GREEN TEA: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Having lived in Japan for over 10 years I witnessed first-hand the benefits of drinking Green tea.

It really is wonderful and the health benefits associated with drinking it are plentiful.
But like most things, there is the good, the bad and the ugly…

THE GOOD

Green tea is full of Catechins, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), being the most active catechin. Research shows that regular consumption (approx. 4 cups a day of the tea leaves) can assist in the prevention and improvement of lifestyle-related diseases.

Drinking green tea can also boost your metabolic rate and help shift subcutaneous fat (the fat that lies directly under the skin). But don’t expect that JUST the green tea is going to do all the work, you need to combine it with healthy eating and light exercise.

So are all green teas the same? Not really. There is such a huge variety between how the green tea is farmed and processed. New leaves that are cut off are called white tea, and is thought to have a higher potency of catechins. Green tea leaves have various flavours, much like coffee, depending on where it is grown, when it is harvested and how it is processed.

Matcha is the finely ground powder of a specific green tea plant which is grown in the shade prior to harvest is processed with no stems and veins, and then blended to a fine powder. It is a green tea concentrate. Hear that?? A CONCENTRATE – so use sparingly (see below The Bad)

THE BAD

Green tea contains caffeine, and concentrated Matcha, can contain up to three times caffeine which equals a cup of brewed coffee! So it’s not a good idea to drink before bed! Unless of course you need to stay up 🙂

Did you know that you can reduce the activation of caffeine by making sure the hot water you pour on your tea leaves/matcha is under 80 degrees Celsius. As a basic rule, boil the kettle, wait for 15 mins then use that water.

THE UGLY

Studies have shown that green tea concentrate can cause hepatotoxicity (chemical-driven liver damage). So you don’t want to go overboard thinking that more is better!

More most individuals, dinking 4 cups of green tea leaf, or a couple of cups of Match a day is fine. However, it is important to monitor how YOU feel because we are all different. For one individual it can cause an overload (liver toxicity), while for others it has no effect. What to look out for? Abdominal pain, fatigue and yellowing of skin (jaundice).

The message? Enjoy in moderation. 🙂

Nat xx

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