In India, tea (black tea + sugar + milk) is a staple drink, but I have never been a fan. I never drink regular tea but have had green tea every day for last 3 years. Every time I tell someone that I drink only green tea, people look at me with curiosity and amusement.
I was introduced to green tea during a family trip to Munnar, Kerala in 2013. We visited a tea garden where we heard and read about the benefits of green tea, and I ended up buying three packets of loose green tea leaves.
I did not open a single packet for a month or so. On a cold winter morning, I thought of making some warm drink and there I found a packet of Munnar Special green tea peeping from the shelf. I immediately boiled some water and brewed some green tea.
THE FIRST SIP:
I sipped my first green tea and Ohhh myy goodness – it was bitter! My taste buds were screaming for help! After few more sips, I started feeling dizzy. For a few more days, I couldn’t dare to try the potion.
Meanwhile, I also did some research on green tea that was an eye-opener. Green tea is not oxidised and retains most antioxidants and polyphenols. This makes it the World’s Healthiest Drink.
On one fine day, I thought of making a different kind of green tea. I boiled some ginger in water (as we do for regular chai) and brewed green tea leaves. I then poured it into my tumbler, added some honey, and squeezed half a lemon. Woohoo… the bitterness was gone. It was pretty much like ginger lemon honey tea! And I loved it. From that day, I started having 2-3 cups of green tea daily.
PS: Over the last 3 years, I have become quite acquainted with the taste of green tea and don’t add the taste enhancers anymore.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS
- Weight Loss/Management: I started drinking green tea when I was 56 kg. For a girl who is 5 feet tall, one can imagine that 56 kg was on the healthier side (an Indian compliment). I attended a friend’s wedding 2 months later where everybody told me that I looked slimmer and kept asking what I had been doing to lose the weight. I was surprised by these comments, as I had done nothing AT ALL. During the previous two months (December and January), North India was freezing and the majority of my days were spent inside the quilt. I realized that the only change in my lifestyle was green tea, and that it may have caused the weight loss. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, which increase the body’s metabolism and help in the oxidation of fat. It accelerates the rate at which your body turns food into calories. Isn’t that exactly what we need?
PS: I reached 45-48 kg in an year and am still maintaining the same.
- Heart Diseases: Green tea has catechin and polyphenols. It works on the blood vessel lining and keeps them relaxed to withstand the changing blood pressure. It also prevents in the accumulation of cholesterol in the vessels. Thus reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
- Diabetes: Green tea regulates glucose level by slowing the rise of blood sugar.
- Cancer: Polyphenols in green tea are not only anti-inflammatory but also anti-carcinogenic. They also eliminate the free radicals and prevent cell damage.
- Cholesterol: Green tea improves the ratio of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol in the body.
- Depression: Green tea provides a relaxing and soothing effect due to its high antioxidant content.
- Immunity Booster: Green tea has strong antibacterial and antiviral properties that keep various infections at bay.
- Skincare: One of my weekly regime includes steam application from brewed green tea leaves. It not only deeply cleanses the pores but also soothes the facial muscles. Apparently, it also helps with wrinkles and signs of aging.
- Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s: Green tea protects brain cells from dying and restores damaged brain cells.
- Tooth Decay: Catechin in green tea helps in keeping the dental caries bacteria at bay. But green tea consumption can also stain your teeth. So, always brush your teeth or at least try to have a thorough rinse after every cup.
WHO SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS
- Caffeine sensitivity: Green tea does have caffeine (not as much as regular tea). If you are caffeine sensitive, limit your consumption to 1 cup per day.
- Pregnancy: Avoid green tea if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. Green tea contains tannins that block the absorption of iron and folic acid from food and supplements.
HOW MANY CUPS A DAY
Well, looking at such an amazing list of benefits, one might go overboard with the green tea consumption. Some say that as little as 2 cups a day will give you abundant gains, whereas others recommend 5-10 cups a day.
I believe that if you want to gain the most benefits, consistency is the key. Make sure green tea becomes an essential part of your every day. I started with 2-3 cups a day and came down to one cup a day. This totally works for me.
So go ahead and raise that cup of healthiness. CHEERS!