What is green tea?
Green tea has been enjoyed for centuries in places like Japan, which coincidentally also boasts the highest life expectancy age in the world. The tea is made using leaves from the Camellia sinesis plant, a small tree that is native to Asian countries like China, Japan and even India. Unlike other variants of tea, such as Jasmine or Oolong, the leaves involved with the preparation of green tea are immediately steamed and left to dry out in order to avoid fermentation.
In recent years, green tea has gained more prominence in the West, with many appreciating the taste and recognising the health benefits of the beverage. Pukka tea in particular has grown exponentially over the last decade, being applauded for its range of flavours and dedication to quality.
Why should you be drinking green tea?
1. Boosts your immune function: Countless studies over the years have raged about the numerous benefits that green tea has in relation to the immune system. The tea contains high levels of catechins, a type of flavonoid with anti-oxidant properties. These catechins also possess anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities, allowing them to support your immune system and ward off any potential infections, like the common cold or flu.
Further research has also implied that green tea can even play a role in the treatment of cancer. A small study was conducted in 2012 where 42 patients were given a green tea extract known as polyphenon. Around a third of the participants found that there had been a reduction in their number of leukaemic cells, possibly hinting at the additional merits of the tea, although more research is still needed in this area.1
2. Reduces the risk of heart disease: Not one of the better-known benefits of green tea, but it has been shown that consistent consumption of the beverage can reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s theorised that green tea can have some advantages for blood vessels, guarding against the possibility of clots. This was later supported by research published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, which found that blood vessel function improved for those who drank green tea, within just half an hour!
In Japan, another study was carried out that revealed that patients who drank more than 5 cups of green tea a day had a 26% reduced risk of dying from a heart attack. This also could be due to the positive effects that green tea can have on your blood pressure and cholesterol.
3. Good for weight management and cholesterol: Green tea is an excellent source of EGCG, or Epigallocatechin gallate, a type of catechin that can stimulate your metabolism. EGCG also inhibits the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that can encourage your fat cells to start breaking down more fat. Green tea also contains anti-oxidants that can diminish your levels of bad cholesterol, which can boost your energy, lower your risk of stroke and improve your circulation.
4. Can improve your memory and concentration: When your blood circulation is enhanced it can have a pleasing knock-on effect on your memory and concentration. Matcha green tea in particular contains ample amounts of L-Theanine, an amino-acid that can stimulate the production of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ and dopamine, a hormone that can aid concentration and regulate the flow of information from the brain. Increased levels of both hormones can have a positive impact on your mood and memory, enabling you to focus more and feel more relaxed and at ease.
5. Loaded with skincare benefits: Green tea is now starting to gain recognition as a skincare treatment for spots and acne due to its anti-bacterial properties. Rather than being drank, it is often applied topically, even to sunburnt or damaged skin. It is also widely regarded as having anti-ageing qualities, as the polyphenols in green tea are able to fight the damage caused by free radicals, toning skin and slowing down the ageing process. Even those with more serious skin conditions like rosacea or psoriasis have also found green tea to be a useful natural remedy for certain symptoms, like inflammation, redness and irritation.