On the occasion of World Health Day on April 7, we look at the benefits of drinking green tea. It’s not just good for your health and overall wellness, green tea comes in some truly delicious flavours and taste profiles. Read our monster guide on the benefits of green tea.
The Secret Sauce Behind Green Tea
For starters, green tea and black tea, basically all types of tea (except herbal) are sourced from the same plant - the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. The level of oxidation of the leaves determines the type of tea. Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves and goes through the least amount of processing. Instead of fermenting tea leaves (for black tea) to raise the level of caffeine, green tea leaves are dried and slightly steamed to retain its natural benefits.
The outcome? Green tea comes packed with antioxidants such as catechins, amino acids, vitamins like A, C, and E, as well as lower levels of caffeine. Green tea also contains plant based compounds such as polyphenols, which include flavanols, flavandiol, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Green teas contain various catechins (a type of flavonoid) - more than in black or oolong tea - and are known for their disease-fighting ability.
Reason #1: A cup of green tea has less than 5 calories
When prepared only with hot water, the calorie count for plain tea is as low as 2–3 calories per 240 ml cup! Which is why plain teas such as green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, or herbal tea (all served without any milk, sugar or syrups) make excellent substitutes for sugar-sweetened juices, caffeine heavy drinks or pre-mixed beverages.
A study in Nutrition Journal concluded that drinking green tea after a meal led to increased satiety among participants in comparison to water. This explains why teas are considered as good weight loss aids: drinking more plain teas (green, black, white, oolong, or even herbal teas) will help you cut down on other high caloric beverages and give you a sense of fullness.
We understand that plain green tea might not be everyone’s cup of tea and it’s natural that you would want to dress up your daily tea with the addition of brown sugar, honey or organic fruit syrups. Adding 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of sugar adds 16 calories to your tea, while 1 tablespoon (21 grams) of honey adds 64 calories, so be mindful of how many calories go into your daily tea cup.
Reason #2: Green tea is low in caffeine
Everything is great in moderation, including tea! It’s a common misconception that green teas are free from caffeine, however, at 29.4 milligrams of caffeine, green tea has about half the amount of caffeine that you would find in a cup of coffee. Caffeine in moderation is known to increase alertness (decreases tiredness and drowsiness) as well as stamina.
Consuming 2-4 cups of green tea a day is recommended and based on your preference, this could be anytime through the day. On the other hand, too much caffeine intake (especially through coffee) could lead to side-effects such as anxiety, restlessness, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and trouble sleeping. Which is why green tea is a safe and welcome alternative to kickstart your day.
Reason #3: Green tea comes loaded with antioxidants
Antioxidants are said to help neutralize free radicals in our bodies, and this is thought to boost overall health. Free radicals are unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. Thearubigins, epicatechins, and catechins are all different types of antioxidants found in green teas.
Research shows that regular tea drinkers (at least two cups a day), have a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke, lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and better chances of recovering from heart attacks.
Reason #4: Green tea packs in high polyphenols
Like we mentioned above, polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) are plant compounds found in tea (as well as dark chocolates, berries, and nuts). Regularly consuming polyphenol-enriched foods aids digestion and brain health, as well as protects against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.
A few studies also highlight that polyphenols can reduce inflammation, thought to be the root cause of many chronic illnesses. Research suggests that the longer you steep the tea, the more flavonoids (type of polyphenol) get released into your brew, which helps boost your body’s ability to fight diseases.
Reason #5: Green teas are a source of vitamins and minerals
Vitamins, along with saccharides, lipids, proteins and minerals are one of the five primary nutrients used by the body. Shockingly, our bodies don’t produce any vitamins on their own and it’s acquired through food! Enter green tea.
There are many vitamins in green tea, some of which include vitamin A (linked to increased brain function, vision, and cell health); vitamin D (helpful for building strong bones as well as in preventing breast, ovarian, prostate, and colorectal cancer); vitamin E (an antioxidant); vitamin B, and vitamin C (both are necessary for maintaining healthy skin and mucous membrane).
Just like vitamins, minerals are vital for the smooth functioning of our bodies and help in a range of functions. Tea contains 5-7% minerals, mainly potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium, as well as small quantities of manganese, zinc, and copper. Therefore, drinking green tea everyday becomes an important way to replenish vital nutrients and vitamins in your body.
Reason #6: Green tea is a great stress buster
Stress is a visible and unalterable part of our daily lives and doctors and nutritionists recommend a combination of walking, exercise, diet management, and good sleep, along with healthy habits, good interpersonal ties, and work-life balance as ways to cope with stress. Green tea can improve how well your blood vessels respond to stress (physical or emotional).
L-theanine is a chemical found in green tea, which has been studied for its ability to reduce mental and physical stress, improve cognition, and enhance mood. When green tea is incorporated as a vital part of the diet, you will soon notice how relaxing and soothing it feels.
The fragrance of tea also helps people to relax and relieve stress. We recommend creating your special tea ritual every evening - set the music, clear the clutter from your favourite nook or desk, get out the lovely tea kettle and cup - and find an oasis of calm in your busy day to savour your green tea.
Reason #7: Green tea is ideal for people with lactose intolerance
For people who are lactose intolerant, meaning their gut doesn't help digest lactose in the milk, consuming plain green tea is a joy and comes with all the added benefits of health and wellness. Why don't we recommend mixing milk and green tea? One of the main health benefits of green tea is catechins, natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage, blood flow, maintains heart health, and has anti-inflammatory benefits. Protein found in milk (called caseins) causes a chemical reaction with catechins in green tea and reduces the health benefits of the beverage.
Our green teas include a range of floral, fruity, matcha teas, and certified organic tea blends that will transform your regular green tea into an indulgent cup of goodness with added health benefits from ingredients such as mango, ashwagandha, moringa, galangal, tulsi, and spearmint. Go ahead, enjoy your green tea guilt-free without milk or sugar.
Reason #8: Green tea has no side-effects (if taken in moderation)
Repeat after us: consume everything in moderation, including, you guessed it, green tea! Green tea is 99% water, which means it's one of the healthiest beverages you can consume daily. Green tea has been consumed for more than 5,000 years and health scientists are just waking up to its potential as a superfood. The best time to drink green tea is between meals, two hours before or after. It can help with digestion, reduce bloating, and improve the absorption of nutrients in the food.
Here’s a note of caution: all beverages can have potential side-effects when consumed in excess or when taken at incorrect times or in combination with other food that can cause a reaction. Green tea is no different. If you are taking any medications, please consult your doctor for advice on the best time to consume green tea.
Here are a few pointers on drinking green tea:
Drinking huge quantities of green tea (more than 6-8 cups per day) may lead to side-effects due to its caffeine content, similar to what is observed when you drink too much coffee in a day (tremors, headaches, palpitations, jitters). This rule doesn’t apply to herbal teas or tisanes as they are caffeine-free.
- Similarly, avoid drinking green tea close to bedtime as the caffeine in it can cause sleeplessness.
- Avoid drinking green tea on an empty stomach because the tannins in the tea release stomach acids, leading to nausea and stomach burn.
- People who have iron deficiency or are anemic should avoid having green tea while taking their medicines as tea interferes with iron absorption.
- Similarly, avoid drinking green tea with your meals as the nutrients from the food won’t be absorbed properly if combined with tea.
If these 8 reasons aren’t enough to make you fall in love with green tea, take a look at our recommendations for delicious green tea brews that are perfect for the summer months. These fruit, herbs and floral green tea blends are loaded with exotic ingredients, each with health benefits that work on your body as well as senses.
5 green teas recommended for summer:
1. Chakra Organic Green Tea with Galangal & Turmeric
Heal your body this summer with Karma Kettle’s Chakra Organic Green Tea, part of our Wellness Teas Collection. This powerful green tea incorporates ancient herbs and remedies from Ayurveda that will help you rejuvenate and feel revitalized. The Chakra Tea is a healing blend containing green tea with ginger, galangal, cinnamon, fennel, curry leaf, turmeric, rama tulsi, and rock salt. It's our version of grandma's kadha that is said to strengthen immunity.
2. Green Tea with Lychee & Rose (Zen Collection)
Green Tea with Lychee & Rose is an all time aromatic favourite that is irresistible! Get ready to reach a zen state of mind with this collection of teas inspired by the Far East. These green tea infusions strike a perfect harmony with floral and fruit notes, creating an infusion that balances the mind, body and spirit.
Health benefits of green tea:
- Stimulates the metabolism and helps with digestion
- Loaded with antioxidants that are known to improve heart health
- Improves blood circulation and promotes a healthy glowing skin
3. Devi Herbal Green Tea with Gymnema, Ashwagandha & Moringa
Brew the incredibly delicate and earthy Devi herbal green tea blend, which features powerful ancient Ayurvedic herbs such as ashwagandha, moringa (also known as the miracle tree), tulsi (the holy basil), and gymnema (gurmar). These super herbs are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are known to bring down stress levels and detoxify your body. Feel yourself float towards a blissful state where the mind, body, and soul are harmonious with this herbal green tea blend.
4. Aam Salaam Green Tea with Mango & Cumin
Our Aam Salaam green tea with mango and cumin is a refreshing take on the traditional Indian drink, aam panna. Bursting with the flavours of juicy, ripe, yellow mango, this tea has a slightly sour tang of green mango that will leave your taste buds tantalized!
The Aam Salaam green tea is best enjoyed on hot sunny afternoons, particularly after meals. Enjoy it without milk but you may add a teaspoon of jaggery powder.
Health benefits of green tea:
- Mango is packed with vitamin C, which is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues.
- Mango also has a high level of antioxidants that may help boost immunity and support heart health.
- Cumin helps control blood sugar, aids in lowering cholesterol, and also has anti-inflammatory effects
5. Marrakech Organic Green Tea with Spearmint
Marrakech is a refreshing infusion of organic green tea, spearmint leaves, peppermint flakes, ginger bits, and lemon peel making it a delight to drink any time of the day.
Health benefits of spearmint tea:
- Green tea is high in antioxidants
- Spearmint leaves are refreshing and stress relieving
- Promotes healthy glowing skin