Note: This is part of a series of posts on the science of tea. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)
Green Tea Makes You Happier?
Over 158 million Americans will drink tea on any given day, and it’s obviously the go-to-beverage when plain water won’t do. Among those 158 billion tea consumers are green tea aficionados. While only 15% are green tea drinkers, its growth is outpacing all other tea forms, with a 60% increase in consumption since 2004. Why the crazy growth? Well, green tea has a lot to make you happy about.
A Diverse History
Green tea was discovered in its greenest form over five thousand years ago. While stories vary, some versions of leaf’s history have a flower magically falling into a teacup. In contrast, another has an Emperor chewing a leaf, imaging how delicious it would be steeped in water. The most important book to set the record straight was Cha Jing, or Tea classic, written around 600 AD. The book detailed exactly how a cup of green tea should be made and how it should be served. Today, green tea is prepared in the same way (or should be), and drinking it has multiple health benefits. Green tea is the result of semi-oxidized leaves from camellia Sinensis. Flavors and aromas vary greatly depending on the season of harvest, country of origin, and method used to process. According to the Local Tea Company, flavored green teas are especially popular, where the best-sellers are Goji Green, Organic Strawberry Smile, and Acerola Green Tea. They offer 13 other green teas.
Feel the Power
Green tea is more than just a hydrating beverage that tastes great. The green tea plant contains a bevy of powerful compounds that make it into every cup. Rich in polyphenols (compounds great at reducing inflammation in the body), green tea is a cancer-fighting champion. Green tea also contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is one of the most powerful compounds in green tea. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other cellular protections. Together, these substances help reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals play a large role in aging and many types of diseases. The benefits of green tea are numerous, so it’s worth adding to your diet.
Perhaps the best news (and one that may make you happiest) is that green tea accelerates fat burning and boosts metabolic rate. Look at any weight loss supplement, and you will see green tea on the label; that’s because green tea is a dynamo for assisting weight loss programs.
But let’s not leave out our most important organ, the brain. With an increase in brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the brain needs protection, too. The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of dementia, a common neurodegenerative disorder in older adults. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in animal studies, possibly lowering the risk of dementia and memory loss.
Green tea consumption worldwide is growing, not only for its wonderful taste but for its endless health benefits. And as science backs up these benefits, it will only grow in popularity. Try to choose a higher caliber green tea brand, as some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive amounts of fluoride.
What’s the best green tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose leaf teas. Try their diverse blends of green tea and so many others.
Detoxifying Green Teas
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your year has gotten off to a good start. If not, and you were feeling bunged up and burned out after a few weeks of 2011, then it’s time to get the kettle on and brew yourself some tea! Detoxifying Green Teas.
Where to start? There are many teas at Local Tea Company that we can recommend you drink at this time of year to restore your energy and vitality. Today, I will concentrate on Green Tea. Again, we have many varieties to choose from, and the key is finding one that suits you. If you like the taste of a particular tea, the chances are you will drink more, so experiment till you find the tea for you.
Matcha Green Tea
You should note that Matcha is finely ground powdered green tea and is one of the healthiest beverages you can ingest. When you drink matcha, you are ingesting the whole leaf rather than an infusion of the tea leaf.
Most green tea benefits are gained from 2 components, a family of antioxidants called catechins, including EGCG (or epigallocatechin- 3 gallate), and an amino acid called L-Theanine. EGCG protects against cell damage that can result in disease. Several medical reports indicate that green tea has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. L-Theanine boosts the brain’s alpha wave levels, leading to greater mental focus and a feeling of relaxation. There is evidence that theanine also counteracts any negative behavior of caffeine.
Matcha is said to contain 10 times the antioxidants of regular green tea, and the same goes for L-Theanine content. If you cannot manage between 4 and 9 cups of regular green tea, then have 1 or 2 cups of matcha every day.
Matcha can be served in many ways; again, find what works for you. I am a juicer so blend right into my daily serving of fresh juice. You can add to your water bottle, make an iced or hot latte with soy, almond, rice milk, or drink a shot straight up. We offer a ceremonial grade of Matcha.
Green Tea Ice Cream
You can make ice cream too. Check out a previous post along with a recipe for green tea ice cream. Also, I have had customers tell me that they add matcha to their regular cuppa tea. Matcha is all good, so you need to start drinking matcha NOW.
There are some other traditional green teas you should know about. Goji Green contains the ‘superfruit’ goji berry, which also has powerful anti-oxidants.
Look out for my next blog, which will include some of our herbal teas, which also have healing properties. Time to put the kettle on; hope you are doing the same! Good health and happiness for 2011, and make sure you ‘take time for tea.’ Detoxifying Green Teas