holding a mug of green tea

Green tea: health benefits and uses

The UK’s known for being home to a nation of tea drinkers. After water, tea is the second most consumed drink in the world.1 Yep, that’s right, us Brits are renowned for being partial to a cuppa or two – we consume around 100 million cups of the stuff. Every. Single. Day. When you step back and take a look at this figure annually, it equates to almost 36 million cups of tea a year.2 And just in case you were wondering what the world appetite for tea looked like, we have the global figures for you too. Worldwide, 25,000 cups of tea are consumed every second, that’s around 2.16 billion cups per day.3

Just as there are stacks of tea drinkers, there are stacks of different tea varieties too, ranging from white, Oolong and black tea, to Pu’er tea, herbal and scented or herbal tea.

So, we’ve established there are lots of different teas and even more tea drinkers, but there’s one tea in particular that we’re going to focus on in this article, and that’s green tea.

We’ve taken some of the most commonly asked questions about green tea and infused them with some insight to create a perfect blend of green tea knowledge:

What is green tea?

Green tea is green tea, but could actually be black tea (bear with us). Basically, both black and green tea come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis plant, but they’re manufactured differently. Black tea is fermented, which changes the colour and flavour, while green tea remains unprocessed, so it retains its green colour.4

Is green tea good for you?

It certainly is. The health benefits of green tea have been reported on and talked about far and wide for many years, making it even more deserving of its healthy green name.

But what is in green tea that makes it so beneficial? And what does green tea do? Green tea contains nutrients and plant compounds, including antioxidants called catechins, that can have positive health effects, such as increasing your metabolism, helping protect against prostate and breast cancer and supporting your immune system. It’s also said to play a role in helping brain function.5

Can you drink green tea for weight loss?

Yes, you can. Weight loss is among the long list of benefits that have been linked to green tea. Studies have found that the flavonoids and caffeine that’s present in green tea can increase our metabolism and fat oxidation.

In fact, according to one study, people who drank green tea and caffeine for 12 weeks lost an average of 2.9Ibs, which they did without changing their diet (other than incorporating green tea).

Interestingly, research has also revealed that you don’t need to drink endless cups of green tea to lose weight either. It’s possible to achieve by drinking just 2.5 cups of green tea a day.6

Which green tea is best?

Oohhh, now that’s a tricky question because if you mean which is the best green tea based on taste, then it very much comes down to personal preference.

But if you mean, the best quality tea, then it’s best to choose green tea that’s organic, as pesticides are often used to grown green tea. Also, use green tea loose leaf rather than teabags if you can. This is because some tea bags have been known to contain chemicals that have the potential to seep into your tea while it’s being brewed. Final tip – choose Sencha green tea because it contains the highest level of antioxidants.7

What is green tea Matcha powder?

If you’re into green tea or have been doing your homework on it, then you’ve most probably come across Matcha green tea powder.

To answer the question, Matcha is a type of green tea that’s made by taking young tea leaves and grinding them down to make Matcha powder. You can take the water and whisk it into hot water to make a different type of green tea. In comparison, the tea leaves are infused in water and then removed to make regular green tea.8 Like green tea, there are Matcha green tea benefits aplenty, which are largely similar to the benefits of drinking green tea9, apart from the fact one serving of Matcha  is the nutritional equivalent of ten cups of regularly brewed green tea.10

What is green tea good for?

Aside from the health benefits we listed above, there are many other benefits to green tea, some you may not think are quite possible, but according to studies and research they really are.

For instance, some versions of green are completely caffeine free. Not many teas, other than peppermint, have that quality going on for them. Green tea is also said:
  • To have a calming effect (it’s a source of the amino acid of the amino acid L-theanine, which is linked to mood enhancement)
  • The catechins in green tea are said to help protect the skin from UV damage and prevent and protect the tissues in our body from becoming damaged11

What are the side effects of green tea?

When consumed in moderation (around eight cups a day) green tea is reportedly safe for healthy adults to drink. However, drinking large amounts of green tea may cause side effects due to the fact it contains caffeine. Possible green tea side effects include: headaches and sleep problems.12

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Last updated: 17 June 2020

DrinksFood & DrinkTea