PETALING JAYA: There are tons of herbal teas on the market, from hibiscus and oolong tea to earl grey and chrysanthemum, but nothing hits the spot quite like a cup of green tea.
The oldest recorded serving of tea took place in 815, in the Shoku Nihon Koki (Later Chronicles of Japan), when Emperor Saga was offered tea in a temple. It was a luxury beverage enjoyed only by religious officials, royalty and the elite of Japan.
Japanese, or green tea comes in many varieties, such as Sencha, the most popular, Gyokuro, Fukamushi, Genmaicha, Houjicha and many more.
To the layman, there may not be much difference in terms of flavour, but the processes used in harvesting the green tea differ.
Green tea is said to have many health benefits with over 400 organic compounds in it. A daily cup of green goodness can be excellent for good health.
1. Contains antioxidant properties
The most beneficial nutrients in green tea are catechins – a powerful antioxidant. It is a potent compound said to alleviate the formation of free radicals and oxidative stress in the body.
The antioxidant properties of green tea are said to reduce the signs of ageing such as wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation and textured skin.
2. Energy and brain booster
Although green tea doesn’t contain much caffeine, it is said to be an energy and brain booster.
Green tea contains the highest amount of L-theanine, a nutrient known to provide cognitive support, improving concentration and alertness.
In fact, a little dose of green tea is believed to help in calming anxiety and getting rid of those coffee jitters.
3. Helps promote a healthy heart
Research has shown that drinking green tea regularly promotes heart health.
Polyphenols in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties that calm the lining of the blood vessels, which keeps blood pressure under control.
Reduced blood pressure curbs the formation of clots and plaque that could potentially cause a stroke or heart attack. Green tea is not only good for the blood vessels but for the entire circulatory system.
4. Helps in weight loss
The polyphenolic compound in green tea is said to help rev up the metabolism and fat-burning hormones, so green tea would be a good pre-workout drink.
Mind you, green tea is not a magical elixir to miraculously help you lose fat but a booster to a healthy lifestyle. Brew a cuppa to put your fats on blast!
5. Acts as a natural diuretic
High in caffeine content it may be, but it is also said to be rich in natural diuretic properties, so, drinking green tea may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infection and eliminate excess fluid in the body.
Two or three cups a day are said to flush the toxins away.
Preparation of green tea
The temperature at which green tea is brewed at and for how long determines the different flavours it takes on.
Brewing green tea at a low temperature enhances its sweetness and brewing at a high temperature for a longer time brings out more of the bitterness.