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Green Tea - An Overview

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Green Tea - An Overview

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Are you intrigued to know more about the ongoing trend of having green tea? If yes, then look through the article below to know its details.

Written by

Dr. Zeba Jabeen

Medically reviewed by

Roopa

Published At July 27, 2022
Reviewed AtFebruary 2, 2023

What is Green Tea?

Green tea has been widely used in China and Japan for hundreds of years. It has also gained momentum globally due to its myriad health benefits. Green tea contains the maximum quantity of antioxidants among all tea varieties. It is one of the tea varieties obtained from the plant Camellia sinensis. Other products of this plant are black and oolong teas. Camellia sinensis leaves are plucked and processed to protect them from oxidation. The leaves are then treated with either steam heat or dry heat and preserved. The handling of other tea types differs from the coursing of green tea leaves.

What is Green Tea Made of?

Chemically green tea is complex. It comprises protein enzymes that make up its essential part; amino acids; carbohydrates; minerals; and other elements such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, fluorine, etc., and small amounts of lipids; vitamins B, C, and E; caffeine, theophylline; pigments like chlorophyll, carotenoids, and volatile compounds. In addition, green tea contains polyphenols, mostly flavonols, also known as catechins. There are four principal catechins in green tea: epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, and EGCG.

The Composition (%) Of Green Tea:

composition-of-green-tea

What Are the Different Types of Green Tea?

Green tea comes in several distinct varieties that differ in flavor and characteristics. Some of the well-known types are as follows:

  1. Bi Luo Chun is the favorite variety of Chinese people, and it has a sweet, herbal taste.

  2. Dragonwell is widely accepted in the U.S.A and comes from China. It comprises a mild, sweet flavor like a chestnut.

  3. Genmaicha is grown in Japan. This type has a sweet, roasted, vegetal taste mixed with puffed rice.

  4. Gunpowder is a Chinese variety in which dried leaves are compressed into pellets. It possesses a light, grassy flavor.

  5. Gyokuro is a Japanese green tea that is grown under shade. It has a perfect taste of umami.

  6. Hōjicha consists of roasted leaves and stems, which gives it a woody flavor, so coffee lovers prefer it. It has low caffeine content.

  7. Jasmine is a favorite blend among all green tea varieties. The soft and sweet flavor of jasmine flowers gives it a light taste.

  8. Kukicha is made from steamed Japanese tea stems and has a sweet herbal flavor with low caffeine content.

  9. Matcha comes from Japan. It is dispensed as a tea powder and has a bittersweet flavor.

  10. Sencha is a widely known variety in Japan, and it contains a vegetal and grassy flavor.

How Much Caffeine Does Green Tea Have?

Green tea comprises significantly less caffeine as compared to other tea varieties. One cup of green tea contains around 12 mg to 75 mg of caffeine. However, the caffeine content varies as per the infusion time and the quantity of infused tea. Nevertheless, a green tea called matcha may comprise more caffeine than black tea or espresso.

How to Make Green Tea Shots?

It is easy to make green tea shots. However, its preparation differs from other teas because it does not require boiling water to produce. The boiling water has a negative effect on its making as it turns the taste of green tea leaves bitter. Hot or simmering water at a temperature of 150 to 180℉ is enough. Green tea also has a steeping time of only 20 to 30 seconds, beyond which its taste becomes unpalatably sharp. Therefore, only hot water is needed to make it, and additives like sugar, cream, etc., remain unnecessary. A little bit of lemon juice can sometimes be added to some varieties for taste modification. The various green teas have different infusion times and temperatures, so each variety should be prepared accordingly. Again, the packet should be referred to for the instruction details.

Why is Green Tea Good for You?

Green tea does a plethora of good to the health when consumed regularly in an optimal quantity.

Some of its benefits for health are listed as:

  • Green Tea is Nutrient-rich: It is full of essential and rare nutrients. It also contains catechins and other elements. Fluoride is also detected in green tea, which strengthens the teeth.

  • Green Tea may Promote Weight Loss: The catechins and caffeine in green tea may promote weight loss by increasing metabolism. However, the effect may be inhibited with a high-calorie diet or added sweeteners.

  • Green Tea may Decrease the Symptoms of Arthritis: When taken along with the medications, green tea may relieve the manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

  • Green Tea may Have Anti-cancer Effects: It has been proved to have protective UVB-causing skin cancer effects. It may also help prevent other types of cancer like breast, bladder, ovarian, colorectal, esophageal, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers.

  • Green Tea has Anti-inflammatory Dermatological effects: The components in green tea, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), portray anti-inflammatory effects in skin conditions such as eczema and genital warts. It is used in cosmetics, too, as its topical application also produces the same results. It helps in the repair of skin cell damage caused by UV rays.

  • Green Tea may Reduce Insulin Resistance: In cases of type-2 diabetes, the inclusion of green tea in the diet may help in decreasing insulin resistance and managing the diabetic condition. Green tea consumption also reduces the chances of developing diabetes mellitus in otherwise healthy individuals.

  • Green Tea Improves Brain Health and Alertness: The caffeine in green tea stimulates the nervous system. L-theanine enhances concentration and mental focus. Green tea may also prevent Alzheimer’s disease and may assist in treating neuropsychiatric conditions like dementia and mental issues such as social anxiety disorder, etc.

  • Green Tea Safeguards Cardiac Health: Green tea decreases bad cholesterol in the body, lowers high blood pressure, and reduces the chances of stroke. It has been significantly proven to decrease the risk of cardiovascular and other ischemic conditions.

What Does Green Tea Do?

Besides, being healthy is beneficial to health. However, green tea may pose the following problems:

  • In people with severe caffeine sensitivity, it causes insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and stomach issues.

  • It affects liver health when taken in high concentrations, and it should be avoided in patients with liver diseases.

  • It may interact with drugs and decrease their efficacy, such as beta-blockers. It also lowers the blood levels of certain medicines.

  • It also harms the liver when used along with over-the-counter drugs for weight loss.

  • When consumed in increased amounts during pregnancy or lactation, it may produce birth- defects and affect a breastfeeding infant’s health.

Conclusion:

Green tea has abundant health gains, especially the medicinal effects. Yet, it should only be consumed in appropriate amounts. Its overdose causes critical health issues, and it should be discontinued or avoided in certain circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?

The benefits of green tea are as follows:
- Improves brain function.
- Weight loss.
- Lowers the risk of cancer.
- Prevents bad breath.
- Slows down brain aging.
- Helps to control type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Improves skin.
- Lowers cholesterol levels.

2.

Can Green Tea Be Consumed Every Day?

Yes. Drinking green tea daily can help in weight reduction and has many health benefits. But drinking more than five cups of green tea per day may cause problems rather than benefits.

3.

What Is the Ideal Time to Drink Green Tea?

Drinking green tea in the morning helps in improving brain function and calming the mood. Certain studies have shown that drinking green tea before working out is beneficial as it facilitates increased fat burning.

4.

Can Green Tea Be Taken on an Empty Stomach?

Green tea should not be taken on an empty stomach. Having green tea on an empty stomach leads to increased acid production in the stomach, which can cause nausea, stomach pain, a burning sensation, or constipation. It can also damage the liver due to its high catechin content.

5.

What Are the Side Effects of Green Tea?

The side effects of green tea are as follows:
- Liver damage.
- Insomnia.
- Anxiety.
- Irritability.
- Nausea.
- Tremors.
- Glaucoma.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Seizures.
- Diarrhea.

6.

Can Green Tea Be Consumed at Night?

Yes, it is good to have green tea at night. Consuming green tea at night not only improves sleep but also has many health benefits. But it may increase the number of nighttime wakings due to the need to pee.

7.

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea for the Skin?

The advantages of green tea for the skin are as follows:
- Prevents redness and skin irritation.
- Fights against acne.
- Gives protection against skin cancer.
- Moisturizes the skin.
- Controls premature aging.

8.

Does Green Tea Burn Belly Fat?

Green tea helps in losing body fat and weight due to the presence of natural antioxidants, catechins. The antioxidants increase the rate of metabolism and fat burning thereby reducing belly fat.

9.

Can Sugar Be Added to Green Tea?

It is good to have green tea without any additions. But sugar can be added to reduce the bitterness. However, as sugar is rich in calories, alternatives like milk, honey, fresh ginger, mint leaves, or lemon juice can be added.

10.

Who Should Not Drink Green Tea?

Green tea should not be consumed by people who have the following conditions:- 
- High blood pressure.
- Heart problems.
- Stomach ulcers.
- Kidney problems.
- Liver problems.
- Psychological disorders like anxiety.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding.

11.

Does Drinking Green Tea Cause Gas Formation?

Green tea is rich in strong polyphenols and antioxidants that increase the production of stomach acids. Hence, consuming green tea, especially on an empty stomach can disturb the digestive system resulting in gas and bloating.

12.

What Are the Benefits of Adding Lemon to Green Tea?

The benefits of adding lemon to green tea are as follows:
- Promotes weight loss.
- Improves heart health.
- Protects against diabetes.
- Enhances brain health.
- Provides hydration.
- Prevents kidney stones.
- Boosts immunity.
- Protects against cancer.
- Decreases cholesterol.
- Improves skin health.

13.

How Much Green Tea Leaves Should Be Used in One Cup of Tea?

One teaspoon (three to five grams) of green tea leaves can be added to one cup of water. In the case of green tea bags, one bag would be sufficient for one cup.

14.

Can Green Tea Cause Kidney Stones?

Consuming high amounts of kidney tea was believed to cause kidney stones due to the high oxalate content. However, recent studies have shown that compared to other varieties of tea,  green tea has a lower risk of kidney stones. Few studies show that certain compounds present in green tea help in the prevention of kidney stones.

15.

Is Green Tea Bad for the Stomach?

Yes, green tea can cause stomach irritation when consumed on an empty stomach or brewed strongly. Tannins present in green tea can stimulate excess stomach acid production leading to digestive issues like nausea, stomach ache, acid reflux, constipation, etc.
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Roopa
Roopa

Nutritionist

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