Herbal drinks are becoming increasingly popular. With the numerous health benefits, it’s not hard to see why. Especially when it comes to green tea, it’s the healthiest drink on the planet. Want to know why? Read on!
Green tea is used as a natural medicine to improve health because of its powerful medicinal properties. The drink holds minerals that benefit our health and large amounts of important micro nutrients and molecules that work as antioxidants to fight against diseases. These antioxidants can reduce the free radicals in the body by protecting the cells and molecules from damage.
Green tea optimizes brain function
Caffeine and amino acid L-theanine are two of the key, active ingredients within green tea. The caffeine increases concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, which allows for better brain function, and improves mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory. Combined with L-theanine and you get a different kind of buzz to coffee. The L-theanine has an anti-anxiety effect and increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain. This gives you more stable energy and helps you to be more productive than the effects of coffee which lasts for shorter periods of time and gives you side effects such as jitters and headaches.
Green tea can also help you to lose weight by boosting your metabolic rate. It has been shown to increase fat burning by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and using them for energy. This in turn improves physical performance. Studies on the beverage have shown a significant decrease in body fat percentage, reduction in body weight, waist circumference and it is particularly effective with abdominal fat.
Grow your own green tea!
Camellia sinensis, as green tea goes by, thrives in the UK climate. It requires a little care when it comes to planting but once in the right spot can grow up to 6m high providing you with an abundance of tea.
When it comes to harvesting your tea leaves, you want the fresh leaves from the new spring growth. For green tea, these need to be steamed for 1-2 minutes and immediately run them under cold water to stop them becoming dehydrated and to retain the leaves green colour. They can be used immediately following this but if you’d like to store them, you’ll need to dry the leaves out. To do this, spread the leaves out on an oven tray with the oven set to 110 degrees Celsius. Leave in the oven for up to 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes to ensure drying. Once dry and cooled, store them in a sealed container and use within the next year.
Preparing green tea
To make green tea from your tea plant, you will need:
- 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves per cup
- Boiling water
- Your favourite mug
- Place the tea leaves into a teapot.
- Allow the water to boil but allow the water to sit for 2-3 minutes before adding to the teapot to avoid scorching the leaves.
- Allow the tea and water to brew for 3 minutes or more, depending how strong you like it.
- Pour the drink into your mug.
- Add honey, lemon or sweeteners to your preferred taste.