by David Williams
Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis which have been processed with a minimum of oxidisation. The leaves are gently heated to stop the oxidisation process by killing enzymes in the leaf. Black tea, on the other hand, is left to oxidise. Green tea has always been popular in Asia due to its health giving properties and is now becoming popular in the UK alongside black tea. Health giving properties had already been found in green tea by the Chinese in the 10th century BC. Around 80% of green tea is produced in China and was probably the first tea to be imported to the UK.
Flavonoids found in green tea are higher than in many other health giving drinks. These act as antioxidants and are anticarcinogenic. The result is a lower risk in developing heart disease and certain cancers. Green tea has also been seen as a weight loss aid. It doesn't make you lose weight itself but the caffeine and polyphenols boosts the metabolic rate which can help in weight loss.
The tea requires to be steeped for exactly the time recommended by the blender and the water needs to be of the correct temperature. The shorter steep time, the higher the quality of the tea. If the water is too hot or the tea is steeped too long, then tannins will be released and the taste will be bitter.
There are many reports showing the positive health effects of epigallocatechin gallate, commonly known as EGCG, which is found in abundance in green tea. It has been found to boost the immune system. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high green tea consumption reduces cognitive impairment. Yale University commented that there is fewer cases of cancer and heart disease in Asia even though many more of the population are smokers. Yale put this down to the large amounts of green tea drunk every day. Many studies linked the consumption of green tea to the reduction in cholesterol. This is through an increase in energy expenditure through raising metabolism without increasing heart rate or blood pressure. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also pointed out that presence of catechins could reduce body fat through oxidation resulting in weight loss. Western Reserve University found that green tea consumption can reduce arthritis through the presence of polyphenols.
Green tea should never be drunk with milk as it clumps the molecules and stops EGCG being as effective. Citrus can be added as it lowers the pH in the lower intestine and helps catechins to be absorbed. Some green tea blends have citrus added already.
Cho-yung produce Green Tea Health Blend which includes lotus leaf, alisma, cassia seeds, poria and southern ginseng blended with green tea. The combination should optimise digestion, reduce bloating and help in weight loss as part of your healthy eating plan. The product can be bought online or through Holland & Barrett. The tea comes in bag form inside a large plastic pouch. The bags themselves are sealed in their own plastic bags so the chances of contamination is very low. The most important thing though for any tea drinker is the taste. After following the instructions on the packet the taste was light and bright with hints of the additional ingredients permeating through the beverage.
Green tea has many benefits attributed to it. It is much less of a heavy tea taste than black tea and makes a pleasant alternative.