One of the things that I miss most about living in Hong Kong is popping into a 7-Eleven (yes, they exist in Asia) to grab an iced green tea to-go. They don’t have Big Gulps in Hong Kong, fortunately. Hong Kong residents drink soda, of course, but not like we do. I drink far too much Diet Coke for my own good. I make green tea at home almost every day (I also drink lemon water every day), but am finding it a pain to make iced green tea. Truth be told, it just doesn’t taste as good as ITO EN or other bottled green teas.
Antioxidants Galore in Green Tea
Green tea has multiple antioxidants or catechins, however, one called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is what scientists are focused on. These catechins destroy free radicals and have far-reaching positive effects on the entire body. EGCG is the “super” antioxidant believed to be 100 more times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E at protecting cells and DNA from damage. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
Green tea leaves go through less processing than oolong and black teas so it actually retains more antioxidants. Oolong and black teas are fermented while green tea leaves are steamed. Below is a hand-wrapped jasmine green tea called dragon’s tears that we also used to drink in Hong Kong.
Green tea also has an amino acid called theanine, that gives the tea its mellow taste. It helps deliver glucose to the brain. When the brain is lacking in glucose, that’s when we all get moody. Green tea helps keep us calm and less stressed. Most green teas sold in the US have lower amounts of theanine so there is some skepticism that you’d see too much benefit, though some people seem to believe it’s enough.
13 Benefits Of Drinking Green Tea
- Helps with hangovers. I know this from personal experience and it’s probably due to replenishing depleted antioxidants.
- Treats rheumatoid arthritis.
- Reduces risk of esophageal cancer.
- Helps with weight loss.
- Helps lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Antioxidants serve as dialators which improve the flexibility of blood vessels and make them less vulnerable to clogging.
- Balances hormone levels resulting in lower stress.
- Helps prevent acne.
- May help prevent/slow Alzheimers and Dementia.
- May lower risk of stroke (black tea too).
- May lower risk of diabetes (black tea too) and diabetic cataracts.
- May help prevent hair loss, but data is sketchy
- Reduces stress, as mentioned above.
Here’s a National Cancer Institute article about green tea and something I wrote about the benefits of Pu Erh tea. There’s a whole host of other benefits that I’m forgetting but isn’t the above list enough to make you want to grab a cup?