Green Tea is the most popular and favorite beverage worldwide for the health benefits associated with it. Thanks to media and digital platforms for advertising GREEN TEA as a super tea with multiple benefits. Due to the COVID pandemic, people are going crazy about Green Tea for boosting immunity. But, are you aware of how to take green tea for health benefits, the best time to have green tea, the side effects of green tea, how to choose good green tea leaves, and how much green tea is good. Understanding when, why, how is very important before you include anything in the diet. Read the blog to understand more facts and myths about GREEN TEA.
How to take Green tea?
It is very important to understand the correct technique to prepare any food or beverage to retain maximum nutrients in it. Get perfect green tea leaves and try this recipe for green tea to get maximum benefits out of it. It does not require special culinary skills, but if you understand how every step contributes to its goodness, you will never go wrong!! A good recipe will make a good beverage 🙂
- Take 5 grams or 1 teaspoon of green leaves.
2. Boil water till it reaches 80 degrees centigrade. The right temperature is crucial to bring out the sweetness from amino acids and polyphenols, or else we will end up getting a bitter taste.
How to bring water to perfect temperature?
- You can boil the water and let it cool down for a while to bring the temperature down
- you can turn off the heat just before it starts boiling.
- You can use food thermometer as well to check the temperature.
3. Pour the hot water in a cup preferably glass or steel. Add the leaves and cover it for 3 minutes. Let the essence from green tea leaves steep into water.
4. Strain the tea in another cup and enjoy it.
5. You can add flavors of your choice to make it enjoyable.
6. Prefer not adding any sugar or sweeteners, in case of weight loss. Others can add a half teaspoon honey or jaggery if they cannot have it plain. Always remember not to add honey when it is too hot.
7. Never drink Green Tea in hurry and enjoy it sip by sip.
Can Green Tea be flavored?
Green Tea in its purest form tastes delicious but few find it bitter and avoid. You can add some flavors to break the monotony and make it taste better. While brewing up the tea add some cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, Amla powder or Tulsi leaves, Mint or bay leaves in the boiling water before adding the leaves.
Adding 1 teaspoon of Amla juice, lemon juice or ginger juice will take the taste to another level.
Surprise your taste buds by adding some pineapple or blueberry or cranberry juice into the regular green tea.
Do not fall for artificially flavored Green Tea available in markets. Instead, flavor it with your kitchen spices and herbs to drink healthier and tasty version of green tea.
Studies have shown that adding milk to green tea can block certain antioxidants and also not serve the purpose of weight loss. So avoid MILK in green tea to have maximum health benefits out of it. ( 19) (20)
Parameters to check before buying good green tea?
- Choose Organically Produce loose Green Tea leaves to avoid the risk of Pesticides and Harsh Chemicals
- Fresh Green tea leaves must look green in color
- Leaves must be broad in size.
- Green Tea leaves harvested in March -April will be at its peak in nutrient value.
Shelf Life of Green Tea is 6 months, Check properly the packaged date before buying.
- Avoid added Sugars in the green tea.
- Check Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) content on the package. The one with good ECGC content is good to opt for.
- The smell of good green tea must be grassy, light, and fresh.
- Store the loose green tea leaves in glass or porcelain closed containers.
What is the Best Time To have Green Tea?
Green Tea can be consumed throughout the year. It acts as a great thirst quencher in summers and improves immunity in winters.
- Have the Green tea in the mid-morning or early evening (before 5 PM) for the best results.
- Avoid having it in the night times as it may interfere with sleep due to caffeine present in it.
- Avoid having it on Empty stomachs as Green Tea contains Tannins which can build up more acids on empty stomach. It can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and Nausea as well. Have it in between meals. Having green tea on empty stomach has shown a negative effect on the spleen.
- It is recommended to not drink green tea immediately after a meal. It may impair digestion by making the gastric juice diluted.
- Drinking Green tea immediately after any food will hinder the absorption of nutrients from the food. For example, if you eat it after curd it will hinder calcium absorption from it. If you have it after your palak dal it will hinder the absorption of Iron from the meal.
- Do not drink Green tea after having fruit like banana, apple, papayaor guava. It will cause diarrhea or bloating.
- Do not drink two acidic beverages immediately like Coffee after green tea. It will create havoc in the gut.
- When there is an urge to eat or drink Junk, green tea can come in rescue. One cup of green Tea may calm the urge of dumping junk in the body.
- Green Tea can be taken before going for work out or after intense workout.
Hot Green Tea Vs Cold Green Tea –
Studies have shown that Hot Green Tea preserves more natural oxidants compared to Cold green Tea so to get maximum advantage better to sip hot green tea.
Also, Hot green tea contains around 4 mg of caffeine per oz compared to Cold green tea which contains 1 mg per oz. So for getting stimulants better to prefer hot green tea than cold green tea.
Loose Green tea Vs Teabags?
Prefer loose leaves for the green tea over the tea bags.
Also, avoid bottled-ready-made green tea as it contains a lot of sugar it.
Side Effects of Green Tea
Drinking Green in moderation will not have side effects. However, Overdoing green tea or replacing a meal with green tea will have side effects and impact health adversely. (21)
- Green tea may worsen the condition of anaemic patients. It reduces the absorption of iron in the body because of tannins present in them. Adding some lemon can lessen the effect of tannin in the tea.
- Excessive consumption can prohibit calcium absorption into the bones leading to osteoporosis.
- People who are intolerant with low levels of caffeine are advised not to drink green tea. It may cause heart issues in such people.
- Pregnant ladies must avoid green tea.If you are someone who love green tea then consult your gynecologist or qualified nutritionist before adding it to the diet.
- Certain cancer medications , Anti coagulants, Blood thinning medications and iron supplements don’t go well with green tea. Components of Green tea interferes with the activity of these medicines. If you take daily medications please consult your Doctor or Registered Dietitian before taking green tea.
- Over consumption of green tea will cause stains on teeth and darkening of lower lip.
- When consumed during fasting , green tea extracts increase toxicity levels in the body.So, do not consume green tea during fasting.
- Do not consume Green Tea while breastfeeding.
- Consumption of green tea by kids is linked with impaired iron metabolism and microcystic anemia.
- People with Peptic Ulcers must avoid Green Tea
How much green tea is advisable or safe?
Excess of everything is bad and no single superfood/super drink can cure any health ailment or weight loss. Have Balanced meals, Good sleep, regular physical activity, Good Hydration, and Stress management activities to fix any ailment.
Don’t screw yourself with too much green tea.
3 cups (each cup 80 ml -100 ml) of green tea is safe to be consumed in a day.
Be regular and moderate with green tea for getting maximum health benefits. Overnight change to fix any health ailment is impossible.
Alternatives of Green Tea
If you are not enjoying green tea or you have medical restrictions on consuming this tea, it’s completely fine, don’t be hard on yourself to drink this. Like other Superfoods from a foreign land, Green Tea is also overhyped. It is definitely a healthy beverage but we are blessed with many other local and seasonal foods & drinks by mother Earth for fulfilling our nutritional requirements.
We know how to buy, how much to drink and when to drink & the side effects of GREEN TEA for health benefits. Now let us understand why Green Tea has got special status among the teas and the health benefits blessed to us if we include this magical beverage properly.
Brief Information of green tea
Green tea is a tea made from leaves of Camellia Sinensis leaves. There are two varieties of Camellia Sinensis shrubs: Camellia Sinensis Sinensis and Camellia Sinensis Assamica. (22) (23)
- Camellia Sinensis Sinensis: This is native of China which is typically used to make Green Teas and White Teas. It grows as a shrub in Sunny regions with a dry and cold climate. It grows well in mountain ranges also. The leaves of this shrub are small in size.
- Camellia Sinensis Assamica: This is native of India, especially in Assam, and typically used to make strong black teas. It grows in Warm, Moist, and subtropical forest areas. The leaves of this shrub are large.
Many other Camellia Sinensis hybrids are cultivated over time but the oldest are the above ones.
Let us understand a little bit more about the classification of teas and where does Green Tea stands in this diverse world of teas.
There are two types True Teas and Herbal Teas.
- True Teas are made from Camellia Sinensis leaves – Green Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, and Oolong Tea.
- Herbal Teas are made up of dried fruits, flowers, spices, or herbs – Chamomile Tea, Peppermint Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Ginger Tea, Lemon Balm Tea, Cinnamon Tea, etc.
Coming to True Teas the main distinguishing factor is the Degree of Fermentation that leaves are made to undergo. The fermentation here means enzymatic oxidation that tea is allowed to undergo by allowing the fresh leaves to dry. This oxidation may be stopped by pan-frying or steaming the leaves before they completely dry out. Depending on the amount of degree of fermentation tea may be classified as :
- Non-Fermented or Lightly Fermented Tea (0% to 10% Fermentation) – These teas undergo minimum oxidation, therefore retaining a lot of their original flavor. They also retain maximum oxidants due to a lesser amount of oxidation. Green Tea falls into this category.
- Semi Fermented Tea (10% – 80% Fermentation) – Tea processed from semi-fermented tea leaves have light yellow or brownish color and have a subtle aroma. Oolong Tea, Champagne Oolong Tea, and Jasmine Tea are a few examples in this category.
- Fully Fermented Tea ( More than 80% fermentation) – Teas with more than 80% of fermentation are considered fully fermented. They are dark reddish in color and sweet smell. Black Tea comes under this category.
The figure shows the difference between green and black tea processing and its influence on the final polyphenol content.
**EGCG – Epigallocatechin -3 gallate, EGC – Egallocatechin, ECG – Epicatechin – 3 – gallate, EC – Epicatechin
- Withering – It is carried out by spreading leaves thinly on racks or shelves.Air is blown to make them soft and flexible.Dried till moisture content is lowered to 40%.It takes 16-24 hours for the leaves to wither to the required degree.
- Rolling – The withered leaves are then rolled to break open the cells and release the juices and the enzymes. The flavour characteristic inherent in various teas partially depend on the rolling technique used.Curled,Crushed and Torn techniques are used for rolling.
- Fermentation (Here) – After rolling, leaves are spread thinly on suitable platforms and allowed to ferment 2-6 hours at temperature between 21-27 degree centigrade. Phenolic compounds are oxidised to form new phenolic compounds. Colour, Taste and Aroma changes with fermentation.
- Firing – The fermented leaf is passed thrpugh drier.The leaf is dried at 87-93 degree centigrade for 30-40 min.Some caramelisation occurs at this phase too.
Why Green Tea got special Nutritional Status?
Green tea is much more than a hot beverage. It is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants due to the minimum oxidation it undergoes compared to other teas. . It is a zero-calorie beverage if it is not sweetened. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
Nutritional Value of regular brew green tea ( 3.5 ounce/100 ml/ 1 small cup)
|Water||99 ml water|
|Vitamin C||0.3 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.005 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.03 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.06 mg|
Reference : USDA nutritional data. U.S Department of Agricultural Sciences.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
1. Green Tea For Weight Loss
People have started taking obesity very lightly as every third person around is Obese. But Obesity is associated with many health issues like High blood pressure, Type -2 Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, Strokes, Cancer, and many more. So, it is very important to maintain a healthy weight for good health in long run.
Green Tea helps in weight loss for people who are struggling with excessive weight. It controls weight by preventing fats to build up in the body. It also increases metabolism by further helping in burning calories and losing some weight. Caffeine present in green tea acts as a stimulant to burn fats. Green Tea contains Catechins, phenolic compounds, (30-42%) which trigger burning the calories.
Water Retention is another major issue in obesity. Green tea helps the body to get rid of excess water, which is not required by the body.
Green Tea keeps you away from feeling bloated and detoxifies your body from time to time.
If you have a heavy meal like Pizza or Burger or Mysore Masala Dosa or Chicken Dum/Mutton Biryani, You can have a cup of green tea after some time to prevent the accumulation of fats from the meal in the body.
It doesn’t mean that you can have high-fat foods or junk every day in every meal and get away with the side effects by drinking Green Tea. You Can never achieve your weight loss this way.
It is advisable to eliminate the intake of Junk foods, have healthy homemade meals, and have regular physical activity for healthy weight loss.
No single superfood or SuperDrink is available for WeightLoss.
2. Green Tea for Diabetes
In diabetes, Spikes in glucose levels occur from the food we eat. Starch present in the food breaks down to simple sugars like glucose by an enzyme called Amylase (Secreted by Salivary Glands and Pancreas). Polyphenols present in green tea reduce the production of this enzyme. So lesser the amounts of this enzyme starch are converted to sugar at a slow rate. So lesser Insulin is required to regulate blood sugar. This prevents the early onset of diabetes by decreasing insulin resistance. Green Tea is a good option for Diabetes.
3. Green Tea for Cholesterol
High Bad Cholesterol levels (LDL) in the body can cause Plaque formation on the arteries and result in Heart strokes, Angina, and Coronary Artery Disease.
Polyphenols present in Green tea lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) leaving the Good Cholesterol Untouched. If you look forward to lowering your cholesterol combine green tea with low cholesterol foods and add exercise to your daily routine for magical results.
4. Green Tea for Healthy Heart
As we read above Cholesterol Levels are the chief cause of Cardio Vascular Disease. When a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries and narrows down its path resulting in a harder flow of blood, it may result in heart stroke or failure. Narrowing down of arteries is called Atherosclerosis.
Another main cause of heart failure is Clot formation known as Thrombosis. This blood clot obstructs the flow of blood to any part of the heart resulting in a heart attack.
The aromatic green tea protects our heart from High Cholesterol levels and Blood clots. It prevents the oxidation of LDL minimizing the chances of heart disease. It prevents the formation of blood clots and helps the blood vessels to withstand the changes in blood pressure.
So definitely green tea helps to have a healthy heart.
5. Green Tea as Stress Buster
The rising incidence of stress in modern lives is a global Phenomenon. According to statistics, almost 70% of the World Population is under constant stress. Stress is very detrimental to health and can negatively impact your Immunity and make you susceptible to illness. It is shocking to know that Stress impacts 80% of illnesses people suffer.
Stress can cause Heart Problems, Inflammation of the Skin, Asthma, Obesity, Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, Diabetes, Headaches, Gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s disease, Aging, and Early death.
Stress is the deadliest health Sucker mankind is facing.
How green tea helps in controlling stress?
The polyphenols present in the green tea extract ensure the regular supply of primary fuel, glucose to the brain. The polyphenols and flavonoids present in green tea have a calming effect on the mind and body that can help in creating a positive mood.
The amino acid L- Theanine crosses the Blood-Brain Barrier.
what is the blood-brain barrier? well, it is a system put in place by the body to prevent the brain from anything harmful in the body from reaching the brain. Only what the body considers safe is allowed to pass through this natural defense system.
This amino acid L-Theanine when reaches the brain, controls the Central Nervous System. It blocks neurons that transmit stress signals to the body. It alters neurotransmitters levels like Dopamine and Serotonin that affect our moods.
In Synergy with Caffeine, this amino acid improves Cognition Power and makes it an effective stress buster.
6. Green Tea for Good Hair and Skin
- It contains antioxidants and alkaloids like theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine which helps in reversing the hair damage due to pollution, hard water, and harsh chemicals in shampoo and conditioners.
- Green Tea contains a component called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol that prevents hair loss. It inhibits the production of Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) a molecule that is the culprit behind hair loss. EGCG also strengthen hair roots and activate hair follicles for hair regrowth.
- It contains catechin which has 5- alpha-reductase inhibiting properties. This in turn suppresses the production of Di hydro testosterone. a substance that causes hair loss in men and women.
- Consuming green tea on regular basis has proven to revitalize old skin cells and keep the skin wrinkle-free and Acne free.
7. Green Tea For Cancer
Green tea has two active ingredients Flavonoids and Polyphenols, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Catechins, in green tea, are potent anti-cancer agents. Regular intake has been associated with lower colon cancer, Stomach cancers, Gastric, Lung, and Esophageal cancers.
8. Green Tea for Immunity
Green tea poses Anti Viral, Anti Bacterial, and Anti Fungal properties due to rich EGCG components. This component interferes with the replication cycles of DNA in viruses like hepatitis, influenza, and Herpes simplex viruses.
EGCG also exhibits anti-fungal and bacterial properties against human pathogenic yeast like Candida albicans and staphylococcus aureus or stenotrophomonas maltophilia. It binds to the lipid membranes and affects the folic acid metabolism of bacteria and fungi by inhibiting the enzyme dihydro reductase required by bacteria and fungi to proliferate.
Drinking green tea will protect from CORONA VIRUS is a myth. No superfood or drink is available to build immunity in a single day.
Follow proper respiratory hygiene, personal (body, mind and surroundings) cleanliness, healthy balanced diet, and healthy lifestyle for building immunity gradually.
After Water, Green Tea comes next as a healthy beverage. But how to take green tea for health benefits? There are numerous health benefits associated with green tea like aids in weight loss, preventing sugar spikes in diabetes, Keeping Heart-healthy, and preventing Cancer to name some. Knowing the health benefits, who can resist this drink? Swap 1 or 2 cups of your regular chai or coffee with green tea for its health benefits. Select the best green tea leaves to make a healthy beverage. Have 2-3 cups of Green Tea to get the maximum benefits from it. The best time to have green tea is mid-morning or early evening. Do not consume Green tea on an empty stomach or late in the evening to avoid the side effects associated with it. Sip in your cup of a freshly brewed cup of Green Tea guilt-free!!