How numerous the benefits of green tea are! Among all kind of drinks green tea is one of the kind. So tasty, so beneficial, so easy to make, so affordable to have for anyone.
Green Tea is a drink made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. Camellia sinensis is a biological name of the herb in the family Theaceae. Not only is green tea made from Camellia, also black, white, oolong, other mixtures. The secret of different types of tea from one plant is explained in different other issues of growing and process of making.
Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant. It is usually a small tree or big shrub that grows up to two meters. It has several stems growing from strong hairy root. Its hard and rather thick leaves are 4–15 cm long; and 2–5 cm broad. Young leaves are light green in color, older leaves are dark green. Camellia has yellow-white little flowers.
Green Tea comes from China. As for the plant Camellia, it is native to southern parts of Asia. Today it is cultivated around the world. To grow well Camellia needs sun or partial shade, and well drained soil. So, it is easily cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates. It needs more watering when it is in bloom or actively growing. Camellia can reach the size of rather huge tree if not cut (cutting is needed so the pickers can gather the leaves). The leaves even now are harvested by hands, which is very important for the quality of a drink.
Best teas are grown in several countries – China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon Tea) and some others. Different climate of these countries, the temperature of their climates (even if the watering, the harvesting and the processing are the same) makes every tea from every specific region unique and special, one of its own kinds.
For green tea (as well as for every other kind of tea) the young, light green leaves are used. They are harvested be hand every 1 or 2 week. Only whether it is only one top leaf is picked or several of them determine the quality of tea. If the first top leaf of a branch is gathered – this is the tea of very high quality. After the harvesting the leaf must be immediately steamed (Japanese method) or roasted (Chinese method). That is made in large metal specially designed “woks”. Steaming (or roasting is needed to stop oxidation, to break down the enzymes in the leaf that cause fermentation, to get rid of the specific leaf odor, and to make the leaf softer (for rolling), thus keeping its green color. This process is very short (lasts about 2 minutes). After this, leaves are rolled, then dried, sorted, and packed. Only 24 hours – and a tea is made.
Teas are sold in their dried form. You can find green tea on the market, or green tea that is combined with other teas or flavors. Green tea with jasmine, mint and honey are very popular. You can find green tea also together with black one or with species.
Among Chinese Green Tea Dragon Mountain, Green Top, Zhuchá, Green Snail Spring, Rain Flower, Green Tip, Tippy Green, Melon Seed, Monkey tea, Cloud and Mist, Fire Green, and Hyson are very popular. Most famous Japanese Green Teas include Jade Dew, Brown-Rice tea and Bancha. Ceylon Green Teas are extremely popular.
These types of tea vary in appearance; they can be dark yellow, yellow or pale green in color. The taste of green tea also differs – from mild to strong and grassy in taste.
There are also extracts made from the leaves and leaf buds available.
Due to the fact that green tea undergoes minimum processing (except for white tea) it keeps all its beneficial properties. The secret of green tea lies in content of catechin polyphenols. 50 to 150 mg of it is present in one average cup of prepared drink. This constituent is a powerful anti-oxidant. Its most famous property is ability to kill cancer cells, keeping healthy tissue intact and to reduce growing of cancer cells in the tissue.
The leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for different purposes.
· Green Tea helps to prevent cancer
Cancer rates tend to be low in countries where people like to drink green tea and drink it regularly (though it is hard to determine the exact reason of the tendency). The chemical polyphenols may play an important role in cancer prevention (much more effective than vitamin C and E). Studies and researches show great results in case of bladder cancer, the cancer of breast, skin, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer.
Conflict results give studies and researches of lung and colorectal cancer – further studies are required.
· Green Tea lowers „bad” cholesterol (LDL)
Tea-drinkers can eat much more foods containing cholesterol as those who don’t drink green tea, and still have the same cholesterol count. Green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises „good” cholesterol.
· Green Tea helps prevent atherosclerosis
The antioxidant properties of green tea may help prevent atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease. Green tea chemicals stop the abnormal formation of blood cloth. Thrombosis, the result of the unnatural blood cloth formation, is one of the main causes of strokes and heart attacks.
· Reduces high blood pressure
· Green Tea lowers blood sugar
Polyphenols and polysaccharides are the green tea constituents and are two main antioxidants, which are especially effective in controlling blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes produce little or absolutely no insulin, a hormone that converts glucose (sugar), fructose and other foods into energy. Green tea may help regulate glucose in the body.
· Green Tea protects liver
It protects liver against damaging effects of toxic substances such as alcohol and chemicals in cigarette smoke. If you drink more than 10 cups of green tea daily – you are less likely to develop liver disorders.
· Boosts your immune system function
Thanks to high concentration of polyphenols and flaveboids again.
· Helps to loose weight
As green tea stimulates metabolism and help burn fat it is widely used in various diets. One study confirmed the fact that the combination of green tea and caffeine improved weight loss in people who are overweight or moderately obese (though another study found no proofs).
· Keeps you younger
Green tea destroys free radicals that results in aging.
· Keeps from stress and fatigue
Green tea helps your body to relax and relieve fatigue and stress that are often caused by dehydration.
· Has antibacterial and antiviral properties
Green tea lowers (or even stops) the spread of disease, speeds up recovery from cold and flu. It also promotes oral health – it destroys the bacteria that form plaque, and bacteria that cause bad breath.
Green Tea has only one negative side effect. Due to the amount of caffeine (about 4 % in fresh leaves) it can result in insomnia. However, green tea contains less caffeine than coffee.
To get all the beneficial advantages of Green tea drink it freshly brewed, after you let your tea steep for about 5 minutes before drinking. Good health to you.