What is Green Tea – Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects
Second in popularity – following Black Tea – Green tea is emerging as a favorite across the globe (Approximately 600,000 tons of green tea is consumed every year in the world!). This figure is set to grow as people continue to discover the claimed health benefits of Green Tea.
What is Green Tea?
Just like all other teas, Green Tea comes from the evergreen shrub found in hilly regions – Camellia Sinensis. In order to prevent oxidation (turning brown/black), the leaves of this plant are steamed lightly or dried with heat, which retains their light green color. This process helps to preserve a higher concentration of antioxidants when compared to other types of teas. These antioxidants are known as flavonoids, with the most prominent one being a catechin called EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate.
Did you know that Gunpowder green tea is a popular type of green tea? The leaves are rolled up into tiny curls/balls, which resemble gunpowder – and hence the unique name!
Does Green Tea Contain Caffeine?
Yes, it does. Green tea naturally contains caffeine. The caffeine content is typically about 25 to 29mg per cup, and several factors affect the caffeine content. The tea origin, processing method, preparation, and duration of brewing – are all factors that determine the caffeine content. While there is a process to remove the caffeine content, green tea would never be completely decaffeinated, and hence do check with your doctor if you are caffeine-intolerant, unwell, or on medication. The process that removes the caffeine also removes the antioxidants to a large extent.
While drinking warm cup of green tea feels like a soothing hug in the morning, and is a great ‘pick me up’, this superhero natural ingredient is ubiquitous in skincare products too. Green tea is a super-achiever since it is both a corrective and protective ingredient with anti-aging, refreshing, antioxidants, and antibacterial properties. If you read the labels on some ‘natural’ skincare products, you would most likely see Green tea as one ingredient. Cleansers, serums, under eye wrinkle reducing creams, moisturizers, face masks and washes, and sunscreens are amongst the top products that use Green tea.
Health Benefits of Green Tea -
Studies and research are constantly on to determine the benefits of green tea on the overall health of a person, but there is no doubt that this bounty of nature packs a punch of health.
- Boosts Mental Alertness and Energy
Given its caffeine content, Green tea delivers a boost in energy and mental alertness. Additionally, this tea also contains an amino acid, L-theanine, which calms and soothes the mind, and hence consuming Green tea enhances energy levels, minus the negative side effect of caffeine jitters.
- Possible Fights Cancer
While studies continue to conclusively prove it, the antioxidants and polyphenols in Green tea could possibly help to combat or reduce the risk of several types of cancer. Always check with your doctor before consuming anything new, especially if ill or under medication.
- May Assist with Weight Loss
Both the catechins and caffeine in Green tea accelerate metabolism, which assists with burning fat faster. Do check with your nutritionist before consuming.
- Might Combat Heart Diseases
Green tea has shown potential in helping to curb high blood pressure and bad cholesterol – both of which can potentially lead to heart diseases. Green tea also slows down the age-related reduction of good cholesterol. All of these factors, help to combat heart diseases and prevent strokes.
Side Effects of Green Tea
About 8 cups of Green tea per day is a safe amount for most people (237ml of Green tea contains about 28mg of caffeine). More than this would lead to unpleasant side effects such as nervous jitters, serious headaches, and dysrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is present in a high concentration, and over-consumption of Green tea would lead to hepatotoxicity, which is linked to liver damage. Further, if consuming Green tea while on heart medication, it could alter the effects of the medicines. For example, Green tea would interfere with the medication that keeps blood pressure in check, and the Vitamin K content could alter the efficacy of blood thinner medicines too. Since Green tea contains caffeine, it is a natural stimulant and hence must not be paired with other stimulants.
Despite the many health benefits and soothing effect of Green tea, it is essential to check with your doctor before adding it to your diet. This is especially true for pregnant or breastfeeding women, those suffering from illnesses, and those who are on medication. We wish you happiness and health!
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