The Truth Behind Green Tea
Green tea has become quite popular from offerings at your local coffee bar to smoothie bars creating green tea concoctions that can give you a lift without the on-edge feeling that coffee can create. What you need to know is that there are several types of teas such as black tea that is quite popular in North America, North Africa and Europe. Green tea is predominantly enjoyed in Japan, China, Morocco and Korea while white tea and oolong come in third with smaller quantities consumed.
The main differences between green tea and black tea is they come from different varieties of the tea plant and how they are processed. Green tea leaves do not go through the oxidizing process that black tea goes through that creates a darker color of tea. Therefore, the green tea leaves contain non-oxidized phenolic compounds known as catechins making green tea lighter in color. The dried leaves of both contain protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, minerals and pigments.
Green tea is lower in caffeine with about 20 milligrams in one cup. Black tea has about 55 milligrams of caffeine while coffee has about 100 milligrams. If you find you are sensitive to caffeine, drinking green tea is an option. The phenol compounds in green tea serve up many health benefits including:
- Reduction of aches and pains in the body
- Treatment for headache and depression
- Protects against cancer of the breast, colon, stomach, prostate, ovary and bladder
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Protects against dental caries
- Phenol compounds can also be found in fruits, vegetables, wine and cocoa
- Used to fight Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Helps fight human papilloma virus (HPV) which can cause genital warts and the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix and cervical cancer
In place of drinking green tea, some people place the green tea bags on sunburned skin to help prevent skin cancer from developing from too much sun exposure. They work well for decreasing puffiness under the eyes, headache or tired eyes. They also work well as a poultice to stop gums from bleeding after a tooth is pulled or for inflamed gums.
Over eighty percent of green tea is produced in China – and something you should be aware of because unfortunately, the Chinese green teas contain high levels of lead contamination due to China’s massive industrialization. The lead is absorbed in the roots and leaves from the soil and environment. Be cautious of green tea extract pills sold in health food stores because they can cause visible jaundice and liver damage. The bottled green teas available in your local grocery store or convenience shop are loaded with extra caffeine and sugar, and typically do not contain the good chemicals of green tea. In fact, Consumer Labs have done studies on these and green tea bags and found they can serve up 2.5 mcg of lead per serving.
With that said, people who have a healthy lifestyle tend to drink green tea, however it is not the main cause of the healthy lifestyle. Drinking green tea is more a result of the healthy lifestyle, instead of the cause of the health benefits. Green tea has been brewed for centuries and has a long history, however it is important to know the source of your green tea leaves and make sure it is actually green when brewed. Plus, you do not need to guzzle down gallons of green tea to be healthy. As with many things when it comes to good health, all good things in moderation.