Green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat everything from headaches to depression. The leaves are supposedly richer in antioxidants than other types of tea because of the way they are processed. Green tea contains B vitamins, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), manganese, potassium, magnesium, caffeine and other antioxidants, notably catechins.
Green tea frequently makes the cancer-preventing super foods lists due to the anti-cancer effects of green tea and green tea extracts found in laboratory research.
It contains antioxidants called catechins that may slow down the growth of cancer cells. In laboratory studies, catechins stop free radical damage to cells and reduce the number and sizes of tumors. The most commonly studied catechins, called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), may cause cancer cells to die, rather than grow and spread.
But it’s important to go beyond Petri dishes, test tubes, and lab animals – to really be a superfood, some human research is necessary. Two large human studies found that people who drank more tea were also at a lower risk of developing certain cancers. But another study showed no correlation between green tea consumption and the incidence of cancer.
Whether green tea prevents cancer or not, it still may be good for you. The antioxidants may help to protect your cells from free radical damage, and some studies indicate green tea may boost weight loss – at least a little bit.
Green tea and black tea both come from the same plant called Camellia sinensis. Black tea is made when the leaves are allowed to ferment. Green tea leaves are steamed or heated immediately after picking to prevent fermentation. Since they’re harvested and processed more quickly, they contain more of the polyphenols than black tea leaves.
There are many brands of green tea available in grocery stores, coffee shops, and specialty stores. Some brands are sold in individual tea bags, which makes them easy to prepare. Just place a teabag in a cup, add hot (not boiling) water, steep for two minutes or so, and then remove the bag. There’s very little mess and no waste because you brew each cup individually.
Tea bags are convenient, but the quality differs from brand to brand. You can buy loose leaf green teas for an unbeatable flavor. It’s not difficult to prepare loose leaf tea at home as long as you have the right equipment.
You can buy a variety of green teas at our website The Tea Trove and enjoy your super food- rather super drink!