The benefits of green tea, things to consider when buying the best green tea, and the types of green tea. Everything you need to know about green tea in one place!
If you are a regular green tea drinker, you would know a lot about green tea than newbies. What is the best tasting green tea you can buy? What does green tea taste like? How has tea been processed? What is the best way to drink green tea? These are just some things you need to consider if you are a green tea enthusiast.
But if you are a newbie, or you drink green tea occasionally, do you really want to put something in your body, which may be contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals? We have curated a buying guide for everyone who wants to know how to buy the safest and the best green tea. Read more to find out:
Why Switch to Green Tea?
Green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, for centuries, with people believing that it could cure anything from morning sickness to healing serious wounds. Let's take a look at some amazing green tea benefits:
Boost Metabolic Rate: Green tea is abundant in antioxidants. That abundance can boost your metabolic rate, and it can even increase your number of calories burned by 3% to 4% (1). So, brew yourself a cup ASAP!
Enhance Brain Function: According to research (2), long-term consumption of green tea catechins offers effective prophylactic advantages against Aβ-induced cognitive impairment by boosting anti-oxidative defences. The caffeine and amino acids boost brain activity, making green tea an ideal daily drink.
Full of Antioxidants: Antioxidants are crucial for keeping our bodies healthy. Antioxidants work with the immune system to avoid any cancers or heart complications. The polyphenols in green tea are considered to play a role in cancer prevention.
Decrease Blood Pressure: Studies (3) have reported that consuming green tea can cause significant reductions in systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.
And reducing high blood pressure can lower the chances of type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
If You Want to Buy the Best Green Tea for Yourself Consider...
One of the most important things, to consider, is the origin of green tea and where it has been grown.
Even though green tea originates from China, the biggest producer of green tea, it is also one of the most polluted places in the world. The green tea plants easily absorb toxins and can contain arsenic, lead, aluminium, and cadmium, if they are grown in polluted and contaminated environments. The heavy metals can trigger dementia, thyroid problems, heart disease, and infertility.
So it’s better to avoid green tea from China and get it from Japan, Sri Lanka, India, and Morocco.
Does It Have Organic and Fair-Trade and Organic Certifications?
Fair trade and organic are more than just warranties to determine the quality of tea. These certifications ensure the authenticity and quality of the types of green tea you choose. A fair-trade certification doesn’t only tell that the workers were treated well, but also that the green tea faced rigorous quality assurance testing before it was sent to the market.
Moreover, non-organic green tea can have harmful pesticides that can cause health issues for those who drink tea regularly. So, consider fair trade and organic certifications before buying the best flavored green tea.
Freshness is very important because green tea doesn’t stay fresh for long. With a life span of around 12 months, it is crucial that you consume it within the recommended dates. When buying green tea, remember that after 6 months of shelf life its freshness will start to fade.
However, some types of green tea can last from 1-2 years, so check the labels for ‘best before’ or manufactured dates when buying. Though you can consume the tea after its shelf life, it won’t taste as good and won’t be as beneficial.
Whether It Is Loose Leaf or Not
Loose leaf is the most natural form of green tea, and it is better than teabags in quality and taste. Loose leaf tea is produced using young tea leaves, which delivers the most health benefits because the leaf used is intact. Plus, loose leaf is cheaper than tea bags, and it doesn’t have additional chemicals that tea bags have.
Choosing First Harvest Tea
Green tea quality is divided into harvests. The first harvest is the best because the best quality leaves are picked at the earliest time, in the year, between March-April. For instance, Kabusecha green tea comes from the first harvest. It tastes amazing and boasts a grassy aroma.
Its Antioxidant Content
Research (4) shows that Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the main polyphenol found in green tea, and it renders several health benefits linked to tea consumption. According to a recent test of 24 brands producing green, brands including Teavana Gyokuro Imperial Green Tea, Harney & Sons Organic Green Tea, and Lipton Green Tea had the most antioxidants. Plus, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) plays an important role (5) in the treatment of prostate and breast cancer.
Types of Green Tea
Different types of green tea also have different compositions of antioxidants and other properties. These are some of the best types of green tea for beginners who are in the search of the healthiest green tea:
Sencha – This is the most popular type of green tea. It originates from Japan and has high concentrations of antioxidants. Sencha tea has a grassy flavour with subtle pine and melon tastes which are balanced by some bitterness.
Gyokuro – Gyokuro is made by removing the tea leaves from sunlight before harvest. This gives it a fuller taste due to less photosynthesis.
Genmaicha – Genmaicha is medium grade, and it is blended with roasted brown rice. This gives it a toasty flavour. It is known to provide aid for upset stomachs.
Matcha – Matcha tea is gaining popularity in Western countries, and it is also known as powdered green tea leaves. Matcha has a frothy texture and a vibrant green colour.
Tencha – Similar to Gyokuro, Tencha is removed from sunlight, but it’s not exposed to the rolling process. It has high levels of natural caffeine, since full leaves are used, to help boost metabolism and energy.
With all this information, you can easily determine how to choose the healthiest green tea. But to summarise it all: avoid Chinese green tea and go for healthier versions, look for organic and fair trade certified green teas when shopping for the best green tea, and always opt for loose tea to avoid ingesting additional toxins.
(1) Rudelle, S., Ferruzzi, M. G., Cristiani, I., Moulin, J., Macé, K., Acheson, K. J., & Tappy, L. (2007). Effect of a thermogenic beverage on 24‐hour energy metabolism in humans. Obesity, 15(2), 349-355.
(2) Haque, A. M., Hashimoto, M., Katakura, M., Hara, Y., & Shido, O. (2008). Green tea catechins prevent cognitive deficits caused by Aβ1–40 in rats. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 19(9), 619-626.
(3) Onakpoya, I., Spencer, E., Heneghan, C., & Thompson, M. (2014). The effect of green tea on blood pressure and lipid profile: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 24(8), 823-836.
(4) Zhong, Y., & Shahidi, F. (2011). Lipophilized epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) derivatives as novel antioxidants. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 59(12), 6526-6533.
(5) Stuart, E. C., Scandlyn, M. J., & Rosengren, R. J. (2006). Role of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in the treatment of breast and prostate cancer. Life sciences, 79(25), 2329-2336.