All types of tea - black, white or green - are made from the camellia sinensis plant. One of our favourites is green tea, a beautiful pale green coloured tea that's made from unprocessed, unfermented leaves and whose health benefits are numerous.
Dating back over 5,000 years, green tea has traditionally been much more popular in East Asia while us Brits have favoured black tea with milk. But with more and more exciting research showing the benefits of tea, our tea tastes have extended to include green tea and it's seeing a welcome boom in popularity, and we think this will only increase.
Why is green tea brilliant?
The benefits lie in the bioactive compounds in green tea, specifically catechins.
Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other benefits. They can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals play a role in aging and many types of diseases.
A particular catechin to know about - and very much present in green tea - is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). More than 3,000 published researched studies have evaluated the effect of tea and tea compounds such as EGCG on the risk of a variety of cancer types. A study published in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that EGCG helps kill cancer cells through the destruction of the cells’ mitochondria.
Research has also identified an association between amount and duration of tea consumption and gastrointestinal cancer risk. One study found that women who consumed the equivalent of 2.5 cups of tea per day had a 60% reduction in rectal cancer risk, compared with women who drank less than 1.2 cups of tea daily.
Another study found tea drinkers to have a 42% reduced risk for colon cancer compared to non-tea drinkers. Men who drank more than 1.5 cups of tea per day were found to have a 70% lower colon cancer risk.
We're not pretending to be medical experts by any means (our expertise is definitely tea!) and you should carry out your own research as there is plenty to read on the subject, but with new research emerging all the time, the results are very encouraging. It seems including a few cups of green tea in our diet is a very good thing indeed!
Is there caffeine in green tea?
We often get asked this. Yes there is caffeine in green tea but there's less than in black tea. Green tea has on average 33mg per cup and black tea has 47mg, though you also need to take into account leaf size and brew time. Cheaper, smaller bits of tea will give you more caffeine than larger leaves as they release the caffeine more quickly.