Green Tea | Numerous Health Benefits
Health Benefits of Green Tea
It is hard not to be enthused about green tea because of the many medicinal properties.
Over the last decade there have been conclusive studies about the health benefits of green tea and its potential to combat heart disease and cancer. Furthermore, there has been some research on how green tea may help with various health concerns such as:
- Weight loss
- Low blood pressure
Note: There has not been enough research that can support all the possible health benefits of green tea.
Green Tea Medicinal Properties
The health benefits of green tea come from the antioxidants called catechins. Antioxidants are known to enhance the immune system by helping stop free radicals that damage DNA. These free radicals can contribute to cancer, atherosclerosis and blood clots.
Green tea is also high in flavonoids and polyphenols. In fact, green tea contains 30-40% polyphenols by weight. Although it has not been determined how much green tea is needed to reap the benefits. Approximately 300-400 mg of polyphenols should be taken daily. That is around 4 cups of green tea.
Green Tea vs. Black Tea
Although both green and black tea comes from the same plant (Camellia sinensis) their properties are very different. Because green tea is less processed than black tea it contains a lot more beneficial catechins. In fact, many researchers say that the health benefits of green tea are considerably higher than black tea. Studies have shown that catechins are significantly reduced in black tea due to the fermentation process.
Moreover, black tea contains high amounts of caffeine. Where green tea contains 2% to 4% caffeine or around 10-80 milligrams per cup, black tea has two to three times more caffeine than green tea.
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Ways to Use Green Tea
Since this is the New Year and National Hot Tea Month it is an excellent time to enjoy the health benefits of green tea. Whether you have a New Year's resolution to reduce caffeine consumption, lose weight or live a better lifestyle, green tea is a healthy choice.
There are a wide variety of ways to using green tea. You can create a classic mint green tea by adding fresh spearmint or peppermint leaves when brewing. You can make a green tea latte by adding steamed milk or soymilk once the tea is brewed. Green tea can also be served iced or you can add it when baking cakes and cookies, to smoothies, soups and homemade ice cream.
How to Make Traditional Green Tea
The ideal method of making green tea is in a traditional Japanese teapot called a kyusu but it is not crucial. To get premium quality it is also recommended to use fresh tea leaves as opposed to tea bags. Some people even grow their own tea and pick it fresh from the plant right before brewing.
The kind of water you use is essential to ensure quality flavor and to receive the full health benefits of green tea. Tap water is not recommended because it gives the tea a bitter taste and because of the chemicals. Use either home filtered water or bottled mineral water.
Amount of Green Tea to Use
There are many types of green tea such as Sencha, Kabusecha, Gyokuro, Genmaicha, Bancha and Hojicha. Generally, the higher quality the leaf the more leaf and less water you use. Customarily, for every ounce of water it is recommended to use the following amounts of green tea leaves:
- Genmaicha, Bancha & Hojicha: 0.5 to 1g
- Sencha & Kabusecha: 0.75 to 1.25g
- Gyokuro: 1g to3g
When brewing green tea, water temperature is also very important. If the water is to hot you will have a very bitter tasting tea. First heat your water to a boil in a kettle then add the water to your teapot. Let the water cool to the appropriate temperature. Listed are the ideal temperatures for brewing certain green teas:
- Genmaicha, Bancha & Hojicha: 176-194°F
- Sencha: 140-158°F
- Kabusecha: 140-149°F
- Gyokuro: 104-140°F
Seeping time can vary depending on the type of green tea you use. Likewise, do not stir, mix or shake the tea while it is brewing. The following are recommended seeping times for a variety of green teas:
- Genmaicha, Bancha & Hojicha: 30 seconds to 1 minute
- Sencha & Kabusecha: 1-2 minutes
- Gyokuro: 2-3 minutes
Once the leaves are infused you want to pour the tea gently and slowing into your teacup so that the filter does not clog. It will also make a big difference in the taste of the tea. If you brewed more than one cup then pour a little bit of the tea into each cup alternately until the teapot is empty. That way each cup will have equal strength. Have fun and enjoy the health benefits of green tea.