Green tea – is it a fad that celebrities seem to have pushed into our lives by the mere power of advertising, or is it really as good as people say it is? What makes it better than all other teas? How does, in fact, it benefit the mind and body?
But, more importantly, how does one make a perfect cup of green tea?
Let’s try and answer these questions herein, starting with – “why have green tea at all?”
Because it has antioxidants in abundance…
Everyone says how green tea is really beneficial to the brain and heart. And we also know how tea in general, is considered having quite an antioxidant property. Antioxidants are important, for they help in slowing down the aging process. It also helps other organs, in addition to the brain and heart to function better. Green tea, in particular, has six compounds, also called six catechin compounds which are nothing but polyphenols. It also contains alkaloids, such as the most commonly known one – caffeine. These dietary polyphenols ar what act as the much needed antioxidants for the body, while the alkaloids lend the stimulant effect to the tea. And as for how people drink green tea for its calming effect, it is a compound called L-theanine that makes it possible.
Because it can help fight cancer…
A lot of research has already gone, and is of course been still going on in finding our what are the things that can a) reduce the chances of people getting cancer, and b) what dietary items can help one recover fast, if they do get this disease. Green tea, has incidentally featured in many of such experiments. While some of the studies showed how green tea decreased the chances of women getting breast cancer as well colon cancer, other studies threw light on the fact that how more 3 cups a day reduced the chances of men getting prostate cancer. It hasn’t been deemed as an official medical recommendation by any scientist or doctor; but the surprising effects of green tea has made it unsurprising for us to believe that it could in fact cure or even just control cancer.
Because it can help you lose the extra flab…
Nutritionists all over the globe, swear by this product. When t comes to weight loss, nothing it sees work like green tea works its magic. Along with the antioxidants that we talked about earlier, green tea also has flavonoids that improve blood circulation, and contolthe cholesterol levels in the body. There have of course been a lot many studies conducted over the years by scientists to see how green tea goes a long way in making one shed the extra kilos; the results have shown that not just lose weight, but green tea also has a huge role in decreasing the chances of a person to experience a heart attack. And not just by a small percentage, rather it is a 40-70% reduced risk of a heart attack that one runs, just by including 2 to 3 cuppa everyday.
Because it’s great to keep the mind more alert…
An antioxidant out of the six present in this tea, epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, also helps protect people from UV radiation related skin damages, in addition to slowing the aging process. So, drinking this tea on a regular basis doesn’t only help the skin, but also helps protect the mind from deteriorating. Many a scientific research have proven how diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can be fought to an extent with the help of this tea. Also, the L-theanine and caffeine do more than just calm the mind and stimulate it – they also help in keeping the mind more alert and focused.
How do you make a cup of nice green tea?
First of all, better than getting the tea bags available in the market, is to get the loose tea leaves. Not every shop around the corner has it in that form, but if you go to a place like Kerala, you could get yourself really authentic green tea.
Another myth that needs to get busted as soon as possible is, you need to dip a tea bag in a cup of hot water, keep it dipped till the tea doesn’t get really strong, and then throw the used tea bag away. One tea bag, in reality, is enough to make at least 3 large cups full of green tea! And that obviously means you don’t need a really strongly brewed tea to have its effects endowed on you with full vigor. That’s just plain wrong.
So, what you do is, take a cup of water, and bring it to a boil. Just when you see the very first signs of water getting boiled, turn off the stove, and put in a couple of dry green tea leaves. Cover the utensil with the water and leaves with a lid, and remove it after about 15 minutes. And you will have your green tea ready!
In case you have a tea bag instead, take more water (about a litre of water). Do the same thing, only this time you’d have a tea bag instead of loose tea. After you have that much tea prepared, have a cup right then, and save the two cups worth of tea for later on. This brings us to another yth that we have – green tea needs to be warm while you take it. No, it doesn’t. The tea does not lose its antioxidant and antibacterial property after it as stopped being warm. That’s the reason, that countries like China have people carrying a special water bottle, which has a few tea leaves at the bottom, and continuously keeps making tea out of the water that one keeps filling up the bottle with.
Too of anything is bad!
Nothing in excess can be good, and the same is true for green tea as well. You should not generally have more than 3 cups a day, for green tea in itself is very strong. It does kill bacteria, doesn’t it! The amount of antioxidant in green tea being quite high also means, it shouldn’t be given to children below the age of 8 years, and definitely not to women who are pregnant. Being a fluoride accumulator (it absorbs fluoride), it is also not recommended for people with a thyroid-related condition. In case you’re taking any strong medication, you should consult your doctor before taking green tea simultaneously.