Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Green tea health benefits

This article is the first of a series that I will dedicate to green tea and its amazing health benefits. I have been drinking green tea for about 2 years now and I will share with you everything that I learned: best teas to buy, my personal experience and preparation techniques.

The 2012 tea season is just about to start so please stay tune for regular posts on this topic!

A little piece of history

Green tea is made from the plant Camellia sinensis and originates from China (~ 4000 thousands years ago). It is widely consumed in Asia countries but its popularity in America has been on the rise since the last 10 years following more and more evidence of powerful positive health benefits.

Green tea vs. black tea

As you will learn, there are several types of tea available:

-        Green tea
-        Black tea
-        Oolong tea
-        White tea
-        Pu-Er tea

All the above teas originate from the same Camelia sinensis plant; the differences are in the oxidation technique used by the producers. For example, green tea is not oxidized at all vs. black tea which has oxidation level between 80% - 100% depending of its origin and time period of production. The oxidation level has a direct effect on the tea taste, texture and key nutriments ratio (caffeine, polyphenols, L-theanine).

You will learn how to appreciate all of those but for now let’s review the health benefits of green tea.

Why is green tea not oxidized?

Green tea produces (China, Japan, India...) typically apply heat on the fresh leaves which removes any possbility of oxidation. This is the most important aspect of green tea as it preservers its high anti-oxidant properties. Please note that other teas such as Black tea & Oolong tea also have their own health benefits as you will learn from my future articles so my recommendation to you is to try to appreciate all types of teas with an increased focus on green tea.

Health benefits

Green tea has gained significant popularity these days due to its amazing health benefits:

-        Lower risk of developing heart disease
-        Lower risk of developing certain types of cancer (green tea is a powerful anti-oxidant)
-        Polyphenols and caffeine can increase your metabolic rate and stimulate fat oxidation (can help you lose weight when combined with healthy habits)
-        Can be effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol)

The primary compounds responsible for such health benefits are called catechin polyphenols; particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which are found in high concentration in green tea.

Green tea journey

Now that you understand green tea’s health benefits and what it can do for you, it is now time to experience it! The next article will provide you a green tea buying guide based on my own experience.

Please share your personal experience and recommendations on green tea.

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