The Spartan Guide to Green Tea
The Claim Green tea comes from the dried leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. It’s the same plant that, when fermented, creates black and oolong tea. But steamed, pan-fried, and dried, Camellia sinensis becomes green tea, which compared to other teas, has a higher concentration of antioxidants that fight disease and combat the effects of aging.
The Evidence Antioxidants called polyphenols abound in green tea. And indeed, they seem to reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure, protect joint cartilage, and even fight off HPV infections. They may also slow the growth of abnormal cervical cells, although researchers haven’t yet figured out the mechanism behind the magic. Green tea also contains caffeine, which stimulates the release of heart-, muscle-, and nervous- system-friendly neurotransmitters. And, of course, it helps you stay alert.
All this helps to explain why so many people refer to green tea as a superfood. “Its high levels of antioxidants fight off disease, reduce inflammation, and reduce stress,” says Chris Niedzinski, owner of InnerLink Chiropractic in Wixom, Michigan. What’s more, studies have demonstrated that consuming the beverage lowers total cholesterol and levels of “bad” cholesterol; population-level research links higher green-tea consumption with lower levels of coronary artery disease, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.
How to Use It “The best way to get it? Drink it!” Niedzinski says. “You can find it in almost any store. A great form is matcha, which is a high-grade concentrated tea.” For a potent and flavorful brew, steep the leaves (or tea bags) in hot water for one to three minutes, or add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to hot water and mix until it’s thick and frothy. If green tea extract pills are more your speed, a typical dose is 200 to 400 milligrams per day.