Green tea is made from a perennial evergreen shrub called camellia sinensis. This shrub is native to many parts of Asia and also produces oolong and black tea. For oolong and black tea, the leaves of the camellia sinensis are allowed to ferment for a certain amount of time before they are dried. Green tea is not fermented; instead, the leaves are lightly steamed before drying to preserve the color and active ingredients.
Green Tea Health Benefits
According to MayoClinic.com, green tea shows promise in treating many ailments. Research shows that green tea can relieve arthritis by slowing cartilage breakdown and reducing swelling. For asthma treatments, the caffeine in green tea--- and other caffeinated teas--- appears to help improve airflow. There is also evidence to support that green tea can help prevent clogged arteries and heart disease.
EECG and Antioxidants
EECG stands for epigallocatechin gallate, the most prevalent antioxidant in green tea. According to Ayurvedic-Medicines.com, antioxidants are molecules with the ability to absorb free radicals and prevent cell oxidation. Free radicals are unstable molecules that, if allowed to attach to cells in the body, may cause cancer and cell oxidation, or breakdown. Antioxidants prevent this by absorbing the free radicals before they can attach to healthy cells in the body.
There is also evidence to show that antioxidants help speed up metabolism, which aids in weight loss.
Brewed Green Tea
Brewed green tea is simply dried green tea leaves steeped in boiling water for several minutes. The flavors and active ingredients in the leaves then mix with the water to make tea.
According to Amazing-Green-Tea.com, those looking for the most benefits from drinking green tea should avoid bottled green tea and green tea energy drinks. Many of these drinks are not as concentrated as home-brewed tea and thus do not contain as many active ingredients. Also, these drinks often contain an overabundance of sugar and caffeine.
Amazing-Green-Tea.com says the best way to brew green tea is at home, using either loose tea or teabags steeped in boiling water for about two minutes per cup.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is green tea that has been distilled down to its most potent form. It comes in liquid concentrate and pill form and the distillation process ensures that a standard amount of active ingredients remain in the extract.
Green tea extract, mostly in pill form, can be purchased at any health food store. However, Ayurvedic-Medicines.com suggests checking labels carefully and purchasing extract pills or liquid from an herbalist or independent health food store. Some extract products do not contain as much, if any, green tea as they claim.
The main difference between brewed green tea and green tea extract seems to be the concentration of the tea. Even when water is added to liquid green tea extract, the extract is more intense than tea brewed from leaves or tea bags. The main benefit of drinking home-brewed green tea would be control over the product. One can be relatively certain that the leaves inside a tea bag or box of tea are green tea from the look and the smell. It is harder to identify green tea concentrate, especially in pill form.
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