Green tea – when should you drink it and what are the benefits?
It’s light, it’s refreshing, and it’s delicious – green tea is big news and increasingly popular among those who want to live a healthier lifestyle. But is it as healthy as everyone thinks? What exactly are the benefits of drinking green tea, and can it really keep you more alert, sharper, and active through that dreaded afternoon ‘slump’? We’ve taken an in-depth look at green tea, and with plenty of tasty varieties of this popular drink available online at Avansas, there’s never been a better time to switch from your regular mid-morning or mid-afternoon mocha and over to green tea.
What is green tea?
Primarily grown in China, green tea is made from Camellia sinensis buds and leaves. Rather than going through the same oxidisation process that produces ‘black tea’, the leaves are dried using either natural methods or steam processing to remove the moisture content without damaging the important constituents that make this type of tea unique. The leaves are repeatedly dried throughout their storage time. This improves the flavour, giving it that delicate and fragranced taste but without the bitterness that’s normally associated with black or oolong teas.
Green tea has been held in high regard in Asia for centuries, and there are records going back to at least the 7th century mentioning its benefits.
Is it good for you?
As with everything, taken in moderation, green tea can be beneficial to your wellbeing by promoting a greater degree of mental focus and concentration. It contains a complex chemical mix of compounds that are still undergoing extensive research.
Although it’s been associated with a slew of health benefits, there is still only limited evidence of any major positive clinical effects of green tea on the body. Rather than being a magic ‘cure-all’, it seems that the tea promotes the body’s immune system to become more active, which in turn can be a big factor in your well-being.
Claims that it helps reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease are inconclusive at best. In fact, tests have shown that green tea should be avoided by anyone currently undergoing chemotherapy or taking certain cancer drugs.
However, we do know that it’s rich in polyphenols, which can help the body’s immune system to fight inflammation. There is both anecdotal evidence and published scientific reports to suggest that it can help in a variety of other conditions as well. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggested that people drinking five or more cups a day were less likely to develop high blood pressure (hypertension), which can be a precursor to other more serious heart and circulatory conditions.
It’s rich in antioxidants, and while research is still ongoing as to the level of benefits this provides against combatting free radicals in the body, it provides far more beneficial polyphenols per cup than black tea.
As well as being a rich source of antioxidants, there are indications that drinking green tea regularly can help reduce cholesterol levels, which could be beneficial in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Again, research is ongoing, but the early indications are positive.
The biggest benefits of this type of tea are your energy levels and mental focus. It contains less caffeine than coffee, so you get the benefit of a mid-morning boost but without the ‘jittery’ feeling that higher levels of caffeine in strong coffee can have. It also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that can encourage a state of ‘calm awareness’ – exactly what you need for that afternoon board meeting or zoom conference call! That L-theanine also triggers a dopamine release in the brain – the ‘feel-good’ chemical that can reduce anxiety and promotes a more relaxed state but without feeling drowsy.
There are claims that green tea can also help in weight loss, but currently, there is no concrete evidence for that. What we can say is that a cup of green tea is a low-calorie option to a high-fat, high sugar mocha from your favourite coffee shop, so in that case, it may be beneficial to a calorie-controlled diet.
How much should you drink?
Just like any other caffeinated beverage, you shouldn’t overdo things. While you probably won’t feel much in the way of benefits from a single cup per day, between three to five cups should provide you with the best that this versatile drink has to offer. As it doesn’t have as much caffeine as coffee, even if you go over that five-cup mark, you shouldn’t suffer from the dreaded coffee jitters, avoiding that unpleasant ‘wired’ feeling that you can get from too much caffeine. And because of the lower caffeine levels, you can drink it in the evening without affecting your sleep patterns.
When is the best time to drink it?
A mid-morning cup is a great pick-you-up to keep you going until lunchtime, and the same applies to that mid-afternoon slump. These are the times when the energy you’ve consumed from breakfast and lunch begins to dip, and when you can also start to crave something sweet to give you a bit of a boost. A cup of green tea will give you that boost, but without the calorific intake, making it a low-cal, zero fat option that’s much better for you than a biscuit!
Are all green teas the same?
While traditional green tea has a delicate flavour that’s very drinkable without any additional flavouring, there is a huge selection on the market that combines all the goodness of the tea with unusual and tasty additions such as mango and lemon. At Avansas, we’ve got a great selection of teas for those mid-morning and afternoon breaks, but why stop there? Offer your guests a choice of beverages including some delicious green tea options and those meetings may be more focused and more productive.
If you haven’t tried green tea before, why not give it a taste today? With so many choices available, there’s bound to be a flavour you’ll love. And with so many potential benefits in every cup, we think it’s a great alternative to regular tea and coffee. Check out our selection of green tea online now.