Bamboo Mat

GREEN TEA AND HEALTH

 

BELIEVES IN THE PAST

 

A long time ago, tea was called medicine, because of the many healthy ingredients in tea. Before the tea came to Japan it was already widely consumed in China because of its health benefits. In China and in general, in southeast Asia, almost all medicinal plants were ground into powder and then administered. But not so with tea, even at this time the medics knew about the very good solubility of tea in water.

Used as herbal medicine the Chinese added the leaves to their food to provide nutrients or as an antidote for poison. It is also known for its benefits of aiding digestion, which is why the Chinese prefer to drink tea after their meals and also as aids for nervous disorders. Another benefit of drinking tea is it helps to expunge nicotine from the bodies of smokers faster.

In Japan, the Buddhist monk Myōan Eisai authored a treatise entitled “Kissa Yōjō-ki” on the health benefits of tea already back in the 13th century. Eisai did not depict tea merely as a stimulant to keep Zen practitioners awake during meditation. He also asserted that tea was a tonic and taught that drinking tea promoted longevity.

These are just a few of the many health effects of green tea.

Tea Plantations

Tea plantation for Sencha leaves in late May

 

EFFECTS OF GREEN TEA

 

Numerous studies have shown that green tea has among other things the following effects:

  • may boost your immune system

  • fight off inflammation

  • ward off cancer and heart disease

  • increases concentration and mental performance

  • has an antidepressant effect

  • has an antibacterial effect

  • promotes blood circulation and skin regeneration

  • counteracts the formation of kidneys and gallstones

  • reduces stress symptoms

  • prevents tooth decay

  • lowers the blood sugar level

  • lowers blood cholesterol levels

Green tea, i.e. its active ingredients, are very soluble in water, what is especially good for making infusions and beverages. But this counts only for green tea because the gentle processing does not change the active ingredients. For black tea on the other hand, during the production process, a lot of its health ingredients are destroyed and the remaining catechins in black tea are no longer water-soluble. This explains why green tea compared to black tea and Oolong tea has great differences in terms of effect and taste.

Tea is very well known for its caffeine content, regardless if it is green tea or black tea, or some other tea made out of the tea plant.

Caffeine is water-soluble, and the longer the leaves are infused the weaker the tea gets. In the first two minutes, almost all caffeine gets dissolved without tanning agents. So, the result with a short infusion time is a tea with a lot of caffeine. If the infusion takes longer (2-4 minutes), tanning agents are dissolved, and a lot of other ingredients. Tanning agents have the ability to prevent the resorption of caffeine in the stomach and the intestine. So, a longer infused tea is stronger in taste but the contained caffeine has a weaker effect.

Tea main ingredients (in g per 100g of leaves)

Type of Tea
Tannin (Catechin)
Caffeine
Protein & Amino acid
Fat
Carbohydrate
Water
Ash (mineral)
Sencha
13
2.3
24.5
4.7
47.7
2.8
5.0
Gyokuro
10
3.5
29.1
4.1
43.9
3.1
6.3
Matcha
10
3.2
30.6
5.3
38.5
5.0
7.4
Type of Tea
Vitamin A ( β-Carotene)
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin B1
Vitamin B2
Nicotinic acid
Sencha
13,000
260
68.1
0.36
1.43
4.1
Gyokuro
21,000
110
16.6
0.3
1.16
6
Matcha
29,000
60
28.1
0.6
1.35
4

Some of the main tea ingredients effects are:

  • Amino Acid

       Helps brain nerves to work better.

  • Fluorine

       Prevents tooth decay.

  • Flavonoid/Minerals.

       Flavonoid prevents bad breath and minerals activate your metabolism.

  • Vitamin A

       Moisturizes the skin and strengthens your respiratory and digestive organs.

  • Vitamin C

       Eases fatigue and prevents colds, also makes skin fair.

  • Vitamin E

       Has anti-aging effects.

  • Vitamin B1

       Turns sugar into energy.

  • Vitamin B2

       Enhances body development.

  • Vitamin B12

       Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in           all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia.

  • Catechin (Tannin)

       It has germicidal properties and also helps the intestines to work better, so it is believed that it may help prevent food poisoning,         cancer, and some lifestyle-related diseases.

  • Caffeine

       Is a diuretic and has a refreshing effect.

Green Tea Leaves

Tea plantation in the woods in Wazuka

Keep in mind, only one cup of tea every few weeks likely won’t provide a lot of health benefits. For a noticeable effect you should consume tea on a regular basis. And too much tea can also be unhealthy, therefore use common sense.