Green Tea Medical Benefits
Not only are there many health benefits of green tea, it is also very enjoyable to drink as well. Normally,
anything that is remotely good for us tends not to taste so good, but not so with green tea. It's role in promoting
health has been much in the news during the last few years and there is ample evidence that, consumed in
moderation, green tea indeed does aid many aspects of functioning. Some of these benefits have been known for over
a thousand years.
The flavonoids, polyphenols and even caffeine present in green tea are all known to help the body protect
itself. Green tea helps lower LDL cholesterol, absorbs free radicals that can damage cell membranes and reduces the
prospect of certain cancers.
Despite Federal FDA denials, many studies lend strong support to those who tout green tea's benefits. Black tea,
as well, has most of the same benefits.
But green tea has many virtues beyond the medicinal. It tastes delightful and provides a relaxing form of
enjoyment in a hectic world.
Just as with black or Oolong tea, green tea comes from the leaves of an evergreen called Camellia Sinensis. They
are plucked, then processed. But unlike black tea, green tea leaves do not go through a long oxidation process.
Instead, green tea leaves are steamed, which retains the EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate antioxidants. Black
and Oolong teas undergo 'fermentation' which converts the EGCG into other compounds. 'Fermentation' in tea, despite
the use of the same word, is not the same process as in winemaking. No sugars are converted to alcohol. It's simply
a synonym for oxidation, more or less.
As a result, the tea flavor is much more delicate and the aroma and taste retain much more of the 'vegetative'
quality from the original bush. That flavor is enjoyed in a hundred varieties by tea drinkers the world over.
The Long Jing tea from Hang Zhou in China, pan dried and flat in appearance, often goes by the name Dragon Well.
This green tea is among the most common drinks in China. Yet for all its commonality, it makes a fine brew. The
Gyokuro, also known as Jewel Dew as a consequence of its color, is another fine green tea from China.
The Ryokucha from Japan is a green tea that is so common there that a form of the word (ocha) is often taken to
mean simply 'tea'. Connoisseurs regard the green tea from the Uji region of Kyoto to be among the finest. Matcha is
a powdered green tea once used primarily in tea ceremonies. Now it is so popular throughout Japan and elsewhere
that it finds its way into ice cream and other sweets.
Gunpowder, which has nothing to do with the explosive, is another popular variety. The leaves are rolled into
tiny pellets, making for a very intense infusion. Its muscatel overtones make for a wonderful brew.
There is even a green tea-style Earl Grey. Though without the heady flavor of the more common black tea type,
the bergamot oil combines well with green tea.
So if you have always been a committed black tea drinker, it's time to open up your horizons. It may not make
you wealthy, but it can give you enjoyment and promote your health.