For many centuries, green tea has been consumed in numerous cultures for its health benefits. In recent years, it’s become something of a phenomenon in health, foodie, and hipster circles. Its rich green color makes it an interesting ingredient to add into recipes for visual effect, distinctive taste aside.
But is it all hype, or is green tea really good for you?
The benefits of green tea
All types of tea (excluding herbal types) are made by brewing the dried leaves of a bush called Camellia Sinensis. What determines the type of tea is the level of oxidation the leaves have undergone. Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves and is very minimally processed. This means that it contains incredibly high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols compared to other teas.
Green tea has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for many centuries, and recently modern science has been catching up to understanding its benefits. While green tea is undoubtedly good for your general health, it’s important to remember that the benefits below don’t have enough evidence to be 100% irrefutably proven yet. Instead, these benefits are only strongly suggested by scientific research.
With that being said, here are the possible benefits of drinking green tea.
1. Cancer prevention
Cancer rates tend to be lower in countries where the consumption of green tea is high, but of course that’s not causation – it’s more of an interesting tidbit. However, there have been some studies conducted where there has been evidence that green tea consumption can lower cancer risks.
Animal and test tube cell studies suggest that green tea consumption has positive effects on these types of cancer:
Moreover, the topical application of green tea polyphenol extracts has potential UVB radiation protection benefits.
2. Weight loss
Green tea has caffeine and a flavonoid called catechin, which also is an antioxidant. Catechin can aid the breaking down of excess fat, and catechin and caffeine can both increase the amount of energy the body burns.
These compounds together therefore can speed up metabolism and make it more efficient, helping with weight loss. Some research has shown that green tea supplements that have catechin or caffeine has a positive (but small) effect on weight loss and management.
3. Cardiac health
Research has shown that green tea consumption reduces cardiovascular-related deaths. This may be due to the polyphenols in green tea that can lower blood pressure, inflammation, and the risk of heart disease in people with excess weight.
4. Lower cholesterol
There’s evidence that green tea is linked to significant reductions in the total amount of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in humans.
5. Improvement of inflammatory skin conditions
The anti-inflammatory properties of green tea make it excellent for both oral consumption and topical use. It’s a powerful ingredient in both skin care and edible items.
6. Lower risk of certain diseases
7. Improved memory
And finally, it’s possible that green tea even improves working memory and other brain cognitive functions.
Fabulous green tea recipes – that aren’t just tea
It’s clear that green tea is good for you, but maybe you’d like to have it in ways that are more interesting than just a cup of tea. If that’s the case, we’ve got some wonderful recipes for you right here.
Matcha is a powder made from ground high-grade green tea leaves. It’s usually whisked into hot water instead of steeped so that it forms a frothy drink similar in texture to hot chocolate.
- 3 cups of Half and Half (equal parts whole milk and light cream)
- 5 tablespoons of matcha (30g)
- ¾ cup of sugar
- A pinch of salt
- If you’re using an ice cream maker that needs the freezer bowl to be frozen, you’ll need to freeze it for at least a whole day.
- In a medium saucepan, pour in the Half and Half. Turn the heat to low.
- Add the sugar and salt and whisk this together until the sugar has dissolved. Then turn off the heat. Never let the mixture come to a boil and remove the pot from the heat immediately if you see small bubble forming near the pot’s edges.
- Add 3 TBSP of the mixture from the saucepan into a bowl of matcha and mix until the matcha absorbs the liquid.
- Repeat this process until the mixture turns into paste, and then eventually into a liquid.
- Transfer the matcha liquid into the remaining Half and Half in the saucepan and combine well.
- Prepare an ice bath and place a large bowl in it.
- Through a sieve, pour the mixture into the large bowl. Let it cool.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, then enjoy!
- 1 tbsp of matcha
- 2 cups (250g) of bread flour or all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (177g) of hot water
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of yeast
- ¼ stick of butter
- 1-1 ½ tbsp of honey
- Add the matcha powder to a large bowl and gradually whisk in the hot water until the matcha froths.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients in to form a dough, bit by bit to avoid lumps.
- Knead the dough for ten minutes to make it smooth and silky.
- Cover with a towel. Let rest for an hour, but fold in half twice every 15 minutes.
- Place in the fridge. Let rest for another hour.
- Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
- Score the bread as you like and then place on a baking tray and insert into the oven for 45 minutes. If you’d like, add a tray with water to the oven’s lower rack for some steam.
- Allow the bread to cool before eating. Enjoy!