Drinking tea has become so prevalent that it is second only to water as the most consumed beverage globally. It has transcended cultural boundaries and restrictions to become widely appreciated. Consuming tea is more than a health booster; it is also a social activity that can have significant underlying connotations in many cases.
If it seems as though everyone and their cousin are raving about green tea these days, rest assured that there is a good reason. Green tea has gained worldwide popularity over the last few years, primarily because of its health benefits. However, it is not new to some cultures and communities drinking green tea for centuries.
What makes green tea so healthy?
Green tea is taken to be one of the healthiest beverages you can get on the planet today, primarily because it is chock full of antioxidants. These have numerous health benefits, including:
- Fat loss.
- Improved brain function.
- Lowered risk of heart disease.
- Protection against cancer.
- Lower risk of diabetes.
- Anti-aging effects, both in the brain and body.
- Reduction of bad breath.
- Possible increased life span.
Most teas use the dried leaves of the plant. In contrast, green tea is made from the unoxidised leaves of the Camellia Sinensis bush. By leaving them minimally processed, the tea retains the most antioxidants and polyphenols.
Green Tea and Weight management
One of the primary benefits of consistently consuming green tea is that it may boost your metabolism, thus increasing fat burn and inducing weight loss. The primary driver of this effect is the catechin and other phytonutrients- natural chemicals produced by plants to keep them healthy. Phytonutrients also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which are valuable for weight loss.
Some studies have also shown that taking green tea after significant weight loss renders you more likely to maintain your new lower weight over time.
In addition to fat-burning, green tea can affect your insulin levels. Consequently, you experience greater feelings of satisfaction after a meal so that you can stick closer to your daily caloric limits.
The Role of antioxidants
Every time green tea is mentioned, there is almost always a follow-up statement extolling its high levels of antioxidants. This emphasis is significant because the antioxidants mentioned above have numerous health benefits. The most impactful advantage is the protection they provide the body against diseases. Those found particularly in green tea may help protect against cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Besides green tea, some good alternative sources of beneficial antioxidants include fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods. Additionally, there are now green tea supplements readily available in health stores.
Nutritional composition of green tea
To understand what makes green tea such a desirable product all around, you need to know its nutritional breakdown, starting with the calories. Almost unbelievably, every cup of green tea contains fewer than three calories.
Like other teas, green tea does have some caffeine. However, there is a considerable difference in amounts; compared to black tea, which has 47mg of caffeine per cup and coffee, with 95mg, green tea only has 29mg in every 8-ounce cup.
Note that the levels of caffeine in tea vary depending on the duration and amount of tea you are steeping.
Preparing green tea depends on the type you have available. If you use leaves or tea bags, you simply have to steep them in hot water to your desired strength. Alternatively, some sources grind the leaves into a powder known as matcha. When using this, you may simply mix it into a cup of hot water and enjoy. Finally, green tea supplements come in three forms, capsules, powders and liquid extracts. Powdered types like Green Tea X50 + Resveratrol require nothing more than a mix in water before you partake. On the other hand, you can take the capsules together with your vitamin pills at regular intervals.
Green Tea in your meals
While the name conjures thoughts of sipping on a mug of hot tea, you are not limited to that alone. You can add green tea to your favourite smoothies for a bit of variety in your health drinks. Stepping further away from the box, you can add green tea to your cereal or breakfast porridge or use it to steam rice and veggies. Steeped green tea also works well in stews, sauces, soups and marinades. If you are feeling somewhat adventurous, why not add some matcha powder to hummus, your next curry, some pancakes or other baked goods?
The theme here is versatility. There are a plethora of foods that you can use to enrich a serving of green tea.
So, with all this newfound insight into the wonders of green tea, don’t hesitate to try. With all the health benefits you will enjoy, this will be one bandwagon you will not regret jumping on.