Myths and facts about green tea

Nov 28, 2018, 09:51 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Both black and green tea come from the same plant. The difference is only in the way each is treated after being plucked, in terms of processing and oxidation

Myths and facts about green tea

We often hear about green tea and about the magical benefits it provides ranging from detox to weight loss. How true are these health claims? Let’s begin by first knowing it's origin and where it comes from. Both black and green tea come from the same plant. The difference is only in the way each is treated after being plucked, in terms of processing and oxidation. Munmun Ganeriwal, Nutritionist and Fitness Consultant Founder Yuktahaar gives a lowdown on the myths and facts about green tea

History and origin
India has always celebrated black tea for many centuries. It has always been traditionally made with spices and herbs for thousands of years to cure illnesses of all kinds and degree. The first documented mention of tea consumption in India is in the Ramayana. Green tea, on the other hand, is native to Japan and China.

Gree tea production in India
India has been commercially producing some of the worlds finest black teas since the 19th century. The more famous ones have been the Darjeeling tea, Assam tea and tea from Nilgiri. The Darjeeling tea has been compared to the extraordinary wine from the Champagne district of France, tea from Assam is known for its full-bodied strength and that from Nilgiri for its fragrance. It is only recently, maybe ten years or so, that these popular growing regions have started processing green tea as well, more driven by its popularity and demand from the consumers. The amount of green tea produced in India is only 10% of the black which is not a lot especially if you compare it with the Japanese and Chinese cultivation of green tea.

The economy of tea in India and the rest of the world
For several years together, it was the Indian black tea that was considered the finest by the rest of the world for its great taste and flavour. Until a decade back, India was hence, the undisputed and largest exporter of tea in the world. The gradual growing belief that drinking green tea has detox and weight loss benefits have been mostly pushed by green tea companies in Japan and China to reap profits in foreign markets. Resulting which, from rank one, we now rank four as world tea exporters.

How true are health claims of green tea?
Myth 1: Only green tea has antioxidants with 'detox' properties
If green tea has antioxidants and flavonoids, so does black. In each case, oxidation or non-oxidation gives the tea a different set of antioxidant compounds. Research says that if Catechin and Kaempferol are Antioxidants in green tea, then Quercetin and Theaflavins in black tea are equally effective antioxidants- Research by American Society for Nutrition and  NCBI, U.S

Myth 2: The Low caffeine content in green tea makes it healthier
Well, the fact is that Tea, whether black or green, is naturally low in caffeine

Myth 3: They say that Green tea helps in Weight loss
"Seeing is believing" but not always. One such example is Green tea and its health claims. As a matter of fact, Tea, whether green or black, is only 1 calorie per 100 ml of serving. Moreover, the USFDA has time and again rejected green tea health claims. This is what it says

US FDA: "There is no credible scientific evidence to support qualified health claims about consumption of green tea or green tea extract" Not long time ago, ads on TV talked about the colour, strength and fragrance to sell their tea and not promoted it as a 'detox' or a 'weight loss' agent. Instead of thin, skinny girls representing as brand ambassadors, tabla or sitar maestros having chai were seen, driving the point that the culture of having masala chai in India is as old and rich as 'Sangeet' itself. Let's get together and celebrate this age-old culture instead of brushing it under the carpet in the name of weight loss.

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