Herbal health drinks are nothing new to us, it seems like there's a new superfood-infused, super healthy drink every other week.
From coconut water and cactus juice, to drinks made out of the sap of birch trees, sometimes it seems like there's no end to the trendy beverage bandwagon.
However, there is one healthy drink that has stood test of time and it's not as fancy (or expensive) as you might think.
In the Far East, green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years using it to treat a range of ailments from depression to headaches and arthritis. It's even been claimed that a cup of green tea can boost protection against dementia and even aid weight loss. But are the rumours true?
Is green tea really as powerful as its claimed to be?
What is green tea and why is it different to normal tea?
There are several types of tea, but did you know they're all made from the leaves of the same species of tea plant? The difference between white, green, or black tea is down to the level of oxidation in the leaves.
Here's the science part:
- White tea consists of young, barely oxidized tea leaves, thus remains light in colour.
- Black tea has been fully oxidised so the leaves are dark and the flavour is stronger.
- Green tea however, is produced by steaming freshly picked leaves which leaves little time for oxidation. As a result, it retains chlorophyll levels and its natural green colour.
What are the benefits of green tea?
With over 450 organic substances in it, the nutritional value of green tea is through the roof.
The most beneficial nutrients in green tea are polyphenols - micro chemical nutrients that are found in natural plant food sources. The polyphenols in green tea contain powerful antioxidants that work to neutralize the components that cause damage to the body.
Due to the lower oxidation, green tea leaves are thought to be richer in antioxidants, which are also great for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and good digestive health.
Green tea has also been alleged to help improve cholesterol levels and protect against the nerve cell damage associated with dementia and Alzheimers. Although these studies do not conclusively show that green tea is the cure, the fact that it has continued to be drunk for thousands of years should not be ignored.
By actively drinking more green tea and swapping out that 9am coffee, not only are you upping your fluid intake but you're also replacing less-healthy highly caffeinated and sugary drinks that you may have drunk in its place.
It's not completely guilt-free though. Green tea does contain some caffeine but it's a very low level, usually about 1% - at least a third less than a cup of coffee.
How To Get Your Green Tea Fix
Neals Yard Remedies Matcha Green Tea Powder
Matcha is a specially grown version of Green Tea which is known to be particularly potent. Pre-ground powder allows you to harness all the nutrients that conventional tea brewing cannot extract.
Boost your smoothie by stirring in a spoonful of this super convenient powder, sprinkle over salads or even add a pinch to a glass of water during the day.
Green Tea Extract Capsules
If you're not into hot drinks throughout the day, supplements are a great way to harness the benefits quickly. Also ideal if you're low on time for tea.
These easy-to-swallow capsules allow the benefits of Green Tea to be taken straight to the digestive system, where it can be more quickly absorbed.
The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Bath
Antioxidants in Green Tea are also great for your skin. They have anti-inflammatory properties that even-out skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Enjoy a relaxing moment in this beautifully scented bath soak, letting your skin benefit directly from the antioxidant power of the tea leaves inside.
RMK Jasmin Herb Mist
Green tea is not just for drinking, it can also be externally applied to skin. Infused with hydrating Orange and Green Tea extracts, this fresh mist helps to protect and moisturise the outside layers of your skin.
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