My experience with Chinese tea started rather accidentally! Almost 2 years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Indonesia for a 2-month long internship. While I was there, my colleagues took me to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. Note that this is a place where there is not even a single spoon or a fork in sight; everyone's eating with chopsticks! As my colleagues were munching away the delicacies, I spent one whole hour clumsily picking up my food with chopsticks. I would show them the way I'm holding my chop sticks and ask: 'Is this the right way to hold the chop sticks?' and they would smile and say, there is no right way to hold it - whichever way makes you comfortable IS the right way. And by the end of the ordeal, I was more tired than when I had entered the restaurant! But let me tell you, it was absolutely wonderful to be there; the Indonesians are a very pleasant bunch of people to hang out with!
Amusingly, this is also the place where I realized that what we call Chinese food in India is not actually Chinese, but rather, Indian Chinese. Anyway, apart from the chop sticks and the food, what amazed me the most was the Chinese tea. They keep a small cup right next to your plate, and keep on pouring tea till you finish your meal or tell them to stop. To tell you the truth, I had never given Chinese tea a serious thought till that point in my life. But that day, I loved the tea I had there, which led me to read more on Chinese tea. I want to share some of those findings here along with some tips for people who hate the taste of green tea but still want to reap its benefits.
Let's start with a brief history of Green Tea.
- It was first brewed in 2737 BC in China
- Green tea involves tea leaves with minimal oxidation during processing
- Though Green tea first originated in China, it is associated with many Asian cultures; it is ubiquitous in Japan
- Green tea is processed using either artisanal or modern methods
- Artisanal methods - Sun-drying, basket or charcoal firing, or pan-firing
- Modern methods - Oven-drying, tumbling, or steaming
Why is Green Tea healthy?
- It has over 450 organic substances
- The main green tea nutrients include Antioxidant - polyphenols (catechins), Caffeine (called theine), Essential oils, Carotene, Vitamin A, B1, B12, C, K and P, fluoride, iron, magnesium, calcium, strontium, copper, nickel, zinc, and trace of elements such as molybdenum and phosphorus.
Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals (the bad guys) before they can cause any damage. They help to facilitate digestion and metabolism in the body. Antioxidants act as a cleaning mechanism in the blood and is great for cardiovascular health.
Evidence suggests that green tea provides other health benefits such as lowering of blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol, and even fighting oral bacteria that causes plaque. So it is good for the reduction or elimination of tooth decay.
The caffeine and antioxidants stimulate the metabolism and aid the oxidation of fat. The combination of green tea and caffeine improves weight loss.
Green tea has no traces of fats, and therefore no calories coming from fat. It is a rich source of various vitamins and minerals. The amount of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in green tea is comparable to a lemon. Green tea also contains several B vitamins which are water soluble and quickly released into a cup of tea!
Keep Calm and drink Green tea!
- Fights cancer: Researchers have found that drinking green tea every day reduces the risk of cancer. It has polyphenols, an antioxidant that prevents cell damage. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells and kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It is also found to be useful in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots
- Fat burner: Green tea helps in losing weight. Have a cup of green tea with a teaspoon of honey on empty stomach in the morning to witness the change
- Promotes longevity: Polyphenols prevent aging and promote longevity
- Reduces belly fat: Having four cups of green tea every day can help to reduce fat. This, coupled with the right amount of exercise and a healthy diet can help you fight your belly fat
- Keeps you hydrated: For people like me who do not drink water at regular intervals, drinking green tea throughout the day can help them stay hydrated.
Tips for Green Tea haters!
- It’s an acquired taste - you don't have to worry if you don't like it the first time you try it
- Drink it hot and without sugar - the best and healthiest way to drink green tea is to drink it hot and without sugar
- There is no ‘one’ green tea taste - experiment with different brands until you find one that suits your palette
- Try it with additional flavors (Mint) to diffuse the strength of the taste and make it taste less pungent
We eat and drink knowingly or unknowingly, a lot of high-calorie and harmful foods everyday. Making green tea a part of our life is a simple and easy-to-do remedy to manage your health. Speaking from experience, I am now a great fan of green tea and have at least a glass of it every day. I would love to encourage all of you to give Green Tea a chance to help you lead a healthy and fulfilling life.