Green Tea: Your Questions Answered
Green tea is a popular beverage, and all indications point to its popularity increasing.
Fortune Business Insights states, “The global green tea market size was USD 12.80 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 23.66 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 8.0% during the forecast period.”
The reason for its popularity is due in no small part to the rising public awareness of its health benefits.
This article answers some of the most common questions about green tea and its most common health benefits.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is a type of tea that is quickly picked and maintained in its original state. Compared to black tea, where the leaves are left to oxidize after being picked, green tea leaves, like the ones in 8th Wonder Sparkling Green Tea, are heated immediately to stop this from happening. Therefore, green tea is closer to its natural state than other teas.
Where Did Green Tea Originate?
Green tea was first produced in China, and since then, other East Asian nations have started to grow and manufacture it.
How Did Green Tea Come to America?
The answer to this question requires a brief historical summary of the history of green tea (2).
The earliest mention of green tea dates back to 2737 B.C. The origins of green tea can be traced to the Chinese Emperor Shennong, who mistakenly ingested boiled water containing a dead tea leaf. Thus, the genesis of green tea may come from the wealthiest stratum of Chinese society, which rendered it unaffordable to the poor. Only in the fourteenth century did green tea become popular throughout China among people of all social classes for its flavor and medicinal properties.
While green tea has been consumed in China for over 5,000 years, its history in the West is relatively recent. The slow migration of green tea from Asia to Europe and the United States is one of the most intriguing parts of its history.
European merchants were first exposed to tea during their sixteenth-century travels to East Asia. The new beverage was so well-received by sailors and their home countries that it became a valuable commodity. Even now, tea is the United Kingdom's national beverage, but most Brits prefer black tea.
Tea was transported to the Americas with the settlers, where it was wildly popular among the first colonies. Tea was so popular in colonial America that Great Britain levied a Tea Tax in 1767, which angered the colonists and caused the Boston Tea Party in 1773, where 45 tons (342 chests) of green tea were dumped into Boston Harbor.
What Are The Types of Green Tea?
Although green tea, like the one in 8th Wonder’s brand, comes in a wide variety of flavors, there is only one genuine kind. That's because Camellia sinensis is the plant from which all tea originates, whether black, white, oolong, or green. In addition, the way the tea leaves are processed and the process of fermentation, or oxidation, determine how these different kinds differ.
With that said, there are several types of green tea, which are usually classified by name and region of harvest. Below are some of the most common varieties (3):
- Sencha (Japan): Sencha tea, like the kind found in 8th Wonder Organic Sparkling Green Tea, is the most popular type in Japan, accounting for over 75 percent of all green tea harvested there. It is frequently referred to as "guest tea" since it is produced from a higher quality leaf than other Japanese teas. It tastes astringent, sweet, and pure.
- Gyokuro (Japan): Gyokuro is the highest-quality green tea in Japan, thanks partly to its intricate cultivation and harvesting method. The leaves of Gyokuro are allowed to mature in a manner that maximizes its health advantages, scent, and flavor. As a result, it has a vibrant green hue and is significantly sweeter than other green teas.
- Dragonwell (China): This is the most popular green tea in mainland China and has a crisp, green flavor. The highest degree of Dragonwell is titled Qing Ming, named after the country's spring festival, which occurs in April.
- Chun Mei (China): This tea, whose name translates to Precious Eyebrows, is cultivated in the Yunnan province. A small brew gives the tea a beautiful amber hue and a plum-like flavor.
- Makaibari Tea Estates (India): Makaibari is a highly acclaimed green tea that is delicious but light.
Craigmore Estate (India): This tea is grown at incredibly high altitudes in the Blue Mountains of India. This green tea is extraordinarily aromatic and deliciously sweet.
What Are the 6 Greatest Benefits of Green Tea?
Below are 6 science-backed benefits of green tea.
It Contains Potent Antioxidants
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which are natural compounds that confer a range of health benefits, like fighting inflammation and defending against cancer.
To make green tea, fresh tea leaves are cultivated in the open, collected, and then steamed, which preserves the majority of their polyphenols (4), a class of phytochemicals with potent antioxidant properties.
Most of the polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids (5). There are several different flavonoids, but the ones that provide the most health benefits and are abundant in green tea are catechins.
Indeed, green tea is most famous for its epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the most prominent and studied catechin (6). Researchers have examined its potential to treat numerous ailments, which appears to be one of the primary chemicals responsible for the therapeutic benefits of green tea (7).
It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Numerous research studies suggest that the underlying cause of nearly all chronic diseases is chronic inflammation.
Green tea antioxidants may aid in reducing this inflammation (8). After all, there is scientific evidence that drinking green tea can help people with inflammatory disorders like inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis (9).
With its anti-inflammatory properties, EGCG aids in the relief of some symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (10, 11).
For example, in a study that ran for 56 days, treatment with an EGCG-based medicine reduced symptoms by 58.3% in ulcerative colitis patients who had not responded to conventional therapy, as opposed to no improvement in the placebo group (12).
In addition, inflammation-related illnesses like heart disease, Alzheimer's, and even some cancers appear to be improved by green tea (13).
May Boost Brain Function
Numerous studies indicate that green tea may increase alertness, attention, and concentration. The popular natural stimulant caffeine is the main active component in green tea for mental clarity.
Green tea like that in 8th Wonder Sparkling Green Tea contains less caffeine than coffee. However, it is still enough to stimulate the central nervous system without producing the jittery adverse effects of excessive caffeine intake.
Caffeine affects the brain and boosts alertness and attention because it inhibits the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. This causes neurons to fire more frequently and increases levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine (14, 15).
But, incredibly, green tea can also help reduce anxiety. L-theanine, an amino acid that can pass the blood-brain barrier, is another powerful brain-health nutrient found in green tea. L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, providing anti-anxiety effects. Additionally, it increases dopamine and alpha-wave production in the brain (16, 17).
Studies suggest that caffeine and L-theanine may have complementary effects, meaning that combining the two may have potent effects on improving brain function (18, 19).
May Help Improve Cardiovascular Health
Scientific research has also shown that drinking green tea may benefit cardiac and circulatory health.
For instance, a 2006 study found a link between drinking green tea and a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Beginning in 1994, the study followed almost 40,000 Japanese participants between the ages of 40 and 79 for eleven years. Researchers discovered that participants who drank at least five cups of green tea each day were at a decreased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (20).
There is also evidence that green tea consumption may improve specific risk factors of cardiovascular disease. For example, according to reviews published in 2017 and 2019, the polyphenols in green tea may reduce blood pressure and inflammation, and improve epithelial function, thereby decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease in obese or overweight persons (21,22).
May Supercharge Fat Burning and Weight Loss
Green tea is commonly found on the ingredient list of many weight loss supplements due to its fat-burning properties.
Numerous research studies indicate that green tea can torch fat and boost metabolic rate. For example, in a study with 10 healthy men, taking green tea extract made them burn an extra 4% of calories. In another study with 12 healthy men, those who took green tea extract burned 17% more fat than those who took a placebo (23, 24).
In addition, the caffeine in green tea may enhance physical performance by triggering the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue, making them available for utilization as energy (25, 26).
Multiple studies suggest that drinking green tea may help reduce body fat, particularly in the stomach region (27, 28).
One of these studies was a 12-week randomized controlled trial with 240 obese participants. In this study, those who consumed green tea had significantly lower body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference, and abdominal fat than those in the control group (29).
Since green tea can temporarily speed up your metabolism, it can also help you shed pounds.
Both catechins and caffeine have been shown to help people lose weight by controlling hormones that make thermogenesis happen (29a, 29b, 29c). Thermogenesis is how your body burns calories to break down food and create heat.
Among the many health benefits of green tea is that it can increase your body's ability to burn calories more efficiently, resulting in weight loss.
One older study examined 14 participants who were supplemented with caffeine, EGCG from green tea, and guarana extract before meals. During the following 24 hours, the participants burned an average of 179 more calories.
However, further research must be conducted to confirm green tea’s fat-burning and weight-loss effects.
May Defend Against Type 2 Diabetes
Over the past few decades, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has increased. Today, approximately 1 in 10 Americans are affected by this disease.
In type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels are elevated due to insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production.
Studies indicate that green tea, like the kind in 8th Wonder Green Tea, may increase insulin sensitivity and decrease glucose levels (30).
For instance, a Japanese study found that people who consumed the most green tea had a 42% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes (31).
In one review of seven studies involving 286,701 individuals, tea drinkers were found to have an 18% lower risk of diabetes (32).
What Are The Side Effects of Green Tea?
For the majority of people, moderate daily green tea consumption (approximately 8 cups) is safe.
However, some people may have adverse reactions to this beverage, especially if consumed in excess.
For example, the caffeine naturally found in tea leaves can make you feel anxious, stressed, and restless if consumed in excess. Excessive intake may also lead to insomnia.
Some people may also experience nausea due to specific compounds in green tea, especially if consumed on an empty stomach. (Nausea is more likely if you drink excessive green tea on an empty stomach.)
Green tea may also cause liver damage if consumed in high doses. But, as long as you drink it in moderation, you should be okay.
Is it Okay to Drink Green Tea Every day?
Yes, it is perfectly okay to drink green tea every day. Indeed, regularly drinking this brew can lead to the incredible health benefits above.
What is the Best Time to Drink Green Tea?
The best time to drink tea is between meals. This is because it contains compounds that may block the absorption of iron and other minerals when consumed with food.
Many people drink green tea first thing in the morning to boost alertness, focus, and concentration. The drink helps clear your mind partly because it has caffeine, a stimulant shown to make you more alert and focused.
However, as mentioned above, the L-theanine in green tea produces a calming effect. So, green tea will wake you up quickly and give you an energy jolt without having the jittery feeling of coffee or other caffeinated foods or beverages, as long as its consumed in moderation.
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16- - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17182482/
29a - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16176615/