Green tea is really one of the greatest of super foods. It contains potent antioxidants and can help to prevent cardiovascular disease, kill cancer cells, fight signs of ageing, help with weight loss and help to stabilise blood sugar levels. It should be the hot drink of choice for anyone wanting to get in shape.

All the health benefits of green tea are too long to list, but here’s the key benefits, which have been backed up by evidence from human studies and trials.

1. Prevent diseases and ageing

Green tea contains bioactive compounds that reduce the formation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals play a role in ageing and illnesses such as heart disease, so reducing their formation is a sure fire way to keep you healthier. Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is one of the powerful antioxidants in green tea which has been studied as a treatment for these diseases.

2. Improve brain function

Green tea contains the well-known stimulant caffine. Caffine blocks Adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory. In addition to this, it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which in combination with  Adenosine, has been found to be particularly potent in improving brain function.

3. Burn fat

Human trials have found green tea to increase metabolic rate which in turn helps burn fat. Studies found that green tea increased energy expenditure by 10% and boosted fat oxidation by up to 17%, suggesting that it selectively burns fat too. However, not all studies have been found to have such a profound effect, so it may well depend on the individual.

4. Reduce cancer risk

Cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Oxidative damage contributes to this abnormal growth, and antioxidants help prevent this phenomenon. Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants so it can reduce the risk your risk of cancer.  Studies of green tea drinkers have shown  a 22% reduction in woman developing breast cancer and a 48% lower risk of men developing prostate cancer.

5. Stabilise blood sugar levels

Green tea has been found to improve insulin sensitivity, which as a result helps reduce blood sugar levels. Type II diabetes affects over 300 million people worldwide as a result of elevated blood sugar levels, leaving people’s bodies unable to control insulin levels. One study found individuals who drank the most green tea are 42% less likely to develop type II diabetes.

Brewing the perfect green tea

I have been drinking green tea every day for the last few years, originally for the health benefits but now just because I love the taste. Most people turn their nose up at the idea of drinking green tea because apparently it “tastes bad”. Usually this is because they have brewed it wrong! Imagine cooking a fillet steak in the microwave – a delicious cut of meat ruined in 60 seconds!

So, how do you brew a green tea? Firstly, the water cannot be boiling or it will taste terrible! You want your water to be at around 80 degrees C (176 degrees F). This can be achieved by mixing 4 parts boiling water with one part cold water. Secondly, you can’t brew the tea for too long. 1-2 minutes is all that’s required, any longer and again, it will taste terrible. When you get it right the taste is delicate and refreshing and green tea in general will do you a world of good!