Green Tea is So Much More Than Just a Drink

Whether your go-to café is a local family run business or a trendy hipster joint, you will always find green tea on the menu. In fact, tea, in general, seems to be one of those drinks that you can find in every corner of the globe. Tea is arguably more than just a drink. It has strong historical and cultural significance to many societies around the world. It’s hard to believe as it seems our grocery stores are packed to the brim with sodas and sugar-filled beverages, but trusty old tea is actually the second most-consumed drink in the world after water.

What is green tea?

The drink we know as tea is made by boiling the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The plant itself is native to China and India and has been cultivated in those regions for over 5000 years. With there being two main varieties of tea, black and green - sorry Oolong, you just didn't make the cut. East Asia is the leading producer of green tea, mainly due to the process and altitude at which the tea leaves are grown, with green tea being grown in the mountainous regions of the continent. In fact, in many East Asian countries, there are national and cultural events that incorporate green tea. China even has a wedding tea ceremony (that's true tea love right there) and products range from affordable to super-luxe.

What makes green tea so popular?

As we mentioned above, tea is the second most-consumed drink in the world right after water. The vast majority of that consumption is of black tea, at around 78% and green tea comes second, at approximately 20%. Green tea and its beneficial health properties have been known for millennia in eastern cultures and recently have been making inroads in the rest of the world. Analysts predict that the global green tea market will increase by over 5% in the year 2025. There are a few reasons for this, but the main ones are that tea in general (both black and green) is packed with health benefits. However, with green tea, it is touted as being even more beneficial to your health. This is mainly due to its manufacturing process, as it is not processed as much as black tea, meaning it retains all its original nutrients.

The health benefits of green tea

There are many different varieties of green tea; Matcha, Sencha, and Gyokuro to name a few. However, all green teas contain the main compounds and nutrients that make them stand out for their potential health benefits. One of the main elements of green tea that makes it so beneficial is that it has a higher content of protective polyphenols. For those of you who are not chemists, polyphenols are basically compounds found in plants, and these compounds act as antioxidants. The greatest polyphenols found in green tea are flavonoids, with the most important being catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which basically have the function of powerful antioxidants. You may have learned in high school biology that antioxidants are believed to aid the body in protecting itself against diseases. 

Green tea and cancer, what's the deal?

Green tea is believed to be able to aid in the fight against cancer. According to an article by Reader's digest, medical researchers believe that the polyphenols found in green tea may help destroy cancer cells and pause their growth. This is a vital part of preventing various cancers. One of the types of cancers that were studied was breast cancer. Where researchers looked at the effects green tea had on 472 women who were suffering from the disease. The researchers found that of these women, those who were consuming the largest quantity of green tea were experiencing the slowest spread of the disease. 

However, the effects of green tea on cancer cells were also observed to slow down its progression as well as decrease its chances of returning in patients. A study on women who were in their early stages of breast cancer found that their chances of cancer returning had decreased. This was achieved once they had consumed a minimum of 5 cups of green tea daily. 

Green tea has been found to help fight another type of cancer, and that is colon cancer. Research conducted had seen that patients who drank more than 3 cups of tea a day, had lowered their chances of getting prostate cancer by 70%. This trend was also seen in another study by the National Institute of Health. In this trial, 79 men with prostate cancer were asked to drink six cups of green tea a day, and other patients were asked to drink water. After several weeks, researchers found that the levels of certain antigens (ones that show signs of cancer), were lower in the patients who consumed green tea than those who had water.

Although studies are still underway and scientific research is still understating the long-term effects of green tea on cancer. It is clear that there is a lot of hope in the beneficial properties this drink has.

 

Keeping your heart strong

 

When we think about the health of the heart and how to maintain it, many of us may think of the treadmill or vertical climber machines at the gym. These exercises (known as cardio exercises) help keep our ticker strong by burning the fat that is clogging up our arteries. This fat, however, is mainly introduced into our bodies through our diet, which in turn affects our cholesterol level (the fat levels in our blood). Once these levels build up to such an extent, they start clogging up our heart and can cause serious heart illnesses.

That is why eating fewer fatty foods is good for you, and drinking green tea will provide you with added fat-burning support! This is because according to Harvard Health, there have been several studies conducted that have delved into the possible connection between green tea and heart disease. A study of over 40,000 adults in Japan discovered that participants who had more than 5 glasses of green tea a day had their chance of death by heart disease decrease by up to 26%. It also found that those participants had a decreased chance of dying from all illnesses by up to 16%, compared to people who drank less than one cup of green tea a day. 

Harvard Health Publishing goes on further and states that there had been 13 studies done on green tea drinkers and five on black tea drinkers. The researchers discovered that those who drank the largest quantity of green tea had a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease, compared to those who drank the least amount of green tea. Black tea had no effect on heart risk (this goes back to what we mentioned about how green tea is less processed).

Furthermore, a 2011 analysis of 14 randomised clinical trials, saw that LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels were greatly lowered in the participants after consuming green tea. A lot of these studies had been carried out with capsules filled with catechins, the active polyphenols in green tea (the good elements in green tea), rather than with the drink itself. We shouldn't be cutting off from that dreaded treadmill at the gym anytime soon. However, just by looking at this, it seems that adding a few cups of green tea a day to our daily routine seems to go a long way in keeping our hearts strong. 

Dealing with your anxiety

We have seen the effects green tea has on our hearts and also how it can help us fight against illnesses like cancer. However, green tea is also believed to help us deal with our anxiety. Science focus (a subgroup of the BBC) stated that there had been some research conducted on mice which found that green tea (Matcha specifically) could help reduce anxiety.

The researchers put the mice in a maze that was raised and cross-shaped with two sides walled off and the other sides open with no barrier around the edge. This is a typical layout that is mostly used when conducting anxiety tests on rodents. The idea behind this is that animals feeling higher levels of anxiety will move to the safer, walled-off areas. The researchers saw that the mice that had been given green tea (Matcha) extracts experienced far less anxiety-based behaviour. 

Based on observations, the tea's calming effects are attributed to the changes in the rodents' dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors. These chemicals are found in the central nervous system, both of which are thought to induce anxiety-based behaviour. Dr Yuki Kurauchi stated that, although more studies are needed, the findings of this research clearly illustrate that Matcha may be quite beneficial to the human body. This is further backed by the fact that green tea has been used as a medicinal substance for many years.

These sorts of studies seem more relevant than ever nowadays. This is especially true with what's going on in the world today from the devastation of the bushfires in Australia to the global lockdown of COVID-19, which place a great deal of stress and anxiety into our lives. One of the biggest challenges we are facing is trying to deal with that stress and anxiety and If green tea can help, then, by all means, there's no harm in giving it a go. 

Improving your mental health

It should come as no surprise that there is a wide belief that green tea can help with other elements of the brain and the mind not just reduce the effects of anxiety. 

Researchers conducted a study on mice to look at the effects that two compounds had on the mice. The first compound, as mentioned before, is EGCG, and the second, ferulic acid (FA), which is found in foods such as carrots and tomatoes.

The research was done by randomly assigning 32 mice with symptoms of Alzheimer's (a disease of the brain) to one of four groups with an equal number of males and females. As a comparison, they placed an equal number of healthy mice in each group as a control. Then over 3 months, the mice consumed either EGCG or FA only a combination of the two or a placebo.

Researchers ran a series of tests both before and after the 3-month trial. They did this by putting the mice through challenges that tested their thinking and memory capability. This assessment is similar to those done to people with dementia. The main test was done by placing the mice in a Y-shaped maze and seeing their reactions. The researchers found that the healthy mice would automatically search each arm of the Y-shaped maze, searching for treats or a way to escape. This searching was done in a pattern and not merely by chance (showing the thinking capability of the mice). However, the mice that were inflicted with Alzheimer like symptoms could not do this as easily.

Once the 3-month trial was over, scientists found that the mental and working memory of the afflicted mice was just as good as the healthy ones. This seemed to have happened as the scientists believed that the properties found in green tea and carrots could be vital in preventing certain proteins made in the brain from becoming gummed up. 

Although this is still early stages, the news seems positive. In fact, Dr. Town, who is a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the Keck School of Medicine, states that with this research, there is no need to wait years for a medical drug. This is because a mere dietary change (i.e. drinking more green tea and eating more carrots) could help you get healthier naturally.

Getting your summer bod on 

Green tea is starting to seem like a gift that keeps on giving, from helping reduce anxiety to helping us fight cancer. This drink is about to give us a whole lot more; that's because researchers believe that green tea could also help us lose weight! According to the Times of India, the way green tea helps you lose weight is by making your metabolism more efficient (because of the catechins and caffeine it has). Metabolism (for those that don't know) is the process in which your body converts the food and drink you consume into energy. So, by making this process more efficient, it is believed that we can burn off more calories.

 Furthermore, according to a 2010 study, researchers discovered that green tea, even in supplement form, contains caffeine or catechins that have a small but positive impact on weight loss programs. Now we are not saying to go cancel your gym membership, however, adding to a regiment of exercising and healthy eating, there is a strong suggestion that green tea can help you shed that extra pound. 

How to make a great cuppa

 

Now, after reading all the wonderful things green tea has to offer, we are sure you are itching to go off and make your own cup. Now it may seem simple enough to make a cup of green tea, however, where many people tend to go wrong in the process of making the drink is when adding the boiling water. That's because if the water is too hot, it can actually destroy the catechins in the leaves of the green tea. Therefore, it is best to allow the boiling water to stand for a minute before pouring it onto the leaves.

 

Too busy to make a cup? We've got you covered.

We know that the world is a hectic place these days. Most of you lead busy lives, and sometimes there’s simply no time to make your very own cup of green tea. For anyone living in England, this unfortunate circumstance is nothing short of a proper tragedy as taking a few minutes to enjoy a cuppa is a part of our daily routine. Fear not, this type of disaster may be averted with our Yin Yang Yuzu drink. Our conveniently packaged drink is perfect for on-the-go lifestyles and contains not only natural green tea extract, but also vitamin C from the yuzu fruit, a super-citrus that we love and we're sure you will too! 

At Botanic Lab, we specialise in creating products using botanicals. Botanicals utilise the power of plants to aid in holistic health and wellness. This ranges from products such as creams and oils to food products and supplements. All products that are prepared from botanicals are used to improve or maintain the consumers' health and Yin Yang Yuzu is no exception.