Health Benefits of Green Tea. Is It a Super Food?
Green tea has been around for centuries and was first noted in China around 600AD by author Lu Yu, where the tea is said to have been brewed for medicinal purposes. It is widely promoted as one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, but is it truly the super food it is made out to be?
Supposedly, owing to the way that the tea leaves are processed, green tea is higher in antioxidants than other tea strains. Though green tea is made from the same plant as regular black tea, when making green tea, the leaves are not given the opportunity to oxidise, therefore leaving them green in colour as opposed to dark brown or black. By not oxidising the leaves, the powerful nutrients and antioxidants are richer than in black tea. Furthermore, as green tea is served without milk, it is healthier for you, as milk can decrease the total antioxidant value in the tea by reducing the flavonoid content. Good news for vegans.
In the western world, green tea is drunk widely due to the belief it is a super food. With suggestions in the press and on the internet that is promotes weight loss, can prevent cancer and cuts cholesterol, it’s no surprise people are so keen to introduce the drink into their diet. Even the NHS encourages people to drink green tea, citing research from a review in 2013 by the Cochrane Heart Group about the effect of the tea on cholesterol and blood pressure. The review supports that the catechins found in green tea lead to a reduction in cholesterol, the main cause of heart disease and strokes. Papers such as the Telegraph praise the tea and its benefits regularly, but how much truth lies behind these claims?
There is much speculation about exactly how beneficial green tea is to health. One of the largest claims about green tea is that it prevents cancer. However, according to the NHS, there is no evidence that green tea alone can prevent cancer, and the link between the two is “weak”. A recent study in 2015 led by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Singapore, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in the US looked at the effects of green tea to fight cancer when combined with a drug called Herceptin. The results looked promising and human trials are now being planned. If they prove to be successful and help minimise the effects of cancer, green tea truly will be a super food.
There are also claims green tea can help to prevent and protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia. Nerve cell death associated with both Alzheimer’s and dementia is said to be slowed by the antioxidants in green tea.
Nearly everybody in their life time will try and lose weight somehow, and many celebrities swear by green tea to assist their weight loss, or to maintain their trim figures. As green tea is 99% water when brewed, it has a miniscule calorie content. Owing to this, it means you can drink as much of it as you like, and will not gain any weight from it. Hot drinks are known to give a feeling of fullness after consumption, meaning that people who drink green tea may be less hungry, therefore aiding weight loss. Green tea also contains properties than can help to increase your metabolic rate, therefore helping to burn fat in the short term. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea extract increases the metabolism by 4% over a 24-hour period.
Not only effective for weight loss, green tea can also aid oral hygiene. It helps to give you better breath as it kills the microbes in your mouth responsible for bad breath and also can prevent cavities and gum disease. This is because of the compounds in green tea that are responsible for stopping bacteria attacking your teeth as well as decreasing your chance of inflammation.
There is no rock-solid evidence that green tea has outstanding health properties, but as it is rich in natural antioxidants and flavonoids and has close to zero calories, it is a very healthy drink and can help cleanse your body of toxins. It’s a great alternative to normal tea! Green tea is best served with water that is not boiling as this can damage the leaves and alter the flavour. For the best green tea, we suggest our Eco, Quadra or Sahara taps as the water comes out just below 100C and therefore will not affect the taste of your cup of tea!