Feb 21, 2018
In recent years the health benefits of green tea have become widely known both in Japan and internationally, contributing to the worldwide popularity of Japanese green tea. The advertised health benefits are due to the fact that green tea is rich in polyphenols and includes large amounts of catechins which are natural antioxidants. These compounds reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage, and are the reason that green tea is known to help prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and helps in the reduction of inflammation.
The Japan Tea Export Council (JTEC) also wants us to know about how to maximize the benefits of green tea. In the brochure “Let’s enjoy Nihon Cha” it is explained on what occasions to drink the different types of green tea, and how to prepare the tea.
For example, after eating high calorie or greasy foods JTEC recommends hojicha or bancha to clean the palette. To lower cholesterol it is suggested to consume a strongly brewed tea, prepared with hot water and high in catechins, on a regular basis. When studying, or in long meetings at work, or even before a workout, teas high in caffeine are suggested. Like high quality sencha steeped in 90C water. The caffeine both stimulates the muscles and helps with alertness and sleepiness. But when relaxing, a sweeter high quality sencha or gyokuro steeped in warm water is best. These teas contain a lot of theanine which is known to improve sleep as it reduces stress and anxiety.
To prevent a hangover the suggestion to mix your alcohol with green tea took me by surprise; the catechins help lower the concentration of the alcohol in the blood thereby preventing the hangover. It sounds good in theory but I’m not sure about green tea flavored sake or a gin with green tea rather than tonic. Personally, I might just stick with the hangover. But in any case, if you do succumb to the pounding head hangover do try a high quality sencha steeped in hot water. Not only will it help cleanse your palette and clean up the radicals in your blood but because it is a diuretic it will help flush the offending hangover-causing-toxins out of your system.
One last suggestion in this cold and flu season. Again, due to the power of the catechins, gargling with green tea can help prevent catching the flu.
Maybe I lost you between the sencha and the green tea gin. Not to worry! Just try having a couple of cups of green tea on a regular basis and see if you can feel the health benefits.
This post is a special tea blog report, part of our Shizuoka Green Tea Guide, and a chance through City-Cost for bloggers in Japan to engage in new “Japan” experiences about which to create posts.
Helping other non-Japanese stay positive in this sometimes-tough-to-survive-in but amazing country.