According to consumer reports, tea takes the place of the most consumed beverage after water. Some of the most popular types of tea in India are green tea and Herbal tea, and it’s not just because of people like the taste. Green tea is prized for being one of the healthiest beverages available, so much so that it’s achieved super drink status in recent years. Lets us Learn more about the Nutritional Value And Benefits Of Green Tea.
Tea-drinking is a ritual people have been practicing for centuries, dating back to 2737 B.C. in Asia. Even back then, people recognized the healing properties of tea. These days, green tea continues to be sipped in large quantities, but it’s also become an all-star ingredient on its own, and can be found in supplement form or listed as an active ingredient on various products.
Its nutritional facts
Brewed green tea is primarily water-based, which means it’s free of the usual macronutrients found in other foods and drinks. It doesn’t contain any fat, carbohydrates, or protein, and there aren’t any calories in unsweetened tea. It gets its healthy reputation from compounds called catechins, specifically epicatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin, and EGCG.
Let’s know about the nutritional values of some important components of green tea.
Catechins are a type of polyphenol and are the main astringency component in green tea, long known as tannins. Catechin was first isolated from the Indian plant extract catechu (from the plant acacia catechu, a tree of the Fabaceae family, acacia genus), from which it derives its name. Tea catechin was first isolated by Dr. Michiyo Tsujimura in 1929 at RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) in Japan. There are four main types of catechins found in tea leaves.
In addition, during the manufacturing process for tea beverages, owing to heat processing, some catechins change form.
Epicatechin → Catechin
Epigallocatechin → Gallocatechin
Epicatechin gallate → Catechin gallate
Epigallocatechin gallate → Gallocatechin gallate
Catechins oxidize extremely easily. In green tea, since the process for making crude tea involves halting the action of oxidizing enzymes, most of the catechins remain unoxidized. In oolong and black teas, the action of oxidizing enzymes produces oxidized polymers (complex catechins, such as theaflavins and thearubigins). Unlike catechins, which are colorless in aqueous solution, these oxidized catechins become orange or red. This is what gives oolong and black teas their distinctive reddish color.
Ichibancha has a catechin content of approximately 12-14%, while Nibancha has a catechin content of approximately 14-15%. The catechin content of young shoots (first or second leaf) is higher than mature leaves (third or fourth leaf). In teas that have been grown using cover culture to block out most light, such as Gyokuro, the generation of catechins is suppressed, giving such teas a lower-catechin content than Sencha (approximately 10% as polyphenols).
Theanine is produced in the roots of the tea bushes and migrates to the leaves. Theanine is broken down when exposed to light, producing ethylamino, which in turn changes into catechin. Since theanine does not break down if it is not exposed to light, teas high in theanine and low in catechin may be produced by using covered culture.
Drinking tea when tired from work or study can make a person feel refreshed. This is an effect of caffeine, which is present in tea. Although there is not a great difference in caffeine content depending on the period in which the tea is picked, such as between Ichibancha and Nibancha, similar to catechin and amino acid (theanine), there is a higher caffeine content in young shoots and mature leaves tend to contain less. Among teas that have been roasted at high temperatures, such as Hojicha, the caffeine is sublimated (changed directly from a solid to a gaseous state) and is said to decrease.
The main effects of caffeine include increased alertness and a mild diuretic effect. Since caffeine has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system (CNS), it can ward off drowsiness and increase the capacity for mental or physical labor. If one consumes caffeine and then does a moderate amount of physical exercise, before the muscles’ internal energy source (glucose or glycogen) is used, there is a phenomenon whereby fat is used as an energy source, thereby helping enhance stamina. Furthermore, tea is said to be effective in preventing hangovers. This is also an effect of caffeine, whereby alcohol is metabolized more rapidly. Historically, it is thought that tea has was adopted as a preferred drink by humans owing to the refreshing effects of caffeine.
3: Amino Acid (Theanine)
Tea has unique characteristics of full-bodied, rich flavor (Umami) and sweetness. Simultaneously, it also has a relaxing effect. A type of amino acid called theanine is largely responsible for these characteristics.
Amino acids are the component in tea that contributes full-bodied flavor and sweetness. Of these amino acids, more than 60% is theanine, which is unique to tea. Theanine has a structure similar to that of glutamine, with its particular trait being a refined, rich flavor and sweetness. Amino acids other than theanine present in tea leaves include glutamine, asparagine, arginine, and serine.
Theanine is present in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis), other camellia and sasanqua but does not occur in any other plants. The theanine content of Ichibancha is higher than Nibancha, and even within Ichibancha, the theanine content of younger shoots is higher. In mature leaves, the theanine level drops away dramatically. If tea is grown using cover culture (shaded from sunlight), as is the case with Gyokuro, the generation of catechins from amino acids is suppressed, resulting in a high theanine content in the tea leaves. Consequently, Shincha and Gyokuro have a rich, full-bodied flavor (Umami), whereas Bancha has a much lighter flavor.
The caffeine content of infused tea beverage is approximately 0.01-0.02%. This translates to approximately 15-30mg of caffeine per cup of tea consumed. Although this amount of caffeine should result in a very strong stimulant effect, in fact, the stimulant effect is quite gentle. The reason for this is that theanine acts to limit the stimulant effect of caffeine. Thanks to this property, a potentially dramatic stimulant effect are instead transformed into a moderate effect. This may be regarded as one of the excellent natural attributes of tea.
In experiments on animals, theanine has shown properties for suppressing high blood pressure and protecting central nervous system cells. Measurements of the brain waves of people who have consumed theanine reveal that there is an increase in α-waves (according to research by the ITO EN Central Research Institute), which are produced particularly when a person is in a relaxed state.
Vitamins have various effects on the human body. Although vitamins are essential nutrients, they cannot be produced within the body. Regularly drinking green tea, which is full of vitamins, is good for health.
Vitamins, along with saccharides, lipids, proteins, and minerals, are one of the five primary nutrients used by the body. Although vitamins are essential nutrients, they cannot be produced within the human body, and must be acquired through food.
There are 13 types of vitamins, which are classified into water-soluble vitamins, which dissolve in water, and fat-soluble vitamins, which only dissolve in fat. A deficiency in even one of these 13 vitamins can result in skin disorders, numbness in the hands and feet, sluggishness and fatigue.
Green tea is known for having more vitamins in higher concentrations than other foods, and this fact alone makes tea a super
ior beverage. Many types of oolong and black tea contain few vitamins, with Vitamin C and other vitamins mostly lost during the production process.
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5: Fragrance Components
Tea contains an immense number of fragrance components, with around 200 in green tea and more than 300 in black tea. However, the essence of “Seiyu” that makes up the tea’s fragrance occurs in very small quantities, only around 0.005% in green tea and 0.02% in black tea.
Raw tea leaves contain very little fragrance, but when harvested, enzymes work to disperse the individual tea leaf components and release their fragrance. However with green tea, as the fermentation process is halted soon after harvest, the fragrance has little time to develop, and as much of the fragrance is released during the tea leaf production process, the tea is left with a very delicate fragrance.
The fragrance of tea is developed through the heating process, where the amino acids and saccharides react to the heat to form the tea’s wonderful fragrance.
Vitamin U is also created during the heating process of Gyokuro, Tencha and high-grade Sencha. Vitamin U is a key ingredient in gastrointestinal drugs and is effective against gastric ulcers. The distinctive “green laver aroma” of high-grade teas is created with the release of Vitamin U.
With Hojicha, many fragrance components are released during the roasting process, resulting in an aromatic taste. The fragrance components of oolong tea and black tea are created during the fermentation process following harvest. The fruity aroma of the tekkannon variety of oolong tea and the muscat aroma of Darjeeling black tea, as well as the sweet rosy or fruity aroma of high-grade black teas, are all created in the fermentation process.
The unique fragrance of fermented teas such as these is realized through high temperatures. This is why oolong tea and black tea are most delicious when enjoyed hot. The fragrance of tea helps people to relax and relieve stress, making tea desirable as a sort of aromatherapy.