An ancient legend tells that the emperor Sheng Nung, a figure of Chinese mythology, always used to boil water before drinking it. One day, tired from countless commitments, he fell asleep next to a plant of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant. The wind dropped a few tea leaves into the hot water that the emperor kept close to him. The leaves thus released their aroma and properties. Upon awakening, the emperor tasted this new drink and experienced all its benefits, green tea was born! Beyond the myth, over the centuries the fame of green tea has grown, science has dedicated itself to studying its properties and today we all know it as a true elixir of life, for every sip of tea a sip of health! The strength of green tea is its antioxidant power. In fact, a cup of green tea, about 120 ml, contains up to 150 mg of catechins, precious antioxidant substances, the most important of which is epigallocatechin gallate. And that's not all, in fact green tea also provides vitamins, such as A, B, C, E and K, mineral salts, such as potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc, it is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and demonstrates an action against overweight, diabetes and cellular degeneration (Rawangkan et al, Molecules, 2021). Today we see the results of the most recent scientific research that, in the last year, have been dedicated to the study of green tea.
Green tea against obesity
Green tea is a drink with an anti-obesity action. In fact, it has been observed that drinking green tea helps to reduce body weight already after a month and a half of consumption. In particular, there was an increase in the values of leptin, a hormone that decreases the sense of hunger and increases energy expenditure, thus promoting weight loss. Not only that, the catechins present in green tea help reduce the accumulation of visceral fat (Yoshitomi et al, Sci Rep, 2021).
Anti-influenza green tea
Among the incredible properties of the catechins contained in green tea there is also an interesting antiviral action. Well, studies have shown that drinking green tea, from 1 to 5 cups a day, is able to carry out a preventive action against the flu virus (Rawangkan et al, Molecules, 2021).
Green tea and women's health
The catechins contained in green tea also protect women's health and alleviate some problems. In particular, it was found that green tea reduced the formation of cysts in the case of polycystic ovary. Not only that, in case of heavy and painful menstruation, green tea has helped to reduce cramps. Finally, green tea catechins appear to be able to determine the regression of lesions caused by endometriosis (Kamal et al, Molecules, 2021).
Green tea against cell degeneration
Green tea provides antioxidants, including theobromine, a pigment with an antitumor action. Green tea theobromine has been shown to counteract some types of cellular degeneration, such as those affecting the lung, breast and colon (Xiao et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2022 - Ogunleye et al, Breast Cancer Res Treat, 2010).
Green tea for the brain
Thanks to its powerful antioxidant action, green tea is also neuroprotective. In particular, green tea helps to counteract neurodegenerations such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, supporting memory and learning (Amirpour et al, Nutr Neurosci 2021).
Green tea, preparation and warnings
In order for the cup of green tea we are going to drink to be a concentrate of antioxidants, it is important to observe some small precautions, in order to guarantee maximum extraction of its active ingredients. First of all, the infusion water must not boil, but reach 60° C, for the gyokuro varieties, and 70° C for the others.
Then add the green tea leaves, one teaspoon per cup plus one for the teapot, and let it steep for ten minutes. After this time, filter and drink within an hour. Drinking three to four cups of green tea a day is considered safe while large amounts can cause gastrointestinal problems and effects on liver, heart, such as tachycardia, and central nervous system. But for these effects to occur it is necessary to take large quantities of green tea, at least 5 liters per day, or in capsule form without following the directions on the package (Jurgens et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2012). In any case, always ask your doctor for advice if you are taking any medications because green tea may interact with the medications you are taking. In particular, studies have observed that green tea can interact with some heart medicines, chemotherapy and anxiolytics (Amato et al, J Food Drug Anal, 2018)