Green tea belongs to the oldest and biggest category of Chinese teas existing as early as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Some green tea researchers claim that it originates from Japan but this hypothesis doesn’t have many supporters. In the past green tea was taken only as a remedy but today it is one of the most widely spread beverages in the world. It is an excellent substitute for coffee because it has an incredible invigorating effect with twice less caffeine and without causing shaking.
Green tea is different from all other herbal teas. It is prepared from the tea plant Camellia sinensis and its leaves are steam processed and dried. Unlike black tea, green tea does not undergo fermentation thus preserving all its beneficial chemical compounds. Drinking green tea is not just a ritual, it is vital. At the end of the 20th century scientists found that Japanese women practicing the “chanoyu” tea ceremony live a longer and higher-quality life. It is due mainly to polyphenols – the most powerful antioxidants in the world.
The first of the undoubted benefits from the use of this unique drink is due namely to antioxidants which slow down ageing and protect from malignancies. According to modern studies people who drink regularly five or more cups of green tea a day live over 15% longer on average compared to those who drink far less or do not drink green tea at all. Cancer cells stop feeding and die due to the amazing ability of green tea to block the production of harmful enzymes.
The second acknowledged benefit of green tea is that it makes its consumers smarter. It is due not only to caffeine but also to the L-Theanine amino acid. The improvement of the brain function is attributed to the superb combination of those two stimulating ingredients. Having a beneficial effect on the brain, the miraculous beverage can reduce stress and cut depression symptoms by half.
The third advantage of drinking green tea concerns people suffering from cardio-vascular diseases. Two cups of green tea a day lower the risk of hypertension by over 60%. The heart of the faithful fans of the beverage works better, arteries are more passable and the cholesterol levels imperceptibly and permanently maintain good values.
Among the numerous other benefits of green tea are diabetes prevention through regulation of blood sugar levels, its anti-inflammatory properties, the reduction of toxins in the lungs and liver, the maintenance of bone density. Poor immune system is a condition for the occurrence of almost all diseases and green tea builds lasting immunity by producing beneficial bacteria.
After so many undisputable benefits all we have to do is learn how to choose and make delicious green tea. For you to enjoy its unique taste, you have to pick a quality product. So don’t settle for tea in bags. You have to be careful with the expiration date too – green tea is good for use for about 6 months from its production date. It should be stored in a closed container and not be exposed to wide temperature fluctuations.
Water being the main tea component also has to be selected carefully. Tap water is treated with chlorine and changes the taste of the beverage. The same goes also for highly mineralised waters. It is best to use spring water. Water temperature is also important – if you use boiling water you risk making the tea bitter. The ideal temperature ranges between 70 and 80 degrees. Tea drinking experts recommend using four grammes of tea per 200-220 millilitres of water. Tea brewing time is short – from one to three minutes. And one last advice – you will feel the splendor of green tea best if you drink it without honey or lemon added.