Tea, and green tea in particular, has been consumed by humans for thousands of years.
It’s tasty, a lower caffeine alternative to coffee, and with all its health benefits may even be considered a superfood.
Check out these green tea facts to learn more about your favorite warm comfort drink as well as learn how to make a simple cup of matcha green tea.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea, black tea, and white tea all come from the same species of tea plant (herbal teas or tisanes aren’t actually made from the tea plant), but the leaves are all harvested and processed in different ways.
White tea is made of very young, barely oxidized tea leaves. This lack of oxidation means they have less to no chlorophyll (the chemical that makes leaves green) and so the tea steeps white or clear.
Black tea is made of fully grown and fully oxidized tea leaves. This means they have high levels of chlorophyll which gives them a rich, dark color and a dark brown tea color once steeped.
Green tea is made through a different method. With green tea, the process involves steaming freshly picked leaves which leaves little time for oxidation. As a result, they retain their chlorophyll levels and their natural green color in both the leaves and in the steeped tea liquid.
Green Tea: Then and Now
Green tea has seemingly been used both as a drink and as a health food since humans started making tea at all.
It’s extremely well-used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is alleged to treat and cure everything from high weight, malaise, aches and pains, and many other ailments. One proverb even states that it is "better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”
Nowadays, green tea is used for both its healthy qualities and as an ingredient in food and drink meant for enjoyment from green tea lattes to desserts like macarons, soufflés, and as an additive to some luxury chocolates. It’s even become common in cosmetics as a main ingredient in skincare or as a delicate scent in perfumes and oils.
Green Tea: Nutrition Facts
It turns out that Chinese Traditional Medicine was fairly accurate in its high estimation of green tea. It has seemingly endless benefits for men, women, and overall health for your internal organs and your skin.
It helps to prevent cellular damage that may lead to cancer and premature aging, maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, and improving the digestive system and cholesterol levels. It may also improve brain health and function, lessening the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.
Green tea is also an excellent alternative to coffee for people who may be sensitive to caffeine, or may just be trying to cut down a little.
One cup of green tea only has a 1% caffeine content compared to one cup of coffee. That’s at least ⅓ less caffeine than coffee.
That means you can enjoy a gentle wake up warm drink in the morning, but without the jitters and potential spike in anxiety and heart rate that can be caused by coffee. However, since it does still contain caffeine, one cup a day is recommended, with the absolute maximum being three cups.
Green tea also has benefits regarding certain types of cancer.
- Breast cancer: A comprehensive review of observational studies found that women who drank the most green tea had an approximately 20–30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, one of the most common cancers in women.
- Prostate cancer: A massive green tea benefit for men, one study observed that men drinking green tea had a lower risk of suffering advanced prostate cancer.
- Colorectal cancer: An analysis of 29 studies showed that those drinking green tea were around 42% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Finally, green tea can potentially help you live longer in addition to all these other health benefits. For example, in one study, researchers studied 40,530 Japanese adults over 11 years. Those who drank the most green tea at 5 or more cups per day were significantly less likely to die during the study period with a 23% lower rate of death in women and 12% lower in men.
In another, the researchers observed 4,001 older Japanese individuals and found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6-year study period.
Recipe: Simple Matcha Green Tea
I like making and drinking a cup of matcha, in my opinion the best green tea, in the mornings. Here’s how to make your own healthy, and calming cup of matcha green tea.
- 1 tsp. matcha powder
- 2 oz. hot water
- 1 whisk (matcha whisk if you have one)
- Additional water to taste for dilution
- Add 1 tsp. of matcha powder into your cup or bowl.
- Add 2 oz. of hot, filtered water and whisk until a foam forms on the surface
- Add more hot water until you reach your preferred level of dilution and flavor
How do you take your green tea? Let us know down in the comments!