Green tea, native to China and India, is produced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. While black tea is made with fully fermented leaves, the green tea is made with unfermented leaves. Fermentation reduces the leaves’ concentration of natural antioxidants compounds, so the green tea with its minimal processing is richer in antioxidants than the black tea.
Green tea is becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria, especially among the higher class and those concerned about their weight. It is generally believed that taking green tea regularly helps to burn off excess fat from the body.
Indeed, many studies have shown that green tea can increase fat burning rate and thus help in weight lose. These benefits can be derived both from drinking green tea as a beverage or taking green tea extract as a supplement.
The active compounds in green tea can aid in the breaking down fat cells by boosting the effects of some fat burning hormones. The most important of these is EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), the main antioxidant. The caffeine in green tea acts as a stimulant and aids fat burning. So EGCG, both found naturally in green tea, have synergistic effect resulting in the breaking down of fat cells, which are then released into the bloodstream and made available as energy.
Studies have ascribed many health benefits to green tea, dubbed the miracle tea. It is acclaimed for its anti-cancer and cardiovascular properties, controls cholesterol, reduces the risk of stroke, and provides the calming effects often associated with most teas.
Most importantly, green tea revs the memory and increases the brain connections that process and store information. The tea is known to aid better mental health and provide protection from Alzheimer’s dementia. It is said that the substances in green tea stimulate new cell formation in memory areas of the brain thus helping to improve memory.
Before you go on guzzling cups of green tea you should consider some of its negative consequences:
• You should limit your daily intake or avoid green tea altogether if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. This is because the tannins found in green tea can decrease absorption of folic acid, which helps in reducing birth defects.
• Don’t take green tea in between meals as a substitute for water. It can interfere with the absorption of iron. It is better to drink it before a meal.
• An overdose of green tea can lead to liver damage.
Therefore, drinking this miracle tea is good but it must be taken in moderation to fully enjoy its many health benefits.