Originating in China, Green Tea is a very popular drink that is associated with a wide range of health benefits and has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The process of green tea involves steeping which is also known as brewing. Higher quality teas are steeped for less time and at cooler temperatures so the components of the leaves are not lost. Green tea is made using the unfermented leaves of the plant and undergoes less processing than other types of tea, therefore it has the highest concentrations of anti-oxidants called polyphenols. Anti-oxidants that can protect the body from damaging compounds called free radicals. The anti-oxidants can neutralise the free radicals preventing them from damaging the cells of the body and the DNA inside them.
One of the components of green tea is the flavonoids. These have anti -oxidant properties and anti carcinogenic functions too. Another important components of green tea is the catechins with the most abundant being EGCG. EGCG has been shown to provide benefits across a wide range of diseases and illnesses and is currently being researched for use with HIV patients.
Lots of research has been conducted on the health benefits of green tea. Some research done has shown no beneficial effects but there is evidence to show that regular green tea drinkers have lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels. As a consequence of this the risk of heart disease is lowered and there is a lesser risk of heart attacks. Green tea can also be used as an aid to weight loss as it encourages the body to use fat as an energy source and can boost the body’s metabolic rate. Green tea has been shown to specifically decrease the amount of visceral fat a person has which is the fat in the abdomen. Decreasing this type of fat will also decrease the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Green tea has also been associated with decreasing the risk of certain cancers such as breast, oesophageal, ovarian and pancreatic cancers as the polyphenols in green tea can kill the cancerous cells.
Green tea is the second most consumed drink in the world behind water. If you have tried it before and don’t like the taste then there are various flavours available that you may enjoy. If you haven’t tried green tea before then adding it into your diet may provide you with a wide variety of health benefits.
Please feel free to contact the G4 Didsbury Clinic (Manchester) to speak to a member of our diet & nutrition team for any questions that you may have or if you wish to arrange a consultation to discuss your diet, nutrition and lifestyle.