Green tea is a modern type of herbal tea, which is made from Camellia sinensis leaves and buds which have either not undergone the same medicinal process used to create black teas and oolong teas. Green tea’s popularity is attributed to its many health benefits. Some studies even claim green tea can slow the aging process. This tea is also supposed to increase your energy.
Green Tea’s Antioxidant Properties
Green tea’s antioxidant properties have been known since ancient times, when it was used by the Chinese as a cure for various illnesses. But its popularity increased when it was used as an energy drink during the late eighteen hundreds. Green tea’s wide variety of benefits make it very popular today. Some of its benefits include:
The first benefit is related to the chemical compounds present in the leaves. When green tea leaves were first harvested, they were subjected to high temperatures and pressure which stripped most of their antioxidants. During this time, the leaves were only dried, rather than being preserved through heating or storage. This is why the tea you’ll find at Chinese restaurants or groceries are very weak in antioxidants. In addition, the buds were left on the bush after the drying process was completed so they would continue to lose their natural antioxidants during harvesting.
Green Tea’s Main Antioxidants Are Catechins
Green tea’s main antioxidants are catechins, which are found in the outer membrane of the leaf. Catechins are then combined with polyphenols, another chemical compound that is found in the core of the leaves. These two compounds work together to protect enzymes from being attacked by oxygen while inside the body. They also help to prevent damage to DNA and cellular membranes that could result from free radicals.
The second benefit is related to antioxidants and the preparation in which they’re taken. Green tea leaves and matcha tea are treated with high heat to preserve the chemical structure of the leaves while they’re in preparation for tea consumption. After this treatment, the leaves are allowed to oxidize slowly in the presence of air and sunlight. The oxidation process accelerates when the heat source is added. In addition, the leaves are placed in a sealed bag to further accelerate oxidation.
Kmow The Third Benefit
The third benefit is related to the tea plant itself. Although tea leaves are organically grown, there is some controversy surrounding whether or not green tea plants contain significant amounts of caffeine. The caffeine in black tea plants has been shown to be the cause of the oxidation process that boosts antioxidant content in the plant. In comparison, research has not shown any increase in antioxidant activity in matcha leaves. However, black tea leaves contain large amounts of caffeine, which may make people sensitive to it.
The fourth benefit is related to polyphenols. Polyphenols are organic compounds formed in tea plants through chemical interactions between various members of the plant family. These compounds have been found to have antioxidant activity, enhance laxative and anti-bacterial properties, and prevent cell damage. Many of these polyphenols have never been found in tea before. Studies have found that drinking white tea increases the amounts of polyphenols present in tea, while black tea does not. This supports the idea that green tea’s health-enhancing polyphenols are formed during processing and that the human body cannot process them when ingested.