Fast Facts – Organic Green Tea

The unfermented leaves of Camellia sinensis green tea are are lightly steamed before drying. This process ensures that organic green tea retains much of its healthy properties compared to other processes that result in various black or red teas. Its important constituents are not oxidized as is the case in fermented teas such as Oolong or black tea.

Organic green tea produces a fresher and more aromatic flavour that its fans love and enjoy. Aside from its taste and aroma, green teas are often favoured more for their health benefits. Drinking green tea is often suggested  in many diets and supplements are available in capsule, pill or extract forms as well.

Basic Facts about Organic Green Tea

The use of organic green tea dates back over half a million years. Its medicinal properties have been known by the Chinese long before modern science began to research into its traditional use for its health benefits. The history of green tea reaches far back into Asian culture whether used as a beverage or herbal medicine. Ancient history documents the use of organic green tea as an astringent to control bleeding and heal wounds.

Note:  Green tea contains low levels of caffeine when compared to coffee. Insomnia can be experienced by those who consume more than five cups of green tea a day.

Green Tea’s Powerful Properties

Catechin Polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant is found in higer levels in green tea than in black. This antioxidant is known to kill cancer cells, lower LDL cholesterol levels and inhibit formation of blood clots.
Green tea, like aspirin, blocks the formation of thromboxane A2, which reduces the risk of heart attack and thrombosis.  Thromboxane narrows the arteries and causes blood clots by clumping together blood platelets.  These then cling on to the arterial walls.

If you are taking blood thinning medication, consult with your health adviser and use green tea cautiously.  Green tea may contain vitamin K.  When drunk in large quantities it can reduce the blood thinning effects of warfarin (Coumadin®).

Green tea brewed from loose tea leaves appear to be the most potent source of antioxidants when compared to tea bags and supermarket brands.  Brewing from loose tea leaves offer the advantage of avoiding the chemicals in the paper (or even the popular nylon) bags.

China produces the most tea but also has high pollution and heavy use of pesticides.  Choose Japanese teas when you can or properly certified organic teas.

Green Tea and EGCG

In recent years, the popularity of green tea has grew with the interest in fitness and healthier lifestyle.  The most significant phytochemical in green tea is a polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).  Most esearch is still studying the in vitro effects of green tea’s polypheols, catechins and certain cancers and its ability to stop the growth of cancerous cells.  The studies are quite promising.

More benefits of drinking green tea regularly:

  • Prevents flu – Green tea blocks influenza reproduction when drunk early enough. If you already have it, it will greatly lessen its progression.
  • Lowers Blood pressure – Blood pressure can be lowered by 50% by drinking at least two cups of green tea a day (in addition to a healthy lifestyle, of course).
  • Cleanses the Digestive System – Tannins in tea cleanses the digestive tract and can calm a troubled stomach.
  • May Aid Weight Loss – Promising studies from 2009 (and more recently, some conflicting ) show that green tea’s antioxidants such as catechins (ECGC) may help reduce fat absorption. Metabolism may also be increased by drinking one to two  cups of green tea daily.  As of this writing, studies are not conclusive – most likely because it is not yet understood how it helps in these areas.
  • Dental Health –Its antioxidants help control bacteria and lowers acidity in the saliva thus protecting the tooth enamel and resulting in a fresher breath. It appears to control inflammation and gum bleeding.  It also seems to slow the progression of oral cancer.
  • Bone Strength – Organic green tea is rich in Vitamin D which helps maintain bone density.

Now, go and brew your pot of delicious, healthy organic green tea!

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Related article:  Green Tea for Weight Loss?

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Small selection of references:

  • Anderson JW, Diwadkar VA, Bridges SR. “Selective effects of different antioxidants on oxidation of lipoproteins from rats.” Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Sep;218(4):376-81.
  • Dulloo AG, Seydoux J, Girardier L, Chantre P, Vandermander J. “Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity.” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Feb;24(2):252-8.
  • Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, Girardier L, Mensi N, Fathi M, Chantre P, Vandermander J. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):1040-5.
  • Muramatsu K, Fukuyo M, Hara Y. “Effect of green tea catechins on plasma cholesterol level in cholesterol-fed rats.” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1986 Dec;32(6):613-22.
  • Benzie IF, Szeto YT, Strain JJ, Tomlinson B. “Consumption of green tea causes rapid increase in plasma antioxidant power in humans.” Nutr Cancer. 1999;34(1):83-7.
  • Sato D. “Inhibition of urinary bladder tumors induced by N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)-nitrosamine in rats by green tea.” Int J Urol. 1999 Feb;6(2):93-9.
  • Kao YH, Hiipakka RA, Liao S. “Modulation of endocrine systems and food intake by green tea epigallocatechin gallate.” Endocrinology. 2000 Mar;141(3):980-7.
  • Lin JK, Liang YC, Lin-Shiau SY. “Cancer chemoprevention by tea polyphenols through mitotic signal transduction blockade.” Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Sep 15;58(6):911-5.

 

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