The origin of green tea is believed to be more than 4000 years old from China. It is believed that when water for drinking was being boiled for a Chinese emperor, leaves from an adjacent bush fell into the water.
This drink impressed the emperor and the rest became history. Those were leaves from the tea plant. Soon, tea as a beverage started to become popular. India, Japan, and China are the three countries where tea has been popular since then.
Today, black tea is drunk all over the world and is next only to water in the quantity of it drunk. Of all the teas, green tea is believed to be most beneficial to health. However, 78 percent of the tea consumed worldwide is black and only about 20 percent is green.
The tea plant belongs to the plant species Camellia Sinensis. Tea that is grown at higher altitudes has a better flavor. A tea plant takes about 3 to 5 years to start giving commercial production and once it starts to do so, it does so for close to 100 years.
Green tea extract
Tea, whether green or black, or oolong, is made from the leaves of the same plant called Camellia Sinensis. The difference in the making of these teas is that green tea leaves are the least fermented of the three while black tea leaves are the most fermented.
The level of oxidation of the tea leaves determines the type of tea that will ultimately be produced. Processing is the method in which the leaves from the tea plant are converted into dried leaves for brewing tea. The degree of oxidation determines the type of tea that is made.
Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves and is one of the less processed. It, therefore, contains the most antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols.
That is the reason the green tea leaves retain the maximum health potential of the tea leaves. They contain 30% more antioxidants than black tea. However, black tea contains theaflavins, which is not found in green tea.
Stages in the making of green tea powder
- Once the green tea leaves are harvested (plucked), they are either pan-fired (dried with hot air as the Chinese do) or steamed (as the Japanese do).
- Next, the leaves are rolled under pressure. It used to be done by hand previously but now modern machinery is used. This removes the juice from the leaves, which is spread uniformly on the rolled leaves.
- The rolled leaves are then dried in large driers to remove their moisture content. This helps to increase the shelf life of tea.
- The dried leaves are then blended according to their grading and packed.
How to make green tea?
- To begin making green tea, start heating water on high heat in a saucepan.
- Once the water starts boiling, turn off the heat and add the tea leaves.
- Cover it for a minute.
- Strain the tea into the teacups.
- Add honey to taste, stir it and serve.
Which is the best green tea and why?
You have bottled green tea, or iced tea or Lipton, or regular green tea. Choose the regular one because it’s the best. It contains the maximum amount of antioxidants called catechins.
The other types are processed, which leads to loss of this ingredient and you may have certain chemicals like fluorides too, added to it. The anti-oxidant properties of Catechins in regular green tea are 100 times more powerful than Vitamin C and E.
The following contents of green tea are responsible for its positive effect on the health of the person.
- Green tea contains caffeine, which has a stimulating action on mood, physical stamina, stomach, intestinal activity, and cerebrovascular system.
- Polyphenols mainly catechins (EGCG) are powerful antioxidants.
Carotenoids are again antioxidants and provide vitamins.
- Tocopherols are chemical compounds that have biological Vitamin E activity.
- Ascorbic acid is Vitamin E.
- Minerals such as selenium or zinc, chromium, and manganese
- Phytochemical compounds are antioxidants.
- The most abundant catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which is believed to play a key role in its anticancer and antioxidant properties.
Health benefits, side effects, and safety precautions
Due to the healthy bioactive compounds and its other contents, green tea provides a range of health benefits.
- It prevents cognitive decline, encourages weight loss, boosts periodontal health, lowers the risk of some cancers, prevents diabetes type 2, prevents skin aging, and more.
Green tea can also cause side effects when consumed in high doses (over eight cups) and over a long time because of its caffeine content.
- These include headache, nervousness, sleep disturbances, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, tremors, GERD, giddiness, tinnitus, seizures, and confusion.
Drinking green tea is possibly safe in pregnant and lactating mothers if consumed in small to moderate quantities of two to three cups.
People with the following health conditions should refrain from drinking green tea because it will worsen the condition.
- Anxiety disorder
- Bleeding disorders
- Heart conditions
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Liver disease