The Magic of Green Tea
Most teas are considered healthy, but green tea offers just a few more health benefits than your traditional black and white teas. In fact, green tea is often considered one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. It can be enjoyed cold or hot, and at My Cup of Tea, with various other flavors added.
What is Green Tea?
All teas come from the Camellia sinensis, or tea plant, but the leaves are processed differently for each type of tea. Green tea leaves are not allowed to oxidize, accounting for an almost grassy and light flavor. Since green teas are the least processed of all teas, they offer additional health benefits and antioxidants. Although tea contains no fat, carbs, protein, or calories, the compounds called catechins offer anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and potentially anti-cancer effects.
The two main types of green tea are Sencha and Matcha, both available at My Cup of Tea. Sencha is the most common type of green tea and made according to the most common processing methods. The leaves are steamed and rolled to produce a refreshing flavor. Matcha, on the other hand, is Techa that is stoneground immediately before shipping. Unlike most other types of tea, when you drink matcha you’re consuming the entire tea leaf instead of the steeped flavors.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
As we mentioned, green tea comes with loads of health benefits. Studies show that the antioxidants in green tea are even more powerful than vitamins C and E in preventing damage to our bodies. A few of the health benefits of green tea include:
- Improved brain function
- Increased fat burning
- Lowered risk of cancer
Improved Brain Function and Aging
The key active ingredient in green tea is caffeine, known as a stimulant. Caffeine increases the firing of neurons, allowing it to improve mood, reaction-time, memory, and vigilance. In addition, green tea contains amino acid L-theanine, which offers anti-anxiety benefits and increased dopamine. This combination of caffeine and L-theanine can be particularly powerful in improving brain function without the jitters and crashes you can get with a cup of coffee. Studies show that green tea offers more stable energy and productivity when compared to other caffeinated beverages.
In addition to brain function, green tea can also protect the brain from aging. The catechin compounds in green tea can have a protective effect on neurons, possibly lowering the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like dementia and Parkinson’s.
Increased Fat Burning
According to research, green tea can boost metabolic rates. However, exactly how helpful tea will be in increasing fat burning will depend on each individual. In addition, the caffeine in green tea can also boost physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from fat tissue and converting them into energy. Since green tea can increase both physical performance and metabolic rate, it only makes sense that it can also help with fat burning and weight loss. Certain studies show that green tea can decrease body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference, and belly fat, but other studies prove that there may be no significant difference. Although green tea is not a weight-loss secret, it’s a low-calorie beverage that can be a big part of a sensible diet.
Lowered Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease
Oxidative damage can lead to chronic inflammation, which leads to chronic diseases, cancer being one of them. Antioxidants, such as those found in green teas, can help protect against oxidative damage. While drinking green tea is not a cancer preventative, many studies show that green tea drinkers are much less likely to develop certain types of cancers, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. This same oxidative damage can also play an important role in cardiovascular damage and disease, such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and congestive heart failure. By drinking green tea on a regular basis, you may be able to help prevent these cardiovascular diseases.
How to Prepare Green Tea
Because a green tea leaf is delicate, it doesn’t take a high water temperature to brew like many other teas. It also does not have to steep as long, typically two minutes versus five minutes for other types of teas. Steeping for too long or using water that is too hot can cause the aromas to flatten and the bitterness of the tea to come through.
Iced Tea vs. Hot Tea
Experienced tea drinkers probably already have opinions on hot tea versus iced tea, but beginners may be wondering if there is a difference other than temperature. The short answer is no. As long as the tea is steeped long enough, the health benefits of hot and iced teas are the same.
Iced Green Teas
Iced teas, such as our Mango Tango and Pomegranate Green, are brewed at a lower temperature than their black tea counterparts. Water temperature should be about 176°, and tea should only be steeped for 2 - 3 minutes. Once your tea has brewed, allow the tea to cool for 10 or so minutes and enjoy over ice.
Hot Green Teas
You brew hot teas, such as our Goji Berry Pomegranate Blueberry and Riverboat Queen Strawberry Green, in the same way that you brew iced teas. However, it’s important to remember that you will not be adding an additional water component to your hot tea, so be sure to taste test before you remove your leaves.
Brew With My Cup of Tea
Want to know more about green tea and its health benefits? Visit our YouTube where Cheryl and Carey spill the secrets of this grassy and light beverage. While you’re at it, check out our other Youtube videos for recipes, discussions, and more!
My Cup of Tea is a non-profit in Memphis, TN that serves as an office, packing hub, retail store, and place of refuge for the women of Orange Mound. Our mission is to provide women in our community with the tools they need to thrive. We import the highest quality tea from tea estates and gardens in the Far East where they are weighed, re-formatted, and packaged for sale by the women who work here. Your purchase of our teas or other products opens a pathway for positive change and upward mobility for the courageous women who create them. If green tea isn’t your cup of tea, you can shop all of our other teas on our website. We also offer holiday gift sets and an annual tea subscription.