumed drinks only behind water. One of the many reasons green tea is so revered is the presence of antioxidants at higher amounts than any other plant.
Its low caffeine level, skincare benefits, prevention of numerous diseases and weight loss benefits have turned green tea into a household drink. Of course, many of its health benefits require more research, but initial studies prove it's a powerful drink.
Whether you know it as matcha or green tea, the basic ingredients are the same. The plant’s origin can be traced back in China, but it’s in Japan and India where people embraced green tea the most. In the malls and online, green tea is packaged as small supplements, grounded powder or broken leaves.
The best green tea products have varying level of benefits, but all forms of green tea are generally beneficial. They are inexpensive also, so you shouldn’t fear about investing in the tea.